West Hartford’s Solomon Schechter Day School to welcome Rabbi Jonathan Berger as their new head of school beginning July 1, 2021.
By Lily Guberman
Rabbi Jonathan Berger will be starting as Solomon Schechter’s new head of school at the beginning of next month.
“I am so excited to work with Schechter’s amazing teachers, leadership team, and board, and to build relationships with the students, parents, and supporters of the school,” Rabbi Berger said. “Together, we will continue offering the kind of student-centered, challenging and encouraging education that children need in order to thrive, and we will enable them to deepen their connection to the Jewish people, the Torah, and Israel. I also hope to have the chance to sing and do some origami with the students along the way.”
Since 2017, Rabbi Berger has served as the associate head of school for Judaic Studies and Programs at the Gross Schechter Day School in Cleveland, Ohio. While at Gross Schechter, he chaired the COVID Committee, initiated a faculty culture committee and oversaw Judaic Studies curriculum, program and faculty.
Rabbi Berger is a graduate of the University of Michigan and the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City. He also held the position of division head at Camp Ramah in the Berkshires and has had 15-plus years experience at Jewish Day Schools.
The path to becoming a Jewish educator was clear for Rabbi Berger. Both of his parents were Jewish educators and he witnessed how rewarding it was to “help children and adults to learn and grow, and to bring their learning to life through thoughtful Jewish practice.”
His role at Gross Schecter Day Schoool was primarily as school administrator, and he was responsible for supporting and supervising the Judaic Studies curriculum and instruction. When an opportunity arose, he occasionally taught students as well and his favorites were a capella and origami. Rabbi Berger said, “I loved helping students to sing together, and to fold models that they never imagined could emerge from a single sheet of paper.”
“Rabbi Berger greatly impressed the search committee, faculty and staff, parent body and Board of Trustees during his visit to our community, as well as during his many phone calls and Zoom conferences,” Lauren Eisen, president of the Board of Trustees, said in an announcement to the Schechter community about the decision. “His thoughtful nature, passion for child-centered education, commitment to our core values and mission, love of community and eagerness to continue to advance our academics forward, excite us about this next chapter. He is kind and personable, intellectually curious, deeply committed to faculty professional development and is always seeking to learn and grow as an educator and a leader.”
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