Beth Goldstein, who has served as the director of teen education at the Agency for Jewish Learning since 2008, will be leaving her post at the end of June.
Goldstein will be moving to Boston where she will become the first educational director of the newly formed Yachad School, an after-school program formed through the merging of three Conservative religious schools.
“I’m really excited about it,” Goldstein said. “I am definitely going to miss Pittsburgh, and J-SITE specifically, but I think it is really the right move.”
During her time in Pittsburgh, Goldstein worked with area teens and their families in developing the best means for each teen to continue his or her post-b’nai mitzva education.
“I feel I really spent a lot of time here forming relationships with the families and the teens,” Goldstein said. “I’m really going to miss that a lot.”
Goldstein’s accomplishments while working at the AJL ranged from maintaining a top-notch staff, to growing the HaZamir teen chorus from six to 18 students, to running an antibullying program that raised awareness of the issue throughout the community.
“I think she did a very good job running J-SITE,” said Ed Frim, executive director of the AJL. “She did a great job in building faculty, and she did maintain the size of the program in the face of a declining pool, and I think that speaks to the quality of the program.”
Goldstein also implemented some new programming, including a Conservative madrachim (teaching certification) course that ran at Beth El Congregation.
“In her own quiet way, she’s had a vision of how to engage kids in Jewish education,” said Frim.
That vision included showing teens how Jewish ideology was relevant to issues affecting them in their daily lives.
“I wanted to take issues that were important to teens, and have them understand what Judaism says about these issues,” Goldstein said. “I wanted to show them how Judaism was relevant, and how it can be in their thoughts about how to treat and respect other people. For me, it’s really important to connect real issues with Judaism.”
The AJL is in the process of hiring someone who will be charged with “handling all our teen education,” Frim said, and will soon announce “how we will be moving forward.”
“We are looking at this as an opportunity to see how to organize our teen department,” he said. “I see this as a real opportunity to build on what Beth has done, and how to look at how to better integrate our formal educational activates with the engagementprograms that we run.”
(Toby Tabachnick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)