Husband-and-wife Judaic team aims to inspire

BP Photos by Emilie Benyowitz

Nate Erez, Torah Editor

By Nate Erez, Torah Editor

Mr. Tuli and Mrs. Ruthi Skaist, the new husband-and-wife Judaic Studies team, experienced their first day of school this week along with the entire ninth grade and assorted transfer students.

“He’s really cool and you can tell that he really wants us to learn,” said junior Shirlee Meisel, who met him during 4th-period Gemarah. “He really wants us to have fun and enjoy what we’re learning. He justeemed really excited about the year and getting to know us.”

Mr. Skaist, or “Reb Tuli” as he would like to be called, is teaching Tanach and Gemarrah and Mrs. Skaist is teaching 9th and 10th grade Tanach.

“We as a team have the goal to make the Judaic Studies Program rigorous, inspiring, and ultimately meaningful,” said Mr. Skaist, reclining in a pink button-down shirt and scratching his red-tinged beard.

Mrs. Skaist shares the team goal but also says she hopes to develop a strong bond with students. She also loves to draw and paint, and her artistic skills were introduced to students at orientation in Raizie Weissman’s introduction of dress code. Mrs. Skaist had drawn “Tznius Barbie” and “Tznius Ken,” along with their censored alter-egos.

The couple met in Israel, where Reb Tuli was studying at Yeshivat Shalvim and Mrs. Skaist was on the Tiferet program. Reb Tuli also studied psychology at Touro College, and Mrs. Skaist attended Stern College of Yeshiva University. They both came most recently from New York, where Reb Tuli was a program coordinator for NCSY while Mrs. Skaist taught in an elementary school.“Reb” is an Ashkenazic term for “mister,” and a little less formal than Mr. Skaist. Reb Tuli plays guitar and wants to learn how to surf.  But he says he didn’t move to Los Angeles for the weather.

“I think what made us want to come here was when we saw how much students like being here,” he said.

Editor-in-chief Leila Miller contributed to this story.