Eric Hoffer, a 20th century philosopher, once said, “In time of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.”
Learning is a life-long endeavor. It is not something that we “accomplish” and check off our list. Rich or poor, old or young, we always need to be on a continuum of learning. This concept embodies the educational philosophy of Rabbi Yehudah Potok, the new head of school at Striar Hebrew Academy, our very own Modern Orthodox Jewish day school located in Sharon.
“As a school, we engage our students’ imagination and encourage them to think critically,” says Potok. “We want our school community – students, staff, and parents – to all be engaged in asking questions and seeking answers. We want our community of learners to be one where we inspire each other to discover new worlds. We want a community which encourages risk-taking and not only allows for failure, but celebrates challenges as a means to accomplishment.”
Rabbi Potok’s career in education began in the Greater Boston area. He served as the director of academics and dean of faculty at the Prozdor Hebrew High School of Hebrew College, a school of over 750 students at the time. While at Hebrew College, he was also the Associate Director of Ha’Merkaz, The Center for Jewish Education for Teens, and he taught at the Shoolman Graduate School of Education. Rabbi Potok is also well-known in the Camp Yavneh community, as he served as Assistant Director of the camp, spent 13 summers there, and met his wife Shira there. He and his family recently returned to Sharon, after having served as head of school at Oakland Hebrew Day School, a K-8 Modern Orthodox day school in California, for the past three years.
“As a child I had always dreamed of living in a rural area, but with access to a strong Jewish community,” Potok recalls. “In Sharon, I have found that, and Striar is one of the things at the heart of what makes this community so warm, committed and vibrant.”
Rabbi Potok has hit the ground running, getting to know families and community leaders, and setting productive, yet realistic, goals for SHAS. “My vision is for Striar to be a crowning jewel of this community, where students are engaged in a loving environment of exploration and growth,” says Potok. “We will begin by building upon our strong school culture to advance a community of learning for students, staff, and parents.”
Striar Hebrew Academy is a coeducational, Jewish day school in Sharon, founded in 1986. The school enrolls 110 students, toddler-age through Grade 6. For more information, see www.striarhebrew.org.
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