Preview of the November issue: Meet Rabbi Moishe Steigmann
October 11th, 2012
The Milwaukee Jewish Day School has recently hired a new director of Jewish studies who belonged to the school’s first graduating class, Rabbi Moishe Steigmann.
Steigmann, grew up in Milwaukee and went on from MJDS to Nicolet High School in Glendale and the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, where he earned both a master’s degree in education and his rabbinical ordination.
Stisha Steigmann, his mother, also taught at MJDS for years. Steigmann is married to Rabbi Hannah Greenstein, and they have two children. Their son Matan, continuing the family tradition into a third generation, attends kindergarten at MJDS.
Freelance writer Susan Ellman interviewed him for The Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle. Selected and edited excerpts from that conversation follow:
WJC: What attracted you to this job?
MS: I found the opportunity to come home very compelling. I grew up here in Milwaukee, and MJDS was the school that helped raise me. In fact, four of my teachers from when I was a student are still on the staff: Aimee Bachar, Susan Esser-Greenberg, Sarah Friedman, and Rena Porat. MJDS continues to be a wonderful place. It creates a compelling sense of Jewish pride and identity and a love of being Jewish. It has a family feel, and a sense that teachers who work here care about you as a person. It models mentshlikeit. Of course, I love teaching and working with children. The opportunity to teach and help guide their Jewish learning during these formative years is a unique and inspirational privilege.
WJC: What do you hope to achieve as head of the Jewish studies department?
MS: There are three major components to the curriculum. First, there is content knowledge, such as Jewish texts. Second is Jewish life and ritual, not just to know where the laws of Shabbat are in the Torah but how to live it and how to love it an how to celebrate it. The third is mentshlikeit, or character, creating good human beings. Hebrew language knowledge is indispensible to all three. We can’t realize our goals without it.
For more, see the November issue.