Tikvah’s middle school programs feature our faculty of leading educators, including:
Dr. Aaron Tugendhaft
Aaron Tugendhaft studied history and philosophy at the University of Chicago, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and the Sorbonne. Since receiving his doctorate in ancient Near Eastern Studies from New York University in 2012, he has taught broadly within the humanities on four continents and has become a staunch advocate of traditional liberal education as a corrective to premature professionalization, academic hyperspecialization, and political polarization. His most recent book, The Idols of ISIS: From Assyria to the Internet (University of Chicago Press, 2020), is a philosophical meditation on an Islamic State video of iconoclasm that explores the political power of images and the significance of their destruction. This fall, he will join the history department and become director of interdisciplinary programs at the Ramaz School in New York City.
Sarah Wapner is the impact and recruitment officer at the Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought of Yeshiva University. A native of Toronto, Sarah received her undergraduate degree from the University of Toronto, where she majored in political science and Jewish studies. Sarah is an alumna of summer fellowships at the Tikvah Fund, the Hertog Foundation, and the American Enterprise Institute, and she served as a consultant for Tikvah’s College Division. Sarah is a graduate of the Pardes Center for Jewish Educators and she is a member of the Tikvah Young Professionals Policy Forum.
Rabbi Amitai Fraiman
Raised in Jerusalem, ordained in NY, and now living in Palo Alto, Rabbi Amitai Fraiman is the Director of the Z3 Project, an initiative of the Oshman Family JCC aimed at strengthening the relationship between Diaspora Jews and Israel based on a Peoplehood oriented Zionism. R’ Fraiman is also the founder of שזור/Interwoven, an organization specializing in telling the story of American Jewry to Israelis. Amitai is an ELI speaker, a musmach of YCT, and a graduate of NYU’s dual MPA-MA program. Together with Michal, he is the proud parent of Maya, Yahli and Roee – whom he loves bigger than the sky.
Audi Hecht directs and teaches the Philosophy, Politics, and Economics program for the Tikvah Fund at the Frisch School. Previously she served as Dean of Academics at Torah Academy of Bergen County in Teaneck, NJ, and as Chairperson of the History department at Yeshiva University High School for Girls (Central) in NYC, where she taught courses in history and political science and played a critical role in professional development, academic innovation, curriculum design, and in directing civics and experiential education initiatives. Prior to her time at Central, Audi Hecht was an adjunct instructor of political science at the College of New Rochelle. She holds both a BA and MA in Political Science from Brooklyn College. She is a doctoral candidate at the Azrieli School of Education, researching the impact of school leadership on institutional health and culture.
Rabbi Avi Heller
Originally from Denver, Colorado, Rabbi Avi Heller is the Director of the Manhattan Jewish Experience East and the Director of the MJE Fellowship Program. He also teaches the English and History Tikva curriculum at Heichal ha-Torah in Teaneck , ELA at Ma’ayanot High School and is the scholar-in-residence for the Old Broadway Synagogue in Harlem. He has served as the COO of CharityChoice, the NJ Regional Director of Synagogues for the Orthodox Union’s, MJE’s Director of Education, and the co-director of the OU’s Jewish Learning Initiative on Campus at Boston University. He was also the Director of the Boca Raton Community Kollel, the Rabbi of the BRS West Synagogue, and a Bronfman Fellow at Hillel International.
He received his BA from Boston University, rabbinic ordination (semicha) from Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS) at Yeshiva University and an MA in Bible from the Bernard Revel School of Graduate Studies. He, his wife Shira, and their three children live in Teaneck, NJ, and he enjoys word play, learning weird things, gardening, good coffee, and running and biking while listening to alternative rock.
Rabbi David Ehrenkranz
Rabbi David Ehrenkranz received rabbinic ordination from Yeshiva University and a Master’s degree in Liberal Studies from the Graduate Center of the City of NY. Rabbi Ehrenkranz (known to his students as “Rabbi E.”) has been teaching in the greater Boston area since 1996. Rabbi E. also taught at the Ma’ayan Torah Institute for Women and was the orthodox rabbinic advisor at Brandeis University from 1998 to 2000. He has been a teacher at both Maimonides School and Hebrew College (at Prozdor) since 1996. Rabbi Ehrenkranz was engaged in informal Jewish education as well as the Boys Head Counselor at Camp Nesher (2007-2016) as well as the former Director of the Kehilla Program at Camp Grossman. Additionally Rabbi Ehrenkranz was the varsity head softball coach for fastpitch softball at Maimonides for 14 years. He has had a number of poems published in various magazines, both online as well in print.
Rabbi David Glickman
Rabbi David M. Glickman is the senior rabbi of Congregation Beth Shalom in Overland Park, Kansas (suburban Kansas City). He is a sought-after teacher and a rabbinic innovator. Rabbi Glickman was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary and is an alumnus of the University of Michigan. He has studied at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, The Schechter Institute, The Shalom Hartman Institute and the Hadar Institute. He is also a bit of a coffee maven.
Rabbi Abraham Unger, Ph.D.
Director of Regional Education