New Temple Beth-El religious school principal seeks to empower students

New Temple Beth-El religious school principal seeks to empower students
David Woolfe is the new principal of Temple Beth-El Religious School in Great Neck. (Photo courtesy of Temple Beth-El of Great Neck)

Temple Beth-El of Great Neck officially hired David Woolfe as its principal for its religious school this month, bringing someone with over 30 years of experience in synagogue-based religious programs to oversee its programming.

An Atlantic Beach resident, Woolfe was previously at the Hewlett-East Rockaway Jewish Centre and Temple Israel in Lawrence, overseeing programs for more than 250 students, according to Temple Beth-El.

“I’ve actually been a religious school educator for many years and I was in a situation where I was looking to make a change and this opportunity opened up,” Woolfe said in an interview.

As the newly appointed principal of Temple Beth-El of Great Neck’s religious school, which typically enrolls around 160 children, Woolfe said he hopes to empower students through boosting Hebrew literacy and adding new courses.

One piece of this would involve creating “an almost AP” set of programs for fifth- and sixth-graders, he said.

“I think that I want the Hebrew proficiency to be extremely strong for all of our students because I think that is fundamental to unlocking everything Judaism offers,” Woolfe said.

Woolfe, who also heads a rescue squad in Long Beach, said he wants students to learn how how to do cardiopulmonary resuscitation and administer Narcan to prevent someone from dying via drug overdose.

These courses would incorporate “Jewish lessons and Jewish learning that is particular to that sort of care and that sort of concern,” according to Woolfe, and imbue students with a “very empowering skill.”

“It’s a real concern everywhere,” said Woolfe, a volunteer medic and CPR instructor. “There’s no place that should ever feel protected.”

For the moment though, Woolfe said he’s getting acclimated to his new position and looks forward to meeting the students.

“Everybody in the synagogue is really looking forward to hitting the ground for this year running,” Woolfe said.

There will be an open house at the religious school on Thursday, Aug. 9, at 10 a.m. and Monday, Aug. 13, at 7 p.m. where anyone interested can meet Woolfe and hear more about his plans for the school.

“I’d love to meet anybody who’s interested in our community,” Woolfe said.

Woolfe was selected following a search led by Debbie Bernstein and Randi Weiler, the chairs of the religious school committee, Barbara Podwall, Rabbi Elle Muhlbaum and Stuart Botwinick, the executive director of Temple Beth-El, according to a press release from the temple.

No posts to display


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here