1. How did you get involved in Jewish education?
My first real experience in Jewish education was through working in sleepaway camps.  I started as a Music Director and then worked my way up to being a Program Director and eventually a partner in Camp IBA.  While working summers in camp, I was pursuing my doctorate during the school year which required me to teach on the undergraduate level as well.  A few years later I came to Yeshiva University where I was given the opportunity to combine both sets of experiences.  I was hired to teach Jewish History to undergraduates and to help on the administrative end with their Boys High School. One thing led to another and before I knew it I was Associate Head of School at MTA and then Head of School at the Margolin Hebrew Academy.

2.You completed a doctorate in Harvard focusing on the works of Rabbi Naftali Zvi Yehuda Berlin, why did you choose that focus and how has it influenced your career?
  I've been fascinated with the Neziv since the first time I encountered Ha'amek Davar in yeshiva many years ago.  Perhaps what I find most intriguing is the combination of his bold, creative, and non-conformist commentarial approach with his position at the helm of the world's largest and most prestigious institution of Torah learning of his time, the Etz Chaim Yeshiva in Volozhin.  There is no question that his rare blend of passion, intellectual rigor, creativity, and leadership - as well as his confidence to break new ground and explore new horizons - have played a central role in shaping both my career and my educational philosophy.

3. What are you most looking forward to at YouthCon?
I think that as parents and formal educators we don't spend nearly enough time thinking about the educational experiences our children have outside the four walls of our classrooms.  As the traditional classrooms of our youth quickly become obsolete, however, the importance of real-world, experiential, and service learning is only becoming greater.  Therefore, I'm excited to spend some time talking to the people on the front lines of this important work and gleaning wisdom from their experiences that I can bring back to my students and my community.  

Rabbi Perl has served as the Head of School of the Margolin Hebrew Academy, a PreK-12 Day School in Memphis, TN, for the past four years. Before moving to Memphis, Rabbi Perl was the Associate Head of School at Yeshiva University High School for Boys as well as an instructor of Jewish History at Yeshiva College. Rabbi Perl has a bachelors degree from the University of Pennsylvania, a Masters Degree and PhD from Harvard, and semicha from RIETS. He lectures and writes widely on Jewish education as well as Modern Jewish History.

Visit his school's website: http://www.mhafyos.org
Follow him on Twitter: @gperl

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