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January 13, 1989 - Image 45

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-01-13

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An Apple
For The Teacher

Nira Lev brings personal energy
and excitement for Israel
into her classes.


News Editor


ira Lev is a teacher to whom
you bring an apple, or a
Valentine or a Chanukah
present. She's the kind of
teacher you said you wanted
to grow up and be like when you
became a teacher. And her interest in
her students goes well beyond enter-
ing grades in a gradebook.
"If you don't come (to class) she
calls to see if you're all right," said
Sheilah Goldberg, a teacher in the
Detroit public schools and student in
Lev's advanced Hebrew class. "She
goes beyond the role of teacher."
Rabbi Bruce Aft, executive direc-
tor of the Midrasha-College of Jewish
studies and principal of the Com-
munity Jewish High School, said Lev
goes beyond the basic requirements of
her job. She recently translated a
Hebrew film into English on her own
time and without pay.
Lev is on the staff of the Midrasha
and the high school. She teaches 10
classes, all in Hebrew, to teens and
adults. In her classes, she incor-
porates conversational Hebrew,
language skills, current events,
Mrs. Lev's students listen attentively,
Nira Lev discusses vocabulary words with her weekday class.
political science, Judaism and, of
course, Israel. She estimates that
teaching about Israel takes between training program at New York addition, she has some of the same pie, about the structure of moral
University, where she completed students year after year. Some of values of the way of looking at the
30 and 50 percent of her time.
them have been taking her classes for world, of an understanding of the very
Teaching was not Lev's first studies toward a Ph.D. degree.
basic things that maybe Freud or
In her first year in Detroit, she 15 years.
career choice. Interested in language,
Advanced Hebrew student Dr. other psychiatrists dealth with later.
literature and people, Lev said she was unemployed; but soon was engag-
"It's a source for understanding
hoped to pursue a career in ed as a substitute teacher at the Emerich Grinbaum said Lev "finds
psychological research. While pursu- United Hebrew Schools. Since then, the best materials, interesting social processes. So the Bible and
ing studies toward that end, she she has become an associate professor materials. Nobody is sleeping in the literature are the same thing.
Literature is the study of people and
taught to make a living. She found of Hebrew at the Midrasha and a class!"
Lev said she finds it more this is what I really like?'
that through teaching she had met UHS teacher. She also has been a lec-
Having taught in Israel and the
her calling. "I got very involved in turer in Hebrew at Oakland Univer- challenging to prepare materials for
Lev said students are basically
teaching and never went back to sity and at the Jewish Community
beginners. "For the advanced classes, the same, but their priorities are dif-
psychology," she said.
Lev estimates that she spends one the greatest challenge of preparation ferent. In Israel, students are more in-
Lev was born in Tel Aviv and
came to the U.S. in 1972, when her hour of preparation time for each would be to find the right materials terested in the political scene, where
husband, , Amos, accepted a post- hour of class time. Her summers and that will still be exciting," she said. American students are more concern-
Long interested in literature, Lev ed with "daily life involvement?' In
doctoral position at Wayne State vacations are spent preparing
University. The couple has two sons, materials for her classes. Rather than said her favorite subjects to teach are the States there is an opportunity to
Ron and Ori. She attended the Levin- stick to a textbook year after year, Lev the Bible and literature. "The Bible develop a close relationship with
sky State College for Teachers in prepares booklets and cassettes for and literature in general is really the those she teaches. "Here there is
Israel, holds B.A. and M.A. degrees her students. Before the Midrasha basic truth about people. You learn to more often the opportunity to develop
from Hebrew University, where she had the capacity to print her booklets, know yourself better; you learn to a one-to-one relationship with the
studied English and Arabic langauge she wrote them longhand and made know other people. This is the study students?'
Businessman Joseph Cohen, a
and literature. At Tel Aviv Universi- Xerox copies to distribute to her of people or the study of life. More
than the historical facts or the student in her conversational Hebrew
ty, she took two years of teacher train- students.
She prepares her own materials, historical events which are the more class, concurs. "There is a good in-
ing and earned an M.A. degree with
honors in educational sciences. She she said, because she finds it difficult external things, the Bible has in it the teraction between her and the
participated in the administrators to teach the same thing repeatedly. In source of universal truth about peo- students. She creates a cohesiveness



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