Spreadsheets, songs and school-running: Nachum Joel

By Caleb Fishman, Staff Writer

Shalhevet’s apparent love for former singers has surfaced again with the arrival of Mr. Nachum Joel, who has joined the staff as a teacher and administrative intern under Chief Operating Officer Ms. Sarah Emerson.

Mr. Joel is teaching the SAS Economics class this year, and is the third member of the Maccabeats — the popular all-male a capella group founded at Yeshiva University — to join the faculty. Associate Head of School Rabbi David Block and former Judaic Studies teacher Noey Jacobson were also Maccabeats, and Rabbi Block is a founder.But Mr. Joel’s role at Shalhevet will be more in line with his educational and personal background. He earned an MBA from Yeshiva University and worked eight years at an insurance firm, and his father is the former YU President Mr. Richard Joel. This year, he’ll be studying the logistics of running a school as Assistant Executive Director.

“I want to learn how schools run from the business side,” Mr. Joel said in an interview. “Anything that entails the facilities or construction, those kind of logistics. We have people who do those jobs like development or admissions, and I want to learn to do all of them.”

In a press conference last spring, Head of School Rabbi Ari Segal compared his role to that of new Judaic Studies teachers the school has hosted.

“We’re excited to be a school that people look to for that kind of mentoring, meaning he chose to come here,” Rabbi Segal told Boiling Point reporters April 12. He said Mr. Joel would learn about budgets, financial aid, fundraisng, building issues and human resources.

In a lot of places, if you’re running the business side of the school and you are not in the educational roles, you don’t necessarily get to interact with the students often. I want to make sure that I do.

— Nachum Joel, Associate Executive Director

“I think he saw this as a real opportunity to be mentored by someone like

Sarah, who’s incredible,” he said, “and lots of other people in the building who have great experience.”

Right outside Washington D.C., Mr. Joel grew up attending the Melvin J. Berman Hebrew Academy, or as it was known back then, the Hebrew Academy of Greater Washington, through the 11th grade. He then attended his senior year at MTA in New York City.

There are two things Mr. Joel loved from his life on the East Coast that he’s continuing with in Los Angeles: food and basketball.

“I wanted to make sure that there was at least one basketball game I play in per week,” he said, adding that he’d already been to many kosher restaurants.

He’s also found a new hobby that didn’t seem plausible in New York: biking to and from work. His daily commute from the Beverlywood area to Shalhevet is around two-and-a-half miles.

“It’s great — the weather is always perfect and I always get to bike,” he said. “It’s very different from New York.”

Mr. Joel said he hoped he could make strong connections with students, even though he’d be spending a lot of time in offices.

“In a lot of places, if you’re running the business side of the school and you are not in the educational roles, you don’t necessarily get to interact with the students often,” he said. “I want to make sure that I do.”

But that will most likely not result in either a Maccabeat reunion or a collaboration with the Choirhawks.

“The odds are not good,” said Mr. Joel. “I heard the Choirhawks practicing and they’re fantastic. They don’t need me or Rabbi Block.”