The 2019 Salute to Jewish Educators awards were granted to Rabbi Nachman Levine, Debbie Silberman, Rachael Badt, and other notable individuals on March 11 during a ceremony hosted by the Coalition for Jewish Learning of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation. The event was held at the Harry & Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center in Whitefish Bay.
Lifetime Impact Award
A native of Toronto, Rabbi Nachman Levine studied for two years in Yeshivas Radin in Netanya, Israel, where he received his Rabbinical Ordination and Chief Rabbinate. He went on to study at Ner Israel Rabbinical College in Baltimore, where he also attended Loyola University and earned a B.A. During that time, Levine received a teaching license from the Torah U’Mesorah Machon program.
In 1968, Levine came to Milwaukee to teach at Hillel Academy (now Bader Hillel Academy), at which time he also attended Marquette University and earned an M.A. in educational administration and supervision.
While teaching at Hillel, Levine also taught at Tichon Judaica High School, Midrasha High School, East Side Hebrew School and later at Beth Israel Religious School. During summers he taught college students at Camp Moshava.
In 1986 Levine became the rabbi for congregation Anshe Sfard Kehillat Torah, where he served for 27 years, giving adult and high school education classes, among other rabbinical duties. Levine has taught four generations of students during his years at Bader Hillel Academy.
Levine is married to his wife, Leah. They have three married children, as well as grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Grinspoon CJL Jewish Educator of the Year Award
Debbie Silberman has been privileged to spend the last three decades doing what she loves most: building a sense of joy and love of Judaism for children ages 3 to 5 years old.
Silberman began her career teaching both kindergarten and the staff of a private preschool in Chicago. When she moved back to Milwaukee, Silberman began teaching at the Jewish Community Center on Prospect Avenue for Jewish Family Children’s Services.
After a hiatus to have children of her own, Silberman taught 4-year-olds at JCC Gan Ami Early Childhood school in Mequon for more than 20 years. She currently teaches 3-year-olds.
Inspiration Award for Informal Education
Rachael Badt had been working in radio for 10 years when she was encouraged to apply for the BBYO–Wisconsin Region senior regional director spot and since then she hasn’t looked back.
Now in her 14th year with BBYO, Badt helps teens gain confidence, build character and commit themselves to be tomorrow’s Jewish community leaders. When not hanging out with teenagers, she enjoys spending time with her husband and their 3-year-old daughter.
Additional awards for teacher impact or school support went to Ora (Laura) Gross, Beth Rapaport, Harry and Sadie Edelstein, Rivkie Spalter, Rabbi Sholom Ber Munitz, Kreinie Tiefenbrun, Dr. Naama Zoran (consultant), Jen Saber, Sami Stein Avner, Cindy Cooper, Heidi Gould, Robyn Miller, Yael Stein, Helene Weisz, Randi Kramer, Brian Geary, Tova Noll, Marc Revenson, Tarin Gordon, Erika Billings, Tiffani Zahradnik, Ann Meyers, Joe Dailey, Amber Franklin, Ari Glasstein, Shlomit Germanski, Josh Parkes, Jenny Paredes, Ronna Ruffin, Susie Hayes, Kaitlyn Clemens, Gladys Shukur, Marybeth Studelska, Andi Rabenn, Sara Abrams, Mara Kleiman, Tommy Rice, Miriam Spalter, Saraleah Lakritz, Eva Zussman, Robi Borsuk, Emily Lohr, Kathy Phenis, Amelia Schmidt, Irina Brekman, Shlomit Germanski and Mari-Claire Zimmerman.