Rabbi Yotav Eliach

Rebbe, Zionism

Biography

Most people know that I come from a family of Jewish educators; my father was the head of Flatbush Yeshiva for many years, and my mother is a well-known professor and author. So, perhaps it was natural for me to follow in their footsteps. I’ve been teaching for over three decades – it’s a little hard to believe, actually – over a decade of which have been spent at Rambam. My focus has been on the fact that our Yeshiva students need to be prepared to become ambassadors for Israel and for Judaism on the campuses and in the workplace. That means that they not only have to have the necessary information at their fingertips, but also be able to present it – verbally or in writing – in an informative and convincing way. I also speak publicly about Israel and Zionism and am active in “Write On!” which teaches students to use the press as a medium through which to express support for Israel. My proudest achievement is when I see my students making Aliya, serving in the IDF, becoming teachers of Zionism and Jewish history, or otherwise becoming community leaders. As a high school student …well, to quote Mark Twain, let’s say that I didn’t let school get in the way of my getting a good education! I wasn’t really a troublemaker but was certainly no Tzaddik either. As a teacher, I mix it up with my students all the time, and I can give as good as I get. Once, my students put this very lifelike plastic cockroach on my desk. I saw it when I entered class, pretended to ignore it and began teaching. Two minutes into the class, I picked it up, popped it into my mouth and began to chew. The class roared with laughter and even gave me a standing ovation.

Education

Yeshiva Tomer Devorah (Rabbinic Ordination), Brooklyn College (BA in History and Middle Eastern Studies), NYU (MA in International Affairs)

Subjects

Rebbe, Zionism