Nishmat was Rivka Kahan’s first formal Jewish learning experience, but she caught up quickly. A Barnard graduate, she went on to earn an M.A. in Bible from Yeshiva University and continued on to Drisha’s Scholars Circle as well.
“Nishmat was formative for me and is the primary reason that I sought a career in Jewish education,” said Rivka, who was appointed principal of Ma’ayanot High School for Girls in Teaneck, NJ, in 2010.
Nishmat teacher Simi Peters, author of Learning to Read Midrash, recalls, “Rivka was always learning and thinking. Her infectious smile, the way she greeted people and interacted with them, was great. She had an incisive way of thinking, cutting right to the problem. I was not surprised when she decided to go into Jewish education.”
“My learning at Nishmat gave me the ability to prepare shiurim (Torah classes) and curriculum," says Rivka. It still shapes the way I approach texts and ideas. Equally important, I often think of the Nishmat approach to educating the individual. “Nishmat is unique for providing high-level, textual learning in an environment that is deeply sensitive to the spiritual growth and the nuances of each person,” says Principal Kahan.
The Nishmat-Maayanot connection now includes many Maayanot graduates who've continued on to Nishmat, and several of Ma’ayanot’s star teachers, Yoatzot Halacha, who are Nishmat alumnae.
“Rivka’s students come here with her educational stamp. She has passed on to them the same fervor and excitement that she had as a student,” said Simi Peters.