Dr. Julie Yanofsky Goldstein
What years did you attend JFS?
I attended JFS from 1983-1992
When did you graduate from JFS?
What is your favorite memory from JFS?
Making bulletin boards for Morah Rachel Eisenberger's classes. I also loved writing stories in Mrs. McDermott's first grade class. We all wrote in handmade hand-sewn hardcover books that, at the time, seemed very professional to us and made us feel important as authors. I still have all of the books I wrote and my children really enjoy getting a glimpse of their mother as a little kid.
What was your favorite class at JFS? Why?
When I was younger, I loved art, even though we only had it on occasion. Later on, I fell in love with Chumash with Morah Segal (I think her first name was Chana) and English class with Mrs. Brenda Siegel.
Where do you live now?
Beit Shemesh, Israel
Tell us a little about your family.
I am married to Rabbi Uri Goldstein who has been my partner in many ways, as we have helped build communities and institutions in the US and in Israel, have team-taught in a variety of school and community settings and, of course, in raising our children. Our five children currently range in age from 16 to 4 and are named Shimshon, Moriah, Aviad, Lielle and Ayala. They are all troopers in that they have followed me all over the world as I have pursued my professional goals.
Where did you continue on your educational journey after JFS?
After JFS, I attended Bruriah High School, Midreshet Moriah, Stern College where I earned a bachelors in Jewish studies, Yeshiva University's Bernard Revel Graduate School where I earned a masters in Jewish philosophy, NYU where I earned a joint PhD in medieval history and Jewish Studies, and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Hebrew University and Tel Aviv University.
Can you tell us about your current career?
After teaching at both the high school and college levels (at Ma'ayanot High School in Teaneck and NYU), I opened a midrasha for post-high school women in Israel that reflects my own approach toward Torah study. Called "Amudim" based on a pasuk in Mishlei, the midrasha combines traditional Talmud Torah with the best of what modern scholarship has to offer. Its innovative approach uses the tools of the academy (including historical contextualization, methodological awareness, and a wide swathe of source material) to analyze all types of Torah texts and answer some of the most pressing questions facing Jewish young women today.
What do you envision for the future of your career?
Amudim is on a healthy track to success and set to grow exponentially next year. My hope is that graduates of Amudim go on to lead the Jewish community, serve as a new generation of female leaders, by contributing in sophisticated and nuanced ways to the conversation on Jewish texts and ideas, by teaching and writing Torah.
What is one value or lesson from your years in JFS that influenced your adult life?
Growing up, my family was not wealthy and sometimes I stood out because I didn't have the clothes, luxuries, and sometimes even the basics that other kids had. At JFS, I was valued for inner aspects, such as natural talents and personality, and for aspects of my life that I could control, such as my behavior and work ethic. As a result, I learned to value those things in myself and gained the confidence to push forward in achieving all that I wanted to get out of life.
Are you still in touch with any of your classmates, teachers, or fellow students from JFS?
Aren't we all? In this day and age, it's easy to keep tabs on old classmates through social media and whatnot. My sense is, and I would venture to say that JFSers have a soft spot for other JFSers, and take particular joy in seeing the accomplishments and sharing in the lives of former fellow students. I am in touch with a whole slew of former classmates and teachers. We have a special bond.
What advice would you give to current JFS students?
A major step in leading a meaningful life is the acquisition of wisdom and knowledge. Look for it whenever and wherever you can, especially in school which is geared towards giving it to you. Write down the most wise and intriguing things your teachers say or ideas you encounter throughout your day. You may want to refer back to them when you take the next step towards a meaningful life, which is to interpret and think critically about all the ideas you encounter, formulate your own thoughts and build your own mind which, in the end, is ultimately what makes you, YOU.
How can people reach you if they want to be in touch personally, or learn more about Amudim?
Please talk to me! I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Whatsapp at 2012186386