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Jen Halpern, Preschool Director & Director of Young Family Engagement

Jen Halpern has been an educator for more than two decades. She has taught and led programming for students of all ages: preschoolers, tweens, teens, and adults.

In many ways, joining Agudas Achim as the preschool director in 2016 was like returning home for Jen. She joined the synagogue while completing her undergraduate degree at George Mason University and began teaching in the religious school soon after. Later, she met her husband, Hugh, during Shabbat services when he asked, “Can I borrow that chumash?” They were married in the chapel in 1998.

Beginning her career while still in college, Jen worked at George Mason University Child Development Center and later at Keshet Child Development Center, the Agudas Achim preschool co-sponsored with Temple Beth El. After completing her master's degree in education at Marymount University, she began teaching third grade in Arlington Public Schools.

When Jen returned to work following the birth of her son, Ari, she worked in a variety of positions at Agudas Achim, including teaching in the religious school, planning Purim programming, and leading Gan Shabbat. In 2009, Jen joined the faculty of Gesher Jewish Day School where she taught fourth and fifth grade. She also served as the interim elementary school director during the 2013-2014 school year and the curriculum coordinator from 2013-2016.

In addition to serving as preschool director, Jen has been the director of young family engagement at Agudas Achim since 2020. Since 2018, she has been a mikvah guide and educator at the Adas Israel Community Mikvah in Washington, DC. In 2022, her first children's book was published. Called The Stars Will Be My Nightlight: A Sukkot Story, it is based on an experience she shared with her son when he was young. Jen expects to graduate from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem with a master's degree in Jewish education in the spring of 2023.

During her career, Jen has sought to bring new and innovative programming to each environment where she has taught. She led Rosh Chodesh: It’s a Girl Thing! for teenage girls at Agudas Achim. She received a grant from Legacy Heritage Fund to integrate Jewish-American history into the social studies curriculum at Gesher. More recently, she has brought a STEAM lab, an Ivrit program, and Outdoor Magic to the preschool.

Jen lives in Alexandria with her family. She is proud to be part of the warm and welcoming community that is Agudas Achim Congregation.

Click here to contact Jen.

Sun, October 2 2022 7 Tishrei 5783