Year Honored: 2021
deToledo High School
West Hills, CA
As the director of global Jewish education at de Toledo High School in West Hills, Yoav Ben-Horin has created programs that permeate the entire student learning experience. Through partnerships with international organizations and schools, de Toledo students have opportunities to live and learn with Jewish young people around the world. Student exchange programs range from several weeks in Tel Aviv, Budapest and Montevideo to two and a half months at Ohel Shem High School in Ramat Gan. Mr. Ben-Horin also created the Global Classroom on Jewish Peoplehood and Identity, a joint class with Jewish schools in Israel, Mexico, Uruguay, Hungary, Turkey, South Africa and the U.S.
Before becoming an educator in 2006, Mr. Ben-Horin held a variety of positions that led him from academia to Jewish pedagogy. After earning a master’s from England’s Oxford University in 1976 and working toward a doctorate at Harvard, he served as a national security analyst at the RAND Corporation and manager of the Jewish American Research Institute. Mr. Ben-Horin taught Jewish thought and directed the student exchange program at Milken Community Schools, and also served as director of the Israel and Overseas Pillar at United Jewish Communities in New York. It was his experience lecturing before and after the 1991 Gulf War that nudged Mr. Ben-Horin toward education. “I had a growing sense that the combination of passion and dispassion was too rare,” he says. “Passion too often overwhelms perspective, and perspective all too often comes with emotional distance and moral neutrality.”
With 16 years of service to de Toledo’s students, Mr. Ben-Horin reflects on the most important lesson he hopes he has instilled. He wants them to leave de Toledo with “a curiosity, thoughtfulness and ability to engage the world and themselves,” he says. “[I want them to have] a passion for Israel, for the Jewish people as a whole, and for their American belonging—combined with a rich understanding of their own complex identity, and a dispassionate perspective on all of it.”
Note: This biography was current at the time this educator received the Award