Jewish educator Beth Clement seeks to create a ‘light-bulb moment’ for students | Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle

Jewish educator Beth Clement seeks to create a ‘light-bulb moment’ for students

Beth Clement’s mom was a teacher. For years, she avoided becoming one. She studied music and nursing: “Rebellious me, I didn’t want to be like my mom.”  

After years of being a camp counselor and babysitting, Clement fulfilled her destiny and pursued a career in education. Her mother was her inspiration. Her mom “would get the same kind of excitement with her students that I get with mine when they got an ‘aha’ moment.” Clement and her mother have the same reaction to their students’ excitement. “It’s the lightbulb moment. With young children, something is always new and exciting. It helps me to stay energetic.”  

Clement grew up in Philadelphia at a small Conservative congregation. She moved to Milwaukee in 1992. She met her husband at Bastille Days, where they return every year. They married in 1999 and their son was born in 2010.  

After working part-time at Jewish Family Services Preschool, Clement began teaching full-time in early childhood at Milwaukee Public Schools in 2001. Starting this year, she will be at Brown Deer Public Schools. This will be her third year teaching at Congregation Emanu-El B’ne Jeshurun, where she teaches a mixed K3, K4, K5 class.   

Clement says the biggest challenge in teaching is helping students find their “Oh wow,” moment. It frustrates her, “having kids look at me like they are disinterested.” She works hard to turn that around and motivate the students. Clement has found that art works well. If they are doing art, she can engage them in conversation and learning. “They light up when they do art.” She describes one day when they made stepping stones out of mosaic tiles for the synagogue garden. “It was the messiest day ever. The kids helped clean up as we worked. We talked about names and identity, and how they would identify their stepping stones in the garden.”  

In her free time, Clement likes to hike Ozaukee County trails with her son and to play games like Rummy Cube and Skip Bo. These games led her to run a successful activity at Sunday School for older children.  

Clement’s favorite Jewish food is challah. She has a special recipe she discovered during Covid. In the fall, Clement will join the Coalition for Jewish Learning’s Advisory Board, where she will help inspire future programming for CJL. If you are interested in joining the Advisory Board, contact Tzipi (   

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The Coalition for Jewish Learning of Milwaukee Jewish Federation is celebrating local educators with this regular feature. To suggest someone for coverage, contact Jewish Education Community Planner Tziporah Altman-Shafer, at