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See A Teacher Who Inspires His Students by Becoming One of Them at Milken Community School

We are honored to welcome Milken Community School, a middle and high school in the Bel Air area of Los Angeles, as new Members! Enjoy reading (and watching a video) about the inspiring Hebrew language journey of Milken’s esteemed History Teacher, Maxime Gilbert, and his Hebrew tutor, Dr. Carmit Burstyn, who serves as Hebrew Instructional Leader at Milken Community School.  

Watch a video about Maxime’s Hebrew Language Journey with Dr. Carmit Burstyn, Hebrew Department Chair and Instructional Leader at Milken Community School.

Maxime Gilbert, a French-born history teacher, came to the US to teach 11th and 12th grade history at Milken. When he accepted the position, Maxime was not even aware that Milken was a Jewish school, only that it was a private school in LA. Landing a teaching job at Milken turned out to be serendipitous in so many ways. 

Since his parents are completely secular, Maxime grew up knowing the “linguistic codes” of Judaism but without any formal Jewish education. However, Maxime possessed a strong intellectual affinity for Judaism that existed in his soul as a void for over 30 years. At Milken, Maxime met many inspiring faculty members, including “Rabbi BK,” (Rabbi Gordon Bernat-Kunan), who Maxime describes as “an intellectual power-house” and Maxime began to fill that void. He devoured many books about Judaism but quickly concluded that without knowing the Hebrew language, there was a significant barrier to delving deeply into Jewish texts and knowledge. Maxime quietly let it be known in the Milken faculty room that he was interested in learning to read the Torah in Hebrew. In jumped Dr. Carmit Burstyn, Chair of the Hebrew language department, offering to become Maxime’s tutor. 

However, Carmit rejected the premise of Maxime’s initial request to teach him to read Hebrew, with no regard for learning the other language competencies. Carmit shared that, “Hebrew is a living language and in order to read it, you need to really KNOW it, including how to orally comprehend, write, and even speak the language.” Carmit should know. Her doctoral research was on high school students’ motivation to learn Hebrew language, and for 90% of the 11th and 12th grade student participants in her study, connecting to identity, and specifically to Jewish identity, was a primary motivator.  

Maxime accepted Carmit’s condition to learn Hebrew as a living language. Because Milken is in LA, outdoor spaces are used as classrooms. And because Carmit and Maxime had agreed to devote two of their prep-hours per week on Maxime’s studies, it soon became obvious to students and faculty members that Maxime had become Carmit’s Hebrew student. For Maxime, learning Hebrew is very personal, and very emotional. Doing so in such a public way has fueled the motivation of his students, and indeed, of the entire Milken Community.

Hitkadmut: The Annual Hebrew Language Educators Conference


Registration is live for our November 2023 Virtual Conference!

Make certain your Hebrew teachers, Hebrew leaders, and school leaders join us for the annual professional conference that is propelling the field forward. View more information about this virtual gathering.

2023 State of the Field of Hebrew Language Education Report


We are excited to share the new 2023 State of the Field Report: Hebrew Education in North American Jewish Day Schools.

This report brings together significant work of partners and stakeholders to better understand, recognize and leverage advancements in Hebrew education throughout our field. The 37-page report features aggregated and curated knowledge acquired from our field over the past 12 months.

Our hope is to amplify this collective knowledge, making it available to as many people as possible and ensuring that Hebrew education is a valuable part of the conversation around Jewish education in North America.

Join Hebrew teachers, Hebrew leaders, and other school leaders for an intensive, virtual conference on Sunday, April 3, 11:30 – 3:30 EDT. 

Click here for more information and to register