Rabbi Dov Emerson, 35
Rabbi Dov Emerson still vividly remembers the day his father brought home Apple’s first-ever Macintosh, and his family gathered around, fascinated to watch “the arrow of the mouse move on an eight-inch screen.”
From that day on, Emerson, who grew up in Memphis, was hooked: as a teen “doing the dial-up thing on AOL,” he loved being able to communicate “with people all over the place.”
So when in 2001, he began teaching Judaic studies at the DRS Yeshiva High School for Boys (an arm of the Hebrew Academy of Long Beach), it was “a natural thing for me in the classroom to implement technology that was of interest to me.”
Now assistant principal, Rabbi Emerson helps teachers integrate tech tools — including SmartBoards, mobile phones and web services designed to increase student collaboration — into their work. He also created The DRS Address, a multimedia newsletter for students, parents, faculty, prospective students and alumni.
His influence extends far beyond the school however: he moderates YU 2.0, an online community for Jewish educators, and recently helped launch #JEDCHAT, a weekly Twitter chat for Jewish educators. Through Twitter, he has also connected with secular educators, developing a “personal learning network” of professionals who share ideas and advice.
Last year, Rabbi Emerson, who also has a degree from Yeshiva University’s Azrieli Graduate School of Education, was one of 12 Jewish day school educators from around the country that the Avi Chai Foundation sent to the International Society for Technology in Education conference.
Recently, he helped lead DRS to a second-place victory in the MSG Varsity School Spirit Mania contest, mobilizing students, parents and alumni to vote online. “What’s so cool is we beat schools much larger than us, including Lawrence High School, which is down the street from us,” he said.
He also has used Twitter to encourage shy students to share their ideas. “There are kids who are hard to talk to, but they open up on Twitter and you can get to know them that way,” he said.
Rabbi Emerson lives in Woodmere, L.I., with his wife who works at the Orthodox Union and their five children, ranging in age from two months to 11 years.
Walker, photographer in the city: Rabbi Emerson is an avid amateur photographer and a big fan of the “modern history of New York City.” On vacations, he loves walking around the city, visiting museums and exploring different neighborhoods.