Dr. Eytan Apter, Middle School Social Studies Teacher and Israel Engagement Coordinator was born in Rockland County, NY, where he attended a Solomon Schecter School. He then spent his High School years in Bergen County, NJ, as a student at The Frisch School. Eytan then made the move to Philadelphia where he attended the University of Pennsylvania, receiving a degree in History and English.
After college, Eytan moved to New York City where he became an investment banker, and then worked in the entertainment industry for two years at VH1. Not finding satisfaction in either field, he reflected back on his High School ambitions, and decided to make the jump into education.
Opportunity arose when Eytan was offered a mid-year teaching position with a local Jewish day school. With his bachelor’s degree in History, and having taught Hebrew school in the past, he was ready to move into this new role. After teaching for a few years, Eytan realized that he found his life-long career. This would lead him to receive a Master’s degree in Teaching and PhD in Education from Fordham University.
After teaching at two different schools in Manhattan for 10 years, family connections drew Eytan and his wife Stacey to the Washington, DC area. Though connections from Solomon Schechter, Eytan found the right fit for his next career move at JDS. “JDS is the first time I have taught in a pluralistic school, and I have really enjoyed that aspect of the School,” Eytan said. “I was given the opportunity at the time to have big discussions about Pluralism, and to revamp some of the minyanim at the time, as well as the social studies curriculum.”
“I am so glad that I have been with JDS for so long,” Eytan said. “It’s a warm environment where there are opportunities to grow, while also being a professional environment where faculty truly have a voice.” Eytan feels a strong connection to the mission of the School, and with the material he teaches in Zman Kodesh and social studies classes.
Since coming to JDS in 2011, Eytan has also taken on the position of Israel Engagement Coordinator. In this role, he has worked with colleagues to tie educational events into everyday curriculum, including last year’s Herzl Week, where the Upper School students were asked to examine Israel’s past before it became a state. Eytan has also taken on the role of Coordinator of the Irene and Daniel Simpkins Senior Capstone Israel Trip. “I taught this group of seniors when they were in 8th grade, so I have really gotten to know them and I adore them,” he said. “To be able to work with them, even behind the scenes, it’s a pleasure to be able to make this trip happen for many of them. Even though we are dealing with COVID, I always want to take that opportunity to give back to the students.”
With his mother being from Brooklyn and father from Israel, he always felt a strong sense of his own Jewish identity. “Having a piece of each of them in me gave me a strong sense of Jewish Identity in religion, culture, and connection to Israel.” His family history and educational background drew Eytan to the Israel programming at JDS. “The idea that we may all have different opinions but we are all really connected by this love of Israel is very important to me as I work in the role.”
Outside of school, Eytan enjoys being in nature with his wife and children and hiking. During the last year the family has been enjoying the state parks Virginia and Maryland have to offer, making it a Sunday tradition to go exploring.