Rachael Turkienicz, an instructor in Jewish education and rabbinics in York’s Faculty of Education and a Fellow at York’s Centre for Jewish Studies, has been chosen to receive the Canadian Friends of Hebrew University’s first-ever Person of Distinction award, at a ceremony to be held May 18 at Toronto’s Adath Israel Synagogue.
Joan Stevens, executive director of Canadian Friends of Hebrew U, said Turkienicz was chosen because her innovative approach to Jewish learning has opened doors for children and adults across Toronto and beyond. In addition to being an educator, lecturer, writer and columnist for the Canadian Jewish News, Turkienicz co-founded the Toronto Heschel School, an arts-based Jewish day school. She is also founder of The Learning Centre, an institute for adult Jewish studies in Toronto.
Turkienicz, who is also a York alumna (BA, BEd ’84), was the first woman to receive a master’s degree, and then the first to receive a doctorate, in Talmud and Midrash from Brandeis University, Waltham, Mass.