Alumni News  •  Issue 3  •  June 2017


Dear Brandeis Marin alums & alumni families,

I am very excited to share this next edition of our Brandeis Marin alumni newsletter with you. Over the last few months we have been busy compiling interesting stories about many of our beloved alums and faculty members. Our school's alumni network now stretches over 35 years. It is our hope (and plan!) to organize a large Brandeis Marin reunion on our campus in the late Fall 2017 so that we can provide an opportunity for our former students, parents and faculty members to reconnect. Please stay tuned for more information about this event in the coming months.

The 2016-2017 school year that concludes this week has been particularly transformative for Brandeis Marin. We completed a very successful accreditation process with both CAIS & WASC - and received the highest accolades for our academic program and school structure. Our school bands were invited to play in the Marin IJ's Lobby Lounge and we were also the youngest school asked to participate in the Battle of the Bands in SF this past Spring. Our Maker's program continues to expand with our students daily use of a 3-D printer, laser cutter and course offerings such as Design Lab & Design Engineering. The Brandeis Marin Hebrew program introduced two new programs in the Lower School: "Halav u'Dvash" in Kindergarten and 1st grade and "Rak B'Ivrit" in 1st-4th grade. Under the direction of our new Dean of Hebrew and Jewish Studies, Merav Steinberger, we have shifted to a Modern Hebrew language program with an emphasis on conversational proficiency.

As always, we invite you and your families to join us at graduation this week on Wednesday, June 7th at 9:30am in the Rodef Sholom sanctuary. We look forward to hearing from Brandeis alum, Erin (Meyers) Kahn ('90), as this year's alumni speaker. Erin helps run the Studio Talent Group at Lucasfilm and Industrial Light and Magic in San Francisco.  

And lastly, please feel free to share any exciting news with your alma mater by emailing me directly at:

We hope to see you on campus in 2017!

All the best,

Becky Genet Fenster ('93)

Brandeis Marin Alumni Relations Coordinator


Reflections on Brandeis Marin in Two Voices

By: Ruth Rosenthal ("Mrs. R.") and Joel Abramovitz ('98)


Joel Abramovitz, BHDS Class of '98 and his mom, Ruth Rosenthal, Lower School Dean and Brandeis teacher since 1983 write a narrative in two voices about their experiences as part of our school community. READ MORE


Alumni graduation speaker, Erin (Meyers) Kahn, remembers her Brandeis years

By: Erin Kahn ('90)


Hello Alumni! My name is Erin Kahn, but ages ago, I was Erin Meyers (one of the three Meyers sisters) who attended Brandeis Hillel Day School back in the 80's. I began my "career" at Brandeis in 1981 with the lovely Marni, who still shines in the Kindergarten classroom today – a good 36 years after I was her student! I swear, she has not changed at all – it's really amazing how time flies and can stand still at the same moment.


I recently went back to our school to take a tour, having realized I had not been there for AGES and wanted to see the space. The social hall and synagogue were the only two rooms that I recognized along with the side courtyard. I had a few flashbacks to the chorus singing on that very stage.  I also had memories of the "Ladies First" skit (a highlight of my acting career) which at the most random times, will still pop into my head today. I remember the older kids and the younger kids helping each other with makeup and costumes, and Mrs. G & Mrs. Kaufman, prepping us for our shows. What a nice space to be able to come back to - I kept waiting for Harvey to come out and say, "hello smurfette!"


When I toured the school I was totally amazed. It's wonderful to see all of the artwork (so much talent!) and the kids in the classrooms – the school is thriving. I have to admit, I was a bit jealous of their music program. Nothing could ever beat our choir - but these students have sound systems, instruments,  a ton of cool technology –  it was unreal – and when I heard them play, I was totally blown away. These kids have a musical talent that is beyond any expectation for middle school. READ MORE


Hannah Barlow Reflects on the Impact of her Gap Year

By: Hannah Barlow ('11)


I graduated from Brandeis Marin in 2011 and then attended Marin Academy.  After I graduated from MA in  2015 I decided to take a year off before going to the University of Maryland.  Leaving home to travel alone was not easy. I have been on planes since I was 8-weeks-old (I don't know how my mom did it) and can navigate airports with ease; but going to a new country where I did not know anyone nor speak the language was a completely new experience. How would I make friends? Would I just be incredibly lonely?

People have always told me I am a leader: extroverted and confident, so I struggled to recognize the girl who was having a panic attack during her layover on the way to Spain in the Fall of 2015. I hated feeling so vulnerable and dependent, but there was no escape -- I had committed to this experience and I was going to see it through. READ MORE


The Beginning of Noa Zimmerman's ('13) Musical Journey

By: Laurie Friedman (Noa's mom )


Noa first stepped foot on the Brandeis campus for our family's first Back to School Bash when her older brother, Josh, entered Kindergarten.  On that hot summer afternoon, over a hundred excited, energetic older school-age kids ran about to the background of loud, live music. I decided to take her to the more peaceful kindergarten playground, but Noa would not have any of that calm.  Instead, she made a beeline to the very front of the Swig stage where, under the canopy of the old oak tree, Mr. Scott's band was playing.  Toddler Noa was mesmerized.  She attentively watched the musical performance for almost an hour…and thus began her musical journey that would later highlight her 9 years as a Brandeis student. READ MORE


Jesse Scott Builds a Rockin' Music Program

By: Becky Genet Fenster ('93)


Brandeis Marin music teacher, Jesse Scott, has been working at our school for nearly two decades. Jesse actually started his teaching career at Brandeis in 1999, as a part-time music teacher, computer-lab teacher and yearbook advisor. It wasn't until Hamutal Gavish arrived when she had the vision and fortitude to hire Jesse as a full-time music teacher in 2005.


In addition to his teaching career, Jesse has enjoyed incredible runs with local rock bands.  He was the bass player for the local Van Halen tribute band, Hot for Teacher, for a decade and still enjoys being their sub bassist, when needed. Jesse currently plays bass for local bands Rock Skool and the Red Rocker Experience, a Sammy Hagar tribute band.


Over the years, our beloved music teacher has created numerous programs for Brandeis students. The incarnation of our school bands started back in 2000, with students such as Ryan Lerman and Jesse Schreibman, in a lunchtime blues band. Zero period bands also started that year with Rock Band being the first zero period offering, but it was so popular that a second zero-period band was added that same year. It was these bands that Jesse attributes to exciting Brandeis kids about music, and becoming more musically involved students. READ MORE


Alex Jakowsky explores how Brandeis impacted his entrepreneurial spirit

By: Alex Jakowsky ('12)


I attended Brandeis for 9 years (K-8) and I can confidently state that our school has largely shaped who I am today. Brandeis built the foundation that accelerated my learning through high school, college, and my professional life. Classes such as Mrs. Kaplan's multi-media class gave me strong Adobe Photoshop and video editing skills, Mr. Knox's English classes made me look beyond the surface, and Mr. Mullin's history class showed me the value of not just knowing history, but understanding other cultures. I've taken all of the lessons I've learned from Brandeis to guide me in my current entrepreneurial journey.  


I am eager to share my journey with entrepreneurship and some of the lessons I've learned along the way. Recently, I was featured in an entrepreneurship magazine called Future Sharks and would like to share some of my responses with you. READ MORE





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