The Jewish Theological Seminary: Why did you choose The Davidson School?
Danny Drachsler: As I exited my 20s, a decade spent mostly exploring and working retail food service, I found myself finally ready to commit to a career path. Jewish experiences at the Rainbow Gathering, Hazon Food Conference, and Aish HaTorah in Jerusalem awakened my cultural and spiritual memories. I wanted only to continue learning and growing as a Jewish human being, and to find ways of sharing with others. The Experiential Education concentration at The Davidson School stood out as a comprehensive, cutting-edge, and energy-filled program.
JTS: Tell us about your favorite class.
DD: The standout for me so far has been Curriculum and Program Implementation with Dr. Sarah Tauber. A significant portion of every class meeting was devoted to group work in which we simulated designing curricula for a particular setting using a theoretical approach, and incorporated the theological subject matter covered that week in Translating Jewish Theology for Educational Settings with Dr. Jeremy Kalmanofksy (also an excellent course). The settings, approaches, and subject matter varied each week, giving all students the chance to work with peers on a variety of curricula.
JTS: What do you enjoy most about being part of our community?
DD: I love when somebody organizes a potluck Shabbat meal. One of my favorite Jewish moments is standing around the Shabbat table while someone says kiddush.
I appreciate the privilege of living on campus. I can easily visit with other graduate students for social or academic purposes. I love having a few friends over in the evening for tea and studying.
JTS: What person at JTS has had the greatest impact on you, so far?
DD: Rabbi Jonathan Lipnick. His energy exudes inclusivity, positivity, and possibility. I am learning from him how to be continually in process as an educator and a person.
JTS: What are your professional goals?
DD: I am currently open to exploring opportunities that relate to my main areas of interest: Hebrew, personal transformation, spirituality, and environmental education.
JTS: Name your favorite place on campus.
DD: The courtyard on a mild, sunny day.
JTS: Have you gone to Israel as part of your JTS training?
DD: I participated in the Visions and Voices of Israel Seminar this past January, during my first year. We explored alternative perspectives on Israel, and experienced diverse pedagogical approaches. A highlight was being led around Har Herzl by an educator who presented two distinct narrative arcs to show us that what we choose to focus on and how we present it affect what our learners will take away.
JTS: What would people be surprised to learn about you?
DD: I produced, directed, and edited a children's puppet film.