2014 Special Award Recipients
Sidney Hillson/Rose Bronstein Memorial Award
For distinguished leadership and commitment to the centrality of the Hebrew language in Jewish education and for the advancement of Jewish culture and civilization
Susie Tanchel, PhD
Susie Tanchel, a passionate educator, strategic thinker, and inspiring leader, has served since 2011 as head of school at JCDS, Boston’s Jewish Community Day School, in Watertown, Massachusetts. Since joining JCDS from Gann Academy in Waltham, Mass., where she was associate head of school, Tanchel has led the pluralistic institution of 200 students toward the highest level of Hebrew language acquisition while becoming a teaching model for joyful Jewish living across the spectrum of Jewish observance.
Tanchel has developed a national reputation for the teaching of Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) and for creating an environment in which high-school students understand that these ancient sacred texts are a living resource for Jewish life in the 21st century. She has taught in many teacher-preparation programs, including DeLeT at the Mandel Center for Studies in Jewish Education and the Secondary Master of Arts in Teaching program, both at Brandeis University, and Melamdim, at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem. Tanchel has also taught many adult-education programs, including the CJP Genesis Forum, Me’ah and biblical Hebrew at Hebrew College, Synagogue Council of Massachusetts programs, as well as at individual synagogues throughout Greater Boston.
In addition to teaching, Tanchel has published articles in academic and practitioners’ journals on the teaching of biblical texts in pluralistic settings. She was also on the writing team of the Jewish Theological Seminary and the Avi Chai Foundation’s Standards and Benchmark project for the teaching of Tanakh. Over the course of her career, her teaching and scholarship have been recognized by a variety of fellowships and honors, including the Bureau of Jewish Education of Boston’s Keter Torah Award.
Tanchel holds a PhD in Tanakh and education from Brandeis University. Her scholarly work focuses on the development of priestly thought in ancient Israel and the teaching of Tanakh.
Dr. Benjamin Shevach Memorial Award
For distinguished achievement in Jewish educational leadership
Rav-Hazzan Scott M. Sokol, PhD
Scott M. Sokol is an accomplished psychologist, cantor, rabbi, musician, and educator. He currently serves as director of education at the MetroWest Jewish Day School in Framingham, Mass.; part-time cantor at Temple Beth Sholom in Framingham; and rabbi at Temple Emanuel in Marlborough, Mass.
Prior to beginning his position at MetroWest last July, Sokol spent 17 years at Hebrew College in a variety of positions. He was the first director and later dean of the Jewish Music Institute, now known as the School of Jewish Music, and founded the cantor-educator program and Jewish special education program. Sokol served as the inaugural Korman Family Professor of Jewish Special Education and as the first associate dean for academic support. He departed Hebrew College as professor of psychology, Jewish education and Jewish music.
Prior to assuming his current pulpits, Sokol served for 11 years as hazzan and spiritual leader of Congregation Kehillath Israel in Brookline. His academic and clinical careers began at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, where he served on the neurology faculty for a dozen years.
Sokol is a diplomate and current secretary of the American Academy of Pediatric Neuropsychology, an elected fellow of the Association for Psychological Science and past recipient of a Young Psychologist Award from the American Psychological Association. He is also a former Fulbright scholar and was the first Wexner fellow in the cantorate.
A consummate violist and singer, Sokol is a featured soloist on several recordings with the Zamir Chorale of Boston, for whom he served as assistant conductor and vocal coach for several years. He is also the co-founder of Koleinu: The Jewish Community Chorus of Boston, and Sheminiyah, a local cantorial ensemble. He has served on the executive council of the Cantors Assembly and is the former editor of the Journal of Synagogue Music.
Sokol graduated summa cum laude in psychology from Brandeis University before earning master’s and doctoral degrees in cognitive neuropsychology from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. He later received a Master of Sacred Music and cantorial investiture from the Jewish Theological Seminary and rabbinical ordination from the Rabbinical Seminary, International.