MS Hebrew Teacher
Year Honored: 2013
Abraham Joshua Heschel D.S.
When Osnat Bernstein was a girl growing up in Israel, her eighth-grade teacher and advisor fueled a life-long passion for teaching and education. Over the years, Mrs. Bernstein has followed that path, from serving as an enthusiastic youth group leader in the Maccabi Tzair movement to teaching communications during her IDF service. For Mrs. Bernstein, it all led to Heschel, where she has been inspiring students to expand their knowledge of Hebrew language and culture for the past 14 years. Under her tutelage, young teens develop a love for Israel and Judaism and a curiosity for learning.
Mrs. Bernstein’s own curiosity is evident in her quest for new ways to engage students; for instance, by introducing the NETA Program of podcasting, a comprehensive linguistic and educational framework that helps secondary school students advance to high levels of Hebrew proficiency. And with the support of colleagues, she implemented a program that focuses on Israeli songs, further reinforcing Hebrew language skills. Every other Friday, the school gathers together, learns new music and gains insights into modern Israeli culture.
Like the eighth-grade advisor of her own youth, Mrs. Bernstein serves as an advisor to Heschel’s eighth-grade students, making herself available beyond the school day to help with Hebrew or lend an ear. She actively engages in professional development, whether modeling classroom instruction for new teachers, traveling to Boston for a workshop on Facing History and Ourselves or participating with BJE in Hebrew at the Center, all evidence of her boundless dedication to students, colleagues and the greater Jewish community.
Note: This biography was current at the time this educator received the Award