Alumni parent and former USC professor teaches new AP class


Jordan Levine

JAVA: Dr. Joshua Sharfman is teaching the first ever AP computer science course at shalhevet. He is an Alumni Parent to Noah Sharfman ’05 and Erin Sharfman ’13

By Rose Lipner, Deputy Editor-in-Chief

Even though Shalhevet is cutting down on AP classes, new teacher Dr. Josh Sharfman is introducing a new one: AP Computer Science.

But Dr. Sharfman, parent of alumni Noah Sharfman ’05 and Erin Sharfman ’13 and formerly a professor at USC, is adding a Shalhevet twist to the curriculum: ethics and Judaic studies.

“This will be uniquely a Shalhevet course, not something stamped out of the books,”Dr. Sharfman said in an interview.

Dr. Sharfman assigned a summer essay analyzing the implications technology has for copyright and privacy laws. Later this year, the course will examine the impact digital signatures have on the way people abide by contracts.

There are 17 students enrolled.

“I’m looking forward to learning the ins and outs of Java,” said junior Noah Suissa.  After reading the class’s summer book, Blown to Bits, Noah discovered he knew little about the impact technology has on society. He hopes to learn more about this and also develop his computer science knowledge.

. “This class also comes with a lot of useful skills,” said Noah, “such as attention to detail and problem solving.”

Dr. Sharfman earned his bachelors degree at UCLA, his masters at USC and his doctorate in business at Capella University. For 19 years, he was an adjunct professor of engineering at USC and also taught as a teacher’s assistant at UCLA. He currently works as Chief Technology Officer at California Association of Realtors.

Although Shalhevet is slowly getting rid of AP classes, the administration made an exception and added AP Computer Science to the curriculum to provide a framework for a future, non-AP course.

“Being able to have an AP option in addition to CIJE and robotics felt like a solid balance for the ‘15-16 school year,”said General Studies Principal Mr. Daniel Weslow via e-mail.

In addition to loving science and technology, Dr. Sharfman is the founder and creator of Virtual Cantor, where he has uploaded his own voice recordings of Shabbat and holiday davening and laining.  The site is a teaching tool so people can learn for free, and since its founding in 2003 has had 352,410 different visitors, according to Google Analytics.

Dr. Sharfman also is a lay cantor himself, and will be leading Rosh Hashanah and Kol Nidre services at Bnai David-Judea Congregation later this month.