Faculty Spotlights Week 1

Julie Sacks, Music Teacher/Pianist

First, we’d like to wish Mrs. Sacks a hearty “Mazal Tov”. Transcontinental Music selected one of her songs from among a record number of submissions to be included in The Complete Jewish Songbook for Children Volume III (Manginot). The selected song is titled, “Count On Shabbat”. Be on the lookout for the album release in Spring 2021. “Kol HaKavod” Mrs. Sacks!!
Did anything or anyone inspire you to become a teacher?

My mother was not only an educator, but she went back to school when I was in college to earn her Master’s degree in Counseling. She then continued working as a school counselor for many years. My grandmother was one of the first women to graduate from the Pharmacy School at the University of Texas in 1929, and my whole family has always stressed the importance of education. I also have a dear friend whose mother had been a music teacher, and I saw how much joy she brought to her students. I would say the inspiration came from many directions! I have now taught every age, from infant to college students. And while teaching was not my first career, it may just end up being the most rewarding.

What is your most memorable moment at BYDS so far?

My first day, in October 2019. I remember vividly the feelings I had while I stood in the music room that first day, trying to prepare myself for the day ahead. As a student at BYDS back in the 1970’s, I was blessed to have the legendary Debbie Friedman (z”l) as my music teacher, for a brief time. As I stood in the BYDS building last October for the first time in almost 40 years, I decided to put on some music, a kind of self-pep talk! One song that came on my playlist was Debbie singing L’chi Lach, which tells the listener to go forward, and that you shall be a blessing. I started to cry and decided right then that I was in the right place. Although the building is completely different on the inside today, I see things all around the building every day that bring back memories.

You already play instruments beautifully, what other talent would you most like to have?

Truthfully, I only play piano/keyboard instruments well!  I have several other instruments I would like to play…cello is my main wish! But outside of instruments, I would like to be a cake decorator who makes those beautiful intricately designed cakes.

What is your favorite meal? (to eat, that is, not cook)

I love Poke! (Although honestly, I probably like to cook for my family more than I like to eat!)

Aliyah Rudoff-Hitchcock, Lead CDO Teacher

How old were you when you decided to become a teacher?

I decided to become a teacher five years ago. I always loved working with children but didn’t know what direction I wanted to go with it.  After I lost my dad tragically I knew I wanted to find a career and not a job. I wanted to make him proud of me. I saw a posting for a Jewish preschool in Missouri city that was looking for a teaching assistant. I had no experience and didn’t think I would get it but I responded anyways. I went in for the interview and ended up getting the job. I worked there for 4 years and learned so much about teaching until they shut down. Right before COVID-19 I found out we were shutting down and I knew I needed to find a new teaching position. I had learned so much in the past 4 years that I knew it was time to get my teaching certificate so that I could become a lead teacher. So that what I did. Now I have a career that I love and I know that my dad is so proud of me.

What superhero talent would you most like to have?

If I was a superhero, I would definitely want the ability to have everlasting energy. With all that energy I could do anything and everything 24 hours a day. I wouldn’t need sleep, so I could find the time to do everything I want. My unending energy would also allow me to volunteer more. I feel I never have enough time or energy to have more projects from the heart.

What is your favorite thing about BYDS?

My favorite thing about BYDS is the community and family aspect of it. My mom grew up at Beth Yeshurun and my dad was on the executive board, so I feel like I am at home every time I step foot onto campus and that is a very comforting feeling. 

Favorite character from children’s literature?

My all-time favorite character from children’s literature is Curious George. A curious monkey who saves the day by getting into a little bit of trouble…how could you not love him!!!

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