Rabbis Seidenfeld and Ovadia, leaving part-time positions, will remember students

Zev Hurwitz, Acting Editor-in-Chief

Shalhevet’s Judaic department will lose two familiar part-time teachers at the end of this year. Rabbis Shlomo Seidenfeld and Haim Ovadia will both return full time to their primary careers.

Rabbi Seidenfeld, a full time real estate agent, was brought in the middle of the 2008-2009 school year where he would teach the freshman AGT class. This past year, he continued to teach freshman Talmud and also took on a 10th grade Chumash class.

Over the past full year, he also founded and developed the Senior Boys’ minyan which put seniors in their own exclusive davening group for the first time. Outside of school, Rabbi Seidenfeld organizes programs with Isralight, a Jewish outreach group.

“I like him because he cares deeply about his students and shows them great compassion,” said sophomore Maddy Merritt. “He has a way of making each and every class more enjoyable than the last.”

Rabbi Seidenfeld said he greatly appreciated the chance to teach in the Shalhevet community.

“This experience has challenged me to crystallize my ideas and beliefs,” he said. “I’ve enjoyed teaching here and enjoyed the interactions with students.”

Rabbi Ovadia, who came to Shalhevet toward the end of 2008, is head Rabbi at Congregation Magen David in Beverly Hills. He taught sophomore Talmud as well as the Beit Midrash program class for juniors and seniors.

“Rabbi Ovadia has an awesomely progressive take on Judaism,” said senior Lexi Gelb, who was in his Beit Midrash class this year. “He’s intellectually stimulating in and out of the classroom.”

Originally from Israel, Rabbi Ovadia moved around a lot, including long stays in Colombia and New Jersey. In Los Angeles, Rabbi Ovadia periodically writes Dvrai Torah for the Jewish Journal.

“Just like the Mishnah says, I’ve learned a lot from everyone,” Rabbi Ovadia said. “Especially my students. It’s been a great experience.”

Rabbi Ovadia will go back to his full time job at Magen David as well as a part-time teaching job as a Professor of Rabbinics at the Academy for Jewish Religion. He also hopes to complete a religious psychology book that he began composing this year.