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Archive for the "Alumni Class of 2004" Category

Schechter Alum Profile: Heather Kaplan Egert, SSHS Class of 2004

April 04, 2014
By SSLI Communications

This month we profile Heather Kaplan Egert, HS Class of 2004.  Heather received her BA from Indiana University where she majored in psychology and minored in Jewish studies.  She continued her studies at Hunter College and received her MS in Early Childhood Special Education.

Currently Heather is an Associate Teacher at the 92nd Street Y.  While there, she has launched a book writing curriculum, worked collaboratively on creating age appropriate school-wide curriculum, and has helped children develop their academic skills.

In her free time, Heather enjoys being with her husband, Seth, whom she married in November.  In mid-March, Heather and Seth got a puppy named Hula Bear who has been occupying almost all of their free time.  Heather also enjoys Pilates and bike riding and staying as active as possible. Naps on the weekends are a vice but who doesn't love a good shluff?! 

This is what she said about her days at Schechter:

What was your favorite memory of Schechter?  

Heather: My favorite memory is my trip to Israel.  I remember being at the Kotel for Shavuot and staying up all night.  We all were learning together – both men and women.  Our trip to Israel was the culminating experience for our grade. A lot of kids started in Kindergarten and to go to Israel 13 years later was very special.

Who is your favorite teacher?  

Heather: One of my favorite teachers was Rabbi Josh Gruenberg.   He was young, around our age and made learning Rabbinics fun.  Mrs. Poniachek really taught us how to speak conversational Hebrew. Even though she was a little strict, she put up with me and my friends being a little crazy.  She is the reason I can speak Hebrew.   I remember every book that I read in 4th grade.   Mrs. Swerdfloff got our imaginations working.  I remember all the projects - the Native American project, Felix the Bear, and the Cereal box biography are a few of them.  Senora Cahn was also amazing.  I came in not speaking a word of Spanish, and within a year she taught us all we needed to know for the Spanish regents.

What clubs/activities were you involved in in High School?

Heather: I was on the prom committee.  I remember driving all around Long Island looking for places.  Ultimately we had the prom at the Great Neck synagogue.  I also played softball.  We had no wins, but had a really good time.  All the girls took turns pitching because no one could do it.

Have you stayed in touch with any other alumni? If so, who?

Heather: I see Mala Hertz, Emily Raxenberg, Caryn (Orbuch) Toppelt, Roni (Steinberg) Kraft.  We see each other a lot.  We have all been to each other’s weddings.  We also have Shabbat dinners together and, talk regularly, and our husbands hang out together.

What was the one thing you learned at Schechter that has stuck with you?

Heather: I learned about the importance of being a member of a community, and always knowing the right thing to do.  In terms of values, Schechter instilled in us the importance of giving tzedakah and being honest.  The individualized attention made us feel really comfortable and we had trust in our teachers.  Schechter also taught us the value of friendships.  My best friends today are from Schechter.  Schechter made such a lasting impact that I want to send my children there.  I know the importance of having a Jewish education and I want to have that for my children.

How did Schechter prepare you for your chosen profession or path?

Heather: I teach in a Jewish nursery school.   Schechter gave me the foundation to do that.  I learned about the holidays, traditions and the importance of Shabbat.  Even though, the school is not a super religious school, I have more experience than some of the teachers in the field of Judaism  I was also able to bypass the Hebrew language requirements which has allowed me to be closer to getting my Jewish area certificate.  My ability to speak Hebrew also put me into a very high level when I studied abroad in Israel at Tel Aviv University during my junior year in college.

What would you like to say to our current students?  

Heather: I would say that although the day is really long, and you might think some of these classes are not so important, the education that you are receiving is truly a gift and will stay with you for the rest of your life. 


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