Growing up with educators as parents and having a passion for film, Jacob Rosenberg did not see teaching in his future. While he was always very passionate about education, when he became a teenager, he was determined not to follow in his parents’ footsteps. As it turns out, he could not fight genetics and the pull to education.
Rosenberg came to Milwaukee in 2018 to study film production at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and met Jessica Perl, a congregant at Congregation Beth Israel Ner Tamid, in the dorms. She connected him to the synagogue, where he became a substitute teacher. He fell in love with his new job, and by the fall of 2019, had his own class. Rosenberg now teaches 5th through 7th grade Sunday school and Hebrew at CBINT. He teaches about Tanach, Israel, and current world issues (food and housing insecurity, animal rights, etc.).
Rosenberg grew up in Skokie with two younger siblings. He was a camper and then a counselor at Olin-Sang-Ruby Union-Institute. For Rosenberg, teaching is like an extension of the informal learning that he enjoyed at camp.
Rosenberg loves the whole experience of learning: “I learn so much from the kids on a daily basis. I find that there is a level of unfiltered rawness that my students bring. I’ve had the same cohort of kids since the pandemic. That can lead to very acute and blunt expressions. I’m so impressed with the state of how eloquent and righteous they can be. The opinions are so poignant. I learn so much from them.”
Teaching post-pandemic brought new challenges. Students are still struggling to make the adjustment and it seems to be more difficult to maintain the students’ focus. Rosenberg tries to gauge his students’ energy levels and readjust his lesson plan as needed. A great day Rosenberg had was when “I came into class and saw someone had left a note with a riddle. I turned it into a scavenger hunt and then a team-building experience. I was able to connect it to my lesson plan. In order to find the next clue, they had to say something that each team member brings to their team that is unique and that you as a team wouldn’t be as effective without them.” They all learned a lot about each other that day.
Rosenberg wants people to know how passionate he is about education, “Growing up, I saw the problems that teachers face. From a young age, I saw how hard educators work. I’m extremely passionate about education, educators, students, stories, storytellers. I believe I am in a unique position because I have seen the crossover of both worlds (film and education): be organized, collaborative, help people see things they might not be able to grasp. See how things related to one another. There is a lot of similarity between the craft of theater and education, the skills we learn in one discipline are easily translatable into another.”
Rosenberg ‘s hobbies include biking, watching and reviewing movies, hanging out with friends, and going to karaoke. He also enjoys reading and writing creatively. Rosenberg thinks that there are many fun things to do in Milwaukee, such as walking around Lake Park, seeing the leaves change color on Kenwood Avenue, and going to the Oriental Theater and the Rave for concerts.
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Writer Nicole Boico is the Education and Engagement Specialist for the Coalition for Jewish Learning. 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 TziporahA@MilwaukeeJewish.org.