Salute to Jewish Educators slated for March 15 | Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle

Salute to Jewish Educators slated for March 15

The annual Salute to Jewish Educators awards, to be held March 15, 2020, are to honor Dr. Steven Baruch and Yael Gal-Ben Yitschak, among others.

The awards are slated for 3-5 p.m. at the Harry & Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center, 6255 N. Santa Monica Blvd. in Whitefish Bay. There is no charge to attend. For more information, visit or contact Jewish Education Community Planner Tzipi Altman-Shafer at Milwaukee Jewish Federation, at

Lifetime Impact Award

The Lifetime Impact Award is to be granted to Dr. Steven Baruch who previously led the Coalition for Jewish Learning, the education program of Milwaukee Jewish Federation.

Baruch worked for Milwaukee Public Schools for 32 years, followed by 15 years as director of the Coalition for Jewish Learning. He always put the needs of others first and is selfless, dedicated, ethical and a team player, according to the Coalition for Jewish Learning, the organizer of the awards.

Since retiring, Baruch has been involved in volunteer activities, including as part of the Speaker’s Bureau of the Nathan and Esther Pelz Holocaust Education Resource Center, a program of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation.

Jewish Educator of the Year

The Levy Family CJL Jewish Educator of the Year is Yael Gal-Ben Yitschak.

Gal–Ben Yitschak is a native of Israel now living in Milwaukee. She has been teaching Hebrew as a foreign language to all ages for the last 16 years. She taught Hebrew and Jewish Studies at the Milwaukee Jewish Day School and local synagogues for ten years, and she is currently teaching Hebrew at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee and Nicolet High School.

Gal–Ben Yitschak instills the love for the Hebrew language and its culture in her students, by offering them opportunities to be engaged through Hebrew club, Hebrew Honor Society, fundraising activities to support Israeli organizations such as Magen David Adom and for the first time this year, traveling to Israel as part of a language exchange program.   

Jerry Benjamin Inspiration Award

The Jerry Benjamin Inspiration Award for Informal Education is to be awarded to Debbie Intravaia, Lisa Hiller and Sara Frank.

Intravaia created and runs a weekly school at Congregation Beth El in Sheboygan. She noticed that there were lots of children in the congregation and decided to create a school where they could learn. She is also the youth director at Congregation Beth Israel Ner Tamid. She approaches each of her programs according to Pirkei Avot 1:15, “Greet every person with a cheerful face,” according to the Coalition for Jewish Learning.  

Lisa Hiller is Bader Philanthropies’ vice president for administration. In 2002, Hiller rediscovered her performance arts skills learned in high school, joining Sarah Frank, Robi Borsuk and Torah Academy of Milwaukee students in producing a musical theater production performed by women for women audiences. It was the first of 15 full “Broadway style” musicals. 

Sarah Frank is a clinical dietitian by profession, but her favorite “job” has been her volunteer position as musical director for the annual musical productions at the Torah Academy of Milwaukee.

More awards

The Gill Incentive for Teachers is to be awarded to Jodie Honigman of Milwaukee Jewish Day School and Tamara Miller and Sherry Milller of Congregation Emanu-El B’ne Jeshurun.

Teacher Impact and School Support awards are to be granted to staff at all religious schools and day schools.

How to go

What: Salute to Jewish Educators awards

When: Sunday, March 15, 2020, 3 p.m.

Where: Harry & Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center, 6255 N. Santa Monica Blvd., Whitefish Bay.

Cost: Free, with appetizers and desserts; dietary laws observed


More information: Tzipi Altman-Shafer at 414-963-2718 or