Hebrew Dep’t greets Mr. Grempel as Vered recovers

BP Photo by Shana Chriki

Jacob Ellenhorn, Community Editor and Alexa Fishman, Staff Writer

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The Hebrew department has brought on Mr. Moshe Grempel to replace longtime department chair Vered Hopenstand, who has been absent since November.

In a reshuffling of roles, however, Mr. Grempel took over Ms. Shlomit Abrams’ classes so she could teach the advanced Bechina classes that had been Ms. Hopenstand’s.

Mrs. Hopenstand, known universally as Vered, declined to comment on the reason for her absence. 

In an interview with the head of Judaic Studies Rabbi Leubitz said that Vered is currently not at school “due to medical reasons.”

When asked when she would be returning Rabbi Leubitz declined to comment. When asked the same question, Shalhevet Rabbi Segal replied, “I cannot comment on personnel issues.”

Mr. Grempel – known by students as “Moshe” – was originally hired to fill Vered’s vacancy until December, when she planned to return. For now though, Mr. Grempel will continue to teach Mrs. Abrahms classes until further notice.

Originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina, Mr. Grempel and his family made aliyah when he was seven years old and they stayed in Israel for 15 years. When he was 22, Mr. Grempel moved to Brazil for two years, after which he returned to Argentina. He moved to the United States in 1990, following his sister.

“She told me that there was good opportunity here and I was very close to her so I moved to be with my family,” Mr. Grempel said.

Mr. Grempel speaks English, Spanish, Portuguese and Hebrew. His first teaching job was in an elementary school in Argentina and he later became a teacher and vice principal of Sholem Aleichem High School in Buenos Aires.

In the United States he has worked at Heschel Day School, a Jewish school in Northridge where he taught Hebrew for two years.

“It’s been a good experience to teach so many students with different languages and cultures,” he said, adding, “All the kids are the same…there are harder groups easier groups, I never saw a difference.”
He is currently in his 12th year teaching Hebrew and Spanish at the American Jewish University in addition to filling Vered’s vacancy in the Hebrew department.

 “He is a good teacher – he’s very understanding and he really helps the students out,” said junior Yael Weiner, a student in Mr. Grempel’s 5-8 level Hebrew class.

Although Mr. Grempel has taught students from various countries, his teaching approached hasn’t changed.

“I treat each of my students as individuals,” he said. “All of them gain the same experience.”