Matt Weintraub, advisor and friend, leaves marketing post

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Matt Weintraub, advisor and friend, leaves marketing post

Emilie Benyowitz, BP Staff

Emilie Benyowitz, BP Staff

Emilie Benyowitz, BP Staff

REACHING OUT: Matt Weintraub, right, talks with sophomore Adam Wannon during Ma'agal Hakshava Dec.10.

Zev Hurwitz, Editor-in-Chief

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Matt Weintraub, who in two years at Shalhevet reorganized the school’s communications department and was the only non-teacher to be a ma’agal advisor, packed up his office and said goodbye last Monday, Dec. 13.  The Director of Marketing and Communications left to assume the same title at Temple Aliyah, a synagogue in Woodland Hills.

“I chose to take this new job to be closer to home,” said Mr. Weintraub, who lives in Sherman Oaks. “It was a hard decision, but it’s the right decision for me and my family.”

During his time at Shalhevet, Mr. Weintraub focused on attracting prospective families and maintaining the school’s public image, at times during periods of difficult change such as the closing of the lower schools and Rabbi Weinbach’s resignation last year.

Yet he always promoted the positive, finding many ways to do so. Students often found him patrolling the school for opportunities to take pictures.

“He’s a great guy and he really knew the students and how to connect with them,” said sophomore Erin Sharfman.

The mastermind behind Shalhevet’s recent “He went to Shalhevet, now he’s…” advertising series, which features alumni who have achieved success in fields ranging from Jewish education to world diplomacy, Mr. Weintraub said his greatest accomplishment at Shalhevet was landing then-sophomore Rachel Lester in a feature story in the Los Angeles Times. Rachel had been elected the youngest-ever member of the city’s South Robertson Neighborhood Council,

“It’s actually a big accomplishment to get such a large newspaper to cover a story in such a small school,” he said.

He also said he was proud of creating the famed “Shalhevet Chocolate Bar,” which is an advertisement for the school in the form of a candy-bar wrapper. Mr. Weintraub came up with the “Jewtrition Facts” on the back which include “100% Modern Orthodoxy” as well as the slogan “Taste the Jewey Goodness.”

This year Mr. Weintraub – or Matt, as students universally call him –served as a 10th grade advisor. Sophomore Daniella Mor, a member of his group, said she’s very upset over his departure.

“I cried when I found out,” Daniella said. “He is such an amazing person and he was someone who I could talk to about my problems with school and he would always help me out in any way he could. He’s the best advisor I ever had and I’m going miss him so much.”

Another advisee, Erin Sharfman, said that Mr. Weintraub liked to go around the advisory circle and have everyone mention a high point and a low point of the week.

“He really liked to stress the high points and show that there is always something positive,” she said.

He said he enjoyed interactions with students and participating in the Just Community.

“It was a great experience working for an organization that I believe in,” he said. “I wish I had had the opportunity to attend a high school like Shalhevet.”

According to Dean of Students Mr. Roy Danovitch, the group will now be led by Natalie Williams.

Temple Aliyah is a conservative synagogue with membership of around 1000 families. Rabbi Stewart Vogel, the temple’s senior Rabbi is a former Jewish Federation “Rabbi of the Year,” as well as the co-author of a national best seller: The Ten Commandments: The Significance of God’s Laws in Everyday Life.

After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Communication from Indiana University at Bloomington, Mr. Weintraub studied abroad in Italy. Later he became a Jeremiah Fellow, working as an activist for social change and social justice through the Progressive Jewish Alliance.

Mr. Weintraub said he will miss working with and interacting with students on a regular basis most of all, adding that he would love to keep in contact with the Shalhevet community. He can be reached at  [email protected]

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