“From day one,” Avi Rudack said, he had forecast he would become a forecaster.
Bader Hillel Academy helped him achieve his ambition.
Rudack, 48, is a meteorologist at the National Weather Service Headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland, doing research related to weather forecasting. He lives near Silver Spring with his wife and five children ranging in age from 23 to 8 – the children all have attended Jewish schools.
“(Hillel) was very nurturing,” Rudack said. “Throughout the day we were infused with Judaism – the teachers would bring Judaism to life. But it was a well-balanced education that allowed us to grow as human beings. You don’t always appreciate it as a kid, but it was good stuff. Pretty cool.”
Rudack, whose parents, Marvin and Harriet, still live in Milwaukee, went to Hillel from kindergarten through eighth grade. He attended a Yeshiva in Chicago for a year before finishing high school back in Milwaukee at The Wisconsin Institute for Torah Study. He earned an atmospheric sciences degree from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, which granted his master’s degree in 1999.
Rudack recalls that Hillel “made a big push in those days” to attract kids from a variety of backgrounds. “I have a lot of fond memories,” he said. “The teachers were very fair and knew how to deal with students as individuals. All the teachers were good, but some were really good. They always had their fingers on the pulse of who you are as individuals. They cared about us and kept us engaged. And they expected that we show respect. It was a different time.”
“Teachers were more on a pedestal back then, and many left indelible impressions. I remember one teacher specifically who would instill fear in you if you didn’t already have it.”
Rudack, who turned down one promising job offer because it meant having to work on Shabbat twice a month, said Hillel gave him a sense of Jewish pride and taught him the importance of the land of Israel and its meaning to Jews as their homeland. “There was a good balance with the secular program as well,” he said.
Hillel, which opened in 1960 and has alumni around the globe, is an affiliate of Lubavitch of Wisconsin and a partner agency of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation.
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About Avi Rudack
Family: Married with five children, ranging in age from 23 to 8
Residence: Silver Spring, Maryland
Profession: Research meteorologist for the National Weather Service
Education: Bader Hillel Academy from kindergarten through eighth grade; one year of high school at a Yeshiva in Chicago; graduated from the Wisconsin Institute for Torah Study in Milwaukee; received undergraduate and master’s degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.