What the Parents Are Saying:
“My twins started working with SCJ in 2nd grade. Over the course of their years of study with Misha, they developed a strong sense of their jewish identity through a variety dynamic experiences ranging from song, dance and drama to the study of language and literature. They were taught to think critically, to question concepts and lessons in the Bible in order to develop their own understanding of Judaism. They were very well prepared for their b’nai mitzvah which was a lively, joyous, spiritual and loving event. It was even more moving and meaningful than I had expected. But perhaps the thing I loved most about their years of training and study with Misha was their relationship with him. In effect, he watched them grow up, and out of that came a very special warmth and closeness between them. For us, he is part of the family and always will be.”
“We have known Misha Shulman as a teacher since 2001. He first gave drama “classes” for our then 5 year old son Matt and friends, and became Matt’s Hebrew teacher in 2004. Our younger son Joey started Hebrew lessons with Misha in 2008. Misha provided our sons with an educational, fun and nurturing Hebrew School experience. He taught them religion, culture and language. Misha uses didactic teaching, challenges the kids to think for themselves, and integrates his own love of music and drama in age appropriate ways. Matt had his bar mitzvah in September 2009, and did beautifully. Misha was there at every step to help. He is a role model for the kids, a gentle, thoughtful, funny, playful intellectual. While my kids would rather play video games than go to Hebrew class, they do not complain. The kids learn in a fun, social atmosphere that I wish I could have had for Hebrew School.”
Andrew Propper & Lesley Friedland
“Misha Shulman is the Pied Piper of Jewish training; where he leads, his students follow. He is more than a tutor of Jewish history, culture and Hebrew; he is an extremely intelligent and soulful young man who teaches his students with an open heart and mind. Misha is the right person to teach your child if you wish for him/her to explore, celebrate, question and deepen their understanding of what it means to be Jewish. With both humor and kindness, Misha guides his students through their Jewish studies with ease and originality.”
Maggie Lear and Daniel R. Katz
“Our family has known and worked with SCJ for more than 5 years and think the world of Misha and the school. He connects with our children in a deep and meaningful way, helping them understand the history and culture of the Jewish people in a way that inspires them to want to learn as much as they can about the Jewish people and the Hebrew language. While he has so many special qualities, what our family appreciates most about Misha is that he does not judge people based on how much or how little they know about Judaism, or how they choose to practice their faith. Rather, he respects the choices we have made and simply encourages us all to open our minds and hearts to learn a little more about Judaism, and to do so as a family. He is truly a gifted teacher and a wonderful person.”
Laura and David Ross
“Working with SCJ was an invaluable experience. My sons and daughter not only learned Judaism, but also learned how to think about the religion in a critical, multi-dimensional way. My son’s Bar Mitzvah service had great energy, was inspiring and fun. The music was beautiful. My son clearly got a lot out of it.”
What the students are saying:
“I began working with Misha in September 2007 to prepare for my Bar Mitzva. Within the first few weeks, he had me on my feet in reading and writing Hebrew, a testament as much to his teaching skills as it was to his ability in creating a special bond between the teacher and student. Alongside the standard studying for my torah portion, Misha and I spent entire appointments talking about things wholly different from your run-of-the-mill Bar Mitzva experience – from reading Yiddish poetry and dabbling in modern Hebrew to learning Jewish history and discussing anything even slightly related to the food, culture and politics of Israel. It was through him that my interest in the Middle East first developed and I had taken up debating Israeli policy with dinner guests by the time my Bar Mitzva came around in October 2008. The Bar Mitzva itself, held in the lobby of the Wallworth building, was one of the most surreal events I’ve ever experienced – having spent countless hours practicing, writing and contemplating what would happen, it was the defining moment in which I finally came to the realization that I was fully embracing Judaism. Misha was there the entire time and surprised us all with a speech that nearly brought me to tears.
After that, we continued full speed with our lessons. With our more liberal time schedule, I was able to pursue things I would never have done in my free time. I wanted to completely immerse myself in modern Hebrew and, with Misha’s help, I began analyzing grammar, syntax and vocabulary almost as a hobby. Within six or so months, I became very talkative and now, nearly two years on, whenever I speak to Israelis in Hebrew they can never quite understand where I’m from and why I would want to learn their language. Spurred on by Misha’s teaching, I’m now quite intensively studying Arabic and Persian, as well as five other languages, in my free time.
Another element of our relationship was a heavy reflection on the politics and general history of the Jewish people. Our time together has seen unprecedented occurances in the Middle East – from the Gaza War and the Flotilla Raid to Netanyahu’s election and the protests in the Arab world – and Misha has helped me create and foster my own ever-changing opinions and judgements.
Misha has been my confidante, my mentor and, above all, my friend for the last three and a half years. He helped me create a love of linguistics and the Middle East, my two principal intellectual fascinations, and I can say without any doubt that I would be a completely different person if we had never crossed paths. We can switch fluidly from heated arguments to friendly chats within seconds – discussing things as unusual as travel in India and my school literary magazine while holding the entire conversation in Hebrew. Anyone who has the extraordinary luck of studying with Misha should know, as you quickly grow older and mature, that he will be one of the most defining figures in your life.”
“SCJ made learning Hebrew fun. When I was at a traditional Hebrew school I hated every moment, and Misha managed to make learning Hebrew and Judaism worthwhile and fun. The supplemental study of the stories in the Torah, and the culture and society of Israel were especially interesting.”
“I liked how the teacher at SCJ was only focused on me, which you can’t get at a big Hebrew school.
I learned a lot and learned well from age eight to thirteen. We played Hebrew Soccer and basketball, as well as computer Hebrew games, which made the classes more fun. The games kept my focus, and made me want to complete the assignments in the fastest and best way possible. If I wanted to try something new, Misha was always open to it.
The Bar Mitzvah service flew by. Not only did I think it was fun, but everyone else did too. The music was non-traditional, which I liked a lot. At other Bar Mitzvah Services you see kids texting and talking. At mine they enjoyed it and paid attention. I felt prepared and enjoyed the experience a lot.”
Noah Lemle Miller