February 27, 2024
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RKYHS Names Rabbi Maccabee Avishur as Principal

Last week, Rabbi Eliezer Rubin, head of school for Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School and Joseph Kushner Hebrew Academy in Livingston, announced that Rabbi Maccabee Avishur will assume the role of principal at RKYHS beginning July 2023.

A resident of Teaneck, Rabbi Avishur originally hails from Los Angeles. After attending Brandeis University, he went on to earn a graduate degree in theology and the study of religions from Cambridge University as a result of his research on the Cairo Geniza. He conducted post-graduate work at UCLA, focusing on Near Eastern languages and cultures with
a concentration on Midrashic literature, and is now in the midst of completing his doctoral dissertation in educational leadership at Yeshiva University’s Azrieli Graduate School.

“I want to continue to amplify what is already amazing at the school,” Rabbi Avishur said, adding how much he looks forward to working with the incredible team already in place. “Rabbi Rubin is one of the educators from whom I know I will be able to gain so much, and I am looking forward to the partnership with him.

“One thing I know I want to do immediately upon arrival is spread the word about how amazing Kushner is,” Rabbi Avishur continued. “I think the people who live in MetroWest know that RKYHS is a bit of a hidden gem, and I’d like to spread the word, especially in Bergen County, so that RKYHS becomes the school of choice for many more families.

“Where else can you get the best academics personalized to meet the needs of your child, great extra and co-curriculars, world-class faculty, unparalleled college guidance, a state-of-the-art campus, the best leadership team in the field, and (parents, pay attention) sensible tuition models that make it possible to actually afford this outstanding education? I can think of only one place: RKYHS. And all of this takes place in the warmest, most nurturing environment where the students grow religiously, socially and emotionally. I know I don’t officially work there yet, but you can tell how big of a cheerleader I am.”

In his letter to the school community announcing the new principal’s appointment, Rabbi Rubin spoke of Rabbi Avishur’s successful leadership roles from the YU School Partnership and Prizmah to his current position as principal of general studies and academic dean at Heichal HaTorah.

Since 2010, Rabbi Rubin has served as both principal of RKYHS and head of school for both RKYHS and the JKHA, and he describes the experience as “exhilarating, challenging and extremely gratifying.”

Rabbi Rubin is proud to point out that it is the first time in 17 years that the school has seen a change in principals, which he says speaks highly to its stability and strength. “We have had such consistency and continuity of leadership for 17 years, and we are very proud of that. It speaks a lot about how the board respects the school’s leadership while remaining committed to thoughtful governance. The mission is defined by the board, and JKHA/RKYHS educational programs are aligned with the expectations of the community.

“That’s what this strength is,” Rabbi Rubin continued, “and thankfully we have also been able to expand so many aspects of our educational program and introduce innovative ways of teaching and testing to produce graduates who after many years have been a source of great pride for our school and our community who regularly create a ‘Kiddush Kushner.’

“But all divisions of the school have grown and our development has grown, our campus has grown, our footprint in the Jewish community has grown, and our community has grown.”

Rabbi Rubin felt that he should dedicate more time to his role as head of school while the high school would greatly benefit from a full-time principal. So about a year ago, he got together with the board to conduct a search “to hire a qualified visionary leader to take us into the next generation, allowing me to devote all my time to building the capacity of the school through messaging, development, admissions, recruitment, and working more with the communities.

“We were looking for someone who was able to relate to and understand students both from a learning and a social-emotional perspective, someone who is a religious leader, who would lead through the prism of Torah and assure that the Torah education of the school would always remain aligned with our mission statement, someone who values and demonstrates mastery of western culture and civilization, and someone who would be able to model the character of a school leader.”

Knowing that it was going to be a challenge to find someone who could fill that role, they soon identified Rabbi Avishur, and he exceeded all expectations.

“As soon as we met him, everyone … from teachers to department heads, administrators, students, board members, parents … [was] elated that he would assume the role of principal.”

Sandy Steiner and Jeremy Halpern, co-presidents of the JKHA/RKYHS board of trustees, echoed that enthusiasm: “We are very excited to welcome Rabbi Maccabee Avishur to RKYHS. We considered a very strong group of candidates in order to select an educational leader of Rabbi Avishur’s exceptional ability and enthusiasm to lead our high school.”

Calling him a Torah personality and educational leader, Rabbi Rubin added that Rabbi Avishur believes how “all learning is an act of kedusha, holiness, and he aspires to help students learn and live by that hashkafa, life value. Rabbi Avishur’s positivity, passion for supporting each student’s learning trajectory, and his amiability will cultivate and empower meaningful learning experiences.”

Steiner and Halperin added: “We are confident that Rabbi Avishur will continue RKYHS’ standards of excellence in both our academic arena and student life, and support the religious growth of our students. Together with our Head of School Rabbi Rubin, we know that Rabbi Avishur will build upon our legacy and take us to even greater levels in the future.”

To learn more about Kushner visit: https://www.jkha.org/admissions/rkyhs-difference

By Jewish Link Staff

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