Danielle Rohatiner, Class of 2003: A passion to teach


Editor’s note: Shalhevet’s first academic year was  1992-93, meaning the school is now 20 years old. The Boiling Point will profile alumni from each graduating class.


Q: What did you do straight after high school, and what do you do now?

A: Right After Highschool, I went to Midreshet Lindenbaum in Jerusalem for a year. I went to Stern [Stern College for Women of Yeshiva University], and then I went to grad school at Columbia and I got a masters in teaching, English education from seventh through 12th grade, and now I’m currently teaching. It’s my first year, I teach 2nd grade elementary school general studies at a school in New York called Rodef Shalom.


Q: Are you married and do you have children, and if so how many and what ages?

A: So, I’m single and living on the Upper West Side and I’m looking to find a man!


Q: How would you describe the role of Judaism in their life now?

A: First of all, Judaism is one of my biggest passions. It’s definitely the reason why I’m in education, because I really want to impact Jewish education. It’s something I want to be completely dedicated to and committed to for my entire life.


Q: What is your fondest or funniest memory from your time at Shalhevet?

A: My fondest memories encompass my four years that I was on the Shalhevet basketball team. It was very exciting being on the team and the dedication of waking up three times a week at 5:30 in the morning and practicing and driving to games, and the camaraderie and the teamwork. It was just a very unique experience for me.


Q:  How has Shalhevet influenced you, even after graduation?

A: Whenever people ask me about Shalhevet, this is what I say: I didn’t really realize it at the time as much, but I really feel that throughout my experiences, throughout my year in Israel, going to college, getting an internship, and going to graduate school, I think Shalhevet really gave me the skills and the courage to ask questions and to challenge the status quo. It gave me courage to doubt things and realize that that’s okay. And to really have a voice and be comfortable where you stand.


Q:  If you could plan a Town Hall for the current students, what would the topic be?

A: I think I would want to plan something like what does religion mean to you.  I think the reason I’m saying that is because I think there are so many different kinds of beautiful definitions of religion, and what’s so beautiful about Shalhevet is that there’s no one way, there’s such a diversity there.

And I think it would be really interesting and a worthwhile experience to hear how various people relate to Judaism and religion.


Q: What is the main lesson you learned from your time at Shalhevet?

A: Being comfortable with who you are. You are going to be facing so many different situations and you are going to face so many different encounters and challenges throughout your life, and if you know who you are and you feel comfortable with who you are, even if it’s not what everyone else says or thinks, if you have passion and conviction, you are going to be successful no matter what.


Q: Who was your favorite teacher and why?

A: It’s really different for me to say that because each teacher played such a unique role in my life. When I think about each teacher, I have a unique memory with each teacher that has shaped me in somewhat of a unique way.


Q: When someone says “Shalhevet,” what is the first word or thing that comes to mind?

A: Well first of all, I smile, and I think of community and passion.


Q: If you could go back and give your high school self some advice, what would it be?

A: I guess I would tell myself to take advantage of the atmosphere and environment that Shalhevet provides, because it’s a very unique one. We had the ability to create something or make changes or have a friendship or communication with your teachers. And all of the committees like the Agenda Committee or the Fairness Committee, I wish I would’ve taken advantage of that.

 — Hannah-Leeba Ellenhorn, Arts Editor

Related: Shoshana Cohen ’01: Giving Israeli girls a gift of Torah

Related: Josh Abrams ’01: Kickstarting a company

Related: Asking questions and facing danger, alumnus mines complexity of the Middle East