Mercaz Conservative Hebrew High School is pleased to announce that beginning in July, Phyllis Binik-Thomas will serve as their new education director. “After a search for someone to continue to serve as an inspiration to our youth, the Mercaz Board is excited to present Phyllis Binik-Thomas as our next Mercaz Director. We are so fortunate that Phyllis has accepted the position; she is a strong Jewish educator and administrator,” stated Yaffa Rubin, the Mercaz board chairperson. Binik-Thomas brings years of experience as a teacher and administrator in religious schools in our community.
Binik-Thomas is already very familiar with Mercaz and has taught here for several years. Currently, she is teaching one of our innovative “Experience Jewish Education through the Arts courses.”
“Phyllis has such an extensive knowledge base that she was always the one I could ask to create a class combining two of our curricular areas. She would never hesitate and would always come up with a creative way to meld the areas into a hands-on class that teens would like to take,” said Dara Wood, the current Mercaz director. The Mercaz Board was very impressed by her passion for our program as well as her thoughts about continuing to “provide our students with the foundational Jewish knowledge and experiences in order to help them create their own Jewish identity to guide them on their life-path.”
Binik-Thomas has been a very active member of the Cincinnati Jewish community as well. She has served as one of the chairs for the Israeli film festivals for many years, has a true love of Israel and has taken many trips there. She is a gifted contemporary artist and creates one-of-a-kind hand painted personalized ketubot with hand calligraphy.
Several years ago Phyllis was nominated by Mercaz and was chosen as a Grinspoon-Steinhardt Award winner. The Grinspoon-Steinhardt Award is for Excellence in Jewish Education and recognizes teachers in communities across North America who have made a commitment to the field of Jewish education. Binik-Thomas’ creativity in creating new curriculum was a key factor in her being chosen as a winner of this important award.
“As a teacher, I have always enjoyed being a resource to teens as they explore what Judaism has to offer, and look forward to my new role as director of Mercaz. Dara Wood has done an incredible job creating an environment which supports students in their work of constructing an authentic Jewish identity. I hope to build on her successes,” Binik-Thomas stated.
Binik-Thomas will continue to serve as the education director at Beth Israel Congregation in Hamilton. Wood and Binik-Thomas will work together this summer to ensure a smooth transition for our Mercaz families.