Rabbi Shimon Abramczik, a Judaic Studies teacher at YULA Boys High School in Los Angeles, spent 10 years studying in Israel and gaining an immense love for learning Torah, a love he strives to instill in his students. As the school's Israel Guidance Counselor, Rabbi Abramczik helps each student plan a gap year in Israel. The winter before graduation he leads a group of seniors on an overseas trip to visit yeshivot and give them a firsthand look at what their gap year will include. With Rabbi Abramczik's help, nearly 80% of YULA's graduates spend this Israel year before their post-secondary studies. The rabbi hopes that through this experience, students will come to "love learning and make it part of their lives."
Rabbi Abramczik joined YULA 12 years ago, shortly after earning a bachelor's degree in Talmudic Letters at Yeshivat Bais Yisroel. He shares his infectious enthusiasm for Torah and Talmud with his students in ninth through 12th grades. Rabbi Abramczik teaches various Judaic Studies classes, as well as implementing and leading the voluntary year-long Masmidim program, during which students collectively review around 15,000 pages of Gemara (a component of the Talmud). His pupils complete the program feeling "a mastery over the material, a sense of accomplishment, and a love for the Gemara," says Rabbi Abramczik.
As YULA's dean of students, Rabbi Abramczik is responsible for ensuring that students are achieving developmental, academic and religious success. He serves as a mentor and confidant, helping students to use school resources to achieve their goals, as well as communicating with parents and advising fellow teachers. Rabbi Abramczik also directs student activities for 11th and 12th grades, aiming to demonstrate what a Torah learning life looks like outside the classroom. He extends this role all the way to his own family table, where students often spend Shabbat. Rabbi Abramczik holds important goals for his students: "I want them to live a life of sanctifying G-d's name and attain simcha, true happiness."
Note: This biography was current at the time this educator received the Award