The Adventure Judaism team has four tutors who handle Hebrew education for most of our students. Being part of a team has the advantage that we can learn from each other and cover for each other. Some tutors have been with us for ages, while others are new to the team. For example, David Speigler has been working with us since 2012 and in contrast, Ari Scharfstein just joined our team in August.
Our tutors are each unique, but they all believe in relational education, meaning they connect with the kids and through the connection, they nourish the students’ confidence and self-worth, enabling the students to excel.
I’d like to tell you a little about the tutor who teaches the bulk of our students, Janiece Gratch. My favorite Janiece story took place at a recent Bat Mitzvah. A couple of my students were laughing away in the corner, looking at their phone and cracking up. “What are you doing?” I asked. “We’re texting with Janeice!” they said. “We miss her so much now that we had our ceremonies and don’t take Hebrew anymore. ” And sure enough that is what they were doing. That’s the kind of relationships she builds – ones that last.
Janiece has tutored over ninety students. Even years after their ceremonies, students speak excitedly about how fun and achievable Janiece made the process.
Janiece Gratch lives in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and works with students all over the world via Facetime or similar apps. She knows how to connect!
Janiece has worked in the field of Jewish education for the last twenty-five years. Janiece received her Masters of Science in Jewish Education from Spertus College of Jewish Studies in Chicago. She has worked with students of all ages, from toddlers to college students, but loves middle-schoolers most of all.
She began her career as the Judaic Studies teacher, and later became the director of Solomon Schechter Academy in Oklahoma City. Janiece became the Hebrew School Director of Temple B’nai Israel in 2002 and retired in May of 2017. While at Temple B’nai Israel, Janiece worked as the B’nai Mitzvah Tutor. She began working with Adventure Judaism soon after retiring.
Janiece takes the commandment l’dor vador- from generation to generation seriously. Her philosophy is to make sure every student will be competent and confident not only for their Bar or Bat Mitzvah ceremony but throughout their lives as Jewish adults. Janiece builds rapport with the students and their families and the students always feel comfortable working with her
She received her Bachelors of Science in Zoology from Oklahoma State University. She has a great love of the outdoors and is an avid birdwatcher.
Janiece works over Skype and Facetime and visits Colorado every few months to be with her children and grandchildren who live here. Yes, we are working on convincing her to move!