Gidon Isaacs, Education Director
Gidon Isaacs relates to Judaism as a vibrant force that constantly develops and changes through our questions and our personal journeys. Growing up as a member of the Reconstructionist synagogue Bet Am Shalom in White Plains, New York, his own journey has emphasized three themes: deep study of our tradition and texts, a love of teaching and mentoring young people, and community leadership.
Gidon pursued his desire to engage with the tradition by spending three years in Jerusalem studying Jewish texts at institutions such as the Pardes Institute, the Hartman Institute, and the Conservative Yeshiva. This study eventually led him to New York University, where he worked toward a Ph.D. in Judaic Studies, with a focus on Talmud, prior to joining us at the SAJ in 2005.
Gidon’s involvement with young people has had been rich and varied: working at and eventually running a Jewish summer camp for children and teens, teaching undergraduate and congregational classes while in graduate school, and studying experiential approaches to education derived from the work of Maria Montessori.
Through Reconstructionism he also experienced the power of our Jewish community as one that is made holy through our shared striving for meaning. While in Israel and then again before graduate school he worked in a variety of community settings, most prominently as director of 20s and 30s programming at the JCC in Manhattan.
These three themes come together in Gidon’s role directing the Jewish Journey Project at the SAJ. Judaic knowledge gives our learners the opportunity to experience the depth and vitality of our tradition. His diverse teaching background allows him to create an educational atmosphere where children are encouraged to become thinking and spiritually attuned young Jews. His focus on community fosters a learning environment dedicated to welcoming the whole family through innovative discussion and experience-based programs.
Gidon lives in Riverdale with his wife, Wendy, and two young sons, Yadin and Natan.