Debbie AbecassisOne of our strategic priorities at Akiva School is our commitment to Judaism and providing the opportunity for Jewish growth within our school community. Key in supporting this priority is the role of Director of Jewish Life and Learning.  Following a comprehensive search, I am very pleased to announce that we have found the perfect candidate to fill this role – right here in our very own Akiva community.  Deborah Abecassis Warshawsky will be joining our team as our new Director of Jewish Life and Learning.  Deborah will work with the Akiva staff and school community to help guide our school in fostering a deeper commitment to Jewish life and learning, a love for the State of Israel and a sense of belonging to the Jewish people.  Deborah will also be responsible for new initiatives that will further develop our commitment to Chessed, living Jewish values and Tikkun Olam.

Deborah brings extensive academic knowledge and experience in Jewish education to the position.   Deborah holds a BA in Jewish studies, MA and PhD in the history of Jewish Bible Interpretation from McGill University as well as a Masters in Library and Information Science (MLIS) also from McGill.  As a Jewish scholar, Deborah has a Post-Doctoral Fellowship from University of Chicago and Diploma in Education for Jewish Teacher Training from McGill.  Deborah has worked as an assistant professor and faculty lecturer at McGill University and has just recently completed running a “rare books” workshop aimed at inspiring High School students to explore Jewish texts at the Montreal Jewish Public Library.

An Akiva parent for over eight years, Deborah has been a dynamic member of our community and has already contributed greatly to the Jewish spirit of the school.  Deborah has worked as a volunteer for many years in the Akiva library and has been an active member of the school Jewish Life Committee.  Deborah was also the editor of the Akiva School Haggadah, a beautiful community Passover Haggadah that reflected the many voices and traditions of the school community.  Deborah was very involved in the Akiva Players as a writer of the play production and, since the beginning of the school year, she has been the author of the weekly Akiva D’var Torah for the popular “My Jewish Journey” blog on the Akiva website.

We are confident that Deborah will be an incredible resource for our school and a valuable member of our team as she helps to guide our school and enrich our commitment to Judaism.