Rabbi Yisroel Boruch Sufrin - 2014 Award Recipient
Rabbi Yisroel Boruch Sufrin, Head of School at Harkham Hillel Hebrew Academy (HHHA) in Beverly Hills, CA for the past 11 years, has injected a powerful and expansive vision of Jewish education into the school, and in the process has transformed it, empowered students and teachers, and strengthened Jewish community nearby and beyond.
“As educators we must provide a learning environment and culture that supports innovation and spiritual exploration. I strive to help any child become a leader and an innovator; it is our responsibility to do whatever it takes to allow every child to succeed. My life is dedicated to making Harkham Hillel Hebrew Academy and the entire community in which we live a place where children understand that they are partners in the story of creation, and in the continued creation of the world. We must do our part to make this beautiful world into a dwelling place for G-d. Our children are our legacy.”
Rabbi Yisroel Boruch Sufrin has served as the Head of School at Harkham Hillel Hebrew Academy (HHHA) since July 2003. At HHHA Rabbi Sufrin has promoted the use of technology in the classroom, elevated STEM and Hebrew language education, fortified ties between the school and Israel and embraced community service initiatives. “From the day I was born, community service and education have been a part of my DNA. In the Sufrin home the word ‘I,’ ‘me,’ and ‘mine’ never existed.”
Before his tenure at HHHA, Rabbi Sufrin served as Director of Judaic Studies, Student Council Advisor and Teacher, and then as Dean of the Alexander S. Gross Hebrew Academy of Greater Miami in Miami Beach, Florida. As Dean, he created a community service requirement that was recognized by President George H. Bush with the 86th Points of Light Award. Rabbi Sufrin describes is inspired every day he enters the HHHA “Can you picture walking into a building every day and seeing a group of children greeting you with a smile? Picture a child in the act of discovery, reaching conclusions that an adult would have never thought about. This is what motivates me.”
Rabbi Sufrin is actively engaged in the Greater Los Angeles community and beyond. He has acted as the Adult Education Rabbi at Bais Bezalel since 2005, teaching Adult Education classes for parents on Jewish philosophy and parenting. Since 2011, Rabbi Sufrin has served as an educational mentor for The Principal Partnership through the Yeshiva University School Partnership program, as a mentor to new heads of school.
Rabbi Sufrin received a degree from Tomchei Tmimim in 1980, and obtained his rabbinic ordination from United Lubavitcher Yeshivos in 1982. He earned his Judaic Teachers License from CAJE/JESNA in 1985. Subsequently, he earned pastoral counseling credits from Hebrew Theological College in 1987, and received his Principal’s License from the National Board of License in 1993. In 2000, Rabbi Sufrin received the Educator of the Year Award from the Hebrew Academy of Greater Miami, and in 2012 he received an award of the same name from the Orthodox Union West Coast Region.
From His Letters of Nomination and Support
“Rabbi Sufrin knows that leadership is not about status but about creating purpose and vision. He has made it his goal to teach, empower and inspire every student and staff member at Harkham Hillel Hebrew Academy. Rabbi Sufrin is often found researching best practices, seeking dynamic ways to advance our educational opportunities and learning with students and teachers inside and outside of the classroom. I have never met a Jewish educator like Rabbi Sufrin who embraces education from all directions.”
Early Childhood Education Director
Harkham Hillel Hebrew Academy
“Rabbi Sufrin understands that passing on the rich vibrancy of our people’s history to future generations is of paramount importance. He knows that the Jewish story is one to which each child will write their own chapter and make their own, unique contribution.”
Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks
Ingeborg and Ira Rennert Global Distinguished Professor of Judaic Thought
New York University
Kressel and Ephrat Family University Professor of Jewish Thought
“Rabbi Sufrin makes people feel like they have come home when they step into Harkham Hillel, which has evolved into not just a school but truly a community. He rarely has to ask parents to volunteer; rather he inspires them to come forward and contribute to building this ‘second home’ for their children. By his example, the generations of students who have grown up in this school community will undoubtedly be prepared to build Jewish communities that reflect a vision of learning, joy and mutual care.”
Dr. Miriam Heller Stern
Graduate Center for Education, American Jewish University