The Jewish Educational Center has appointed Adina Abramov as its chief marketing officer.
Her hiring represents a new direction for the 75-year-old cluster of Orthodox synagogues and schools in Elizabeth/Hillside, which includes the Yeshiva of Elizabeth elementary school, Rav Teitz Mesivta Academy Boys’ High, and Bruriah High School for Girls.
While the school has shied away from traditional marketing and public relations, under the guidance of associate dean Rabbi Eliyahu Teitz — the grandson of the founder, Rabbi Pinchas Teitz, and son of current dean Rabbi Elazar Teitz — it has increasingly sought enrollment from communities beyond its local borders.
Eliyahu Teitz said the board of trustees voted in favor of hiring of a senior marketing professional after “a thoughtful and broad strategic planning process. We can’t rest on our laurels any more. Today there are more schools from which to choose and they are highly specialized.
“Students will travel for an excellent education, and we want everyone to know about our extraordinary program and the plethora of outstanding achievements of our students.”
Abramov, who settled in Elizabeth after immigrating from Canada with her family in 2006, was director of marketing and communications for the Jewish Federation of Central New Jersey until the staff cuts that followed its merger with United Jewish Communities of MetroWest NJ this past summer. She had worked in print, radio, and television, as a writer, on-air personality, and news director before becoming director of marketing and PR for Methodigm Communications, the multi-media company she and her husband own.
Steve Karp, the JEC’s executive director, said of Abramov, “I had the pleasure of working with her on various committees during her time with federation and I know that her expertise, professionalism, and sense of passion for the Jewish community will add tremendous value to our organization.”
Abramov and her husband, Uri, have two children who attend the JEC, Penina, in 11th grade at Bruriah, and Netanel, in eighth grade at RTMA Middle School. Abramov said they have thrived at those schools — “academically, socially, and spiritually.”
“What other institution can boast not one but multiple U.S. ambassadors, Rhodes Scholars, and international awards?” she said. “Our PR efforts ought to reflect the prestige the school deserves. There is a growing appreciation for high quality and a real paradigm shift taking root. It’s my job to help make that happen — and make sure that everyone knows about it.”
She said her new post draws on different aspects of her personal and professional background. As the eldest of four children who lost their mother to breast cancer at age 40, at 16 she became the “mother of the house.” More recently, she and her husband Uri have both faced severe health problems.
“Perhaps it was through those experiences that I came to appreciate the notion of living life to the fullest, appreciating every moment, and never taking things too seriously. I feel I now have a more robust ability to empathize with other people’s experiences and the challenges they face — which I think is essential in this position.”
Abramov grew up in Toronto, attending Jewish day school. At York University in Toronto, she majored in political science with a focus on the Middle East, and later attended the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York City. She spent a total of seven years in Israel, earned a diploma in pedagogy from Machon Rivkin in Jerusalem, and became fluent in Hebrew. She also developed an understanding of Arabic.
“I have a personal passion for the advancement of Jewish identity and a strong sense of Jewish peoplehood,” she said. She has continued her own Judaic studies, and describes that as central to her well-being, and a key aspect of her sense of kinship with the center. “The JEC embraces a path of modern Torah Judaism that encourages the application of Torah ethics and principles to our everyday lives,” said Abramov. “That is a message I support and that is how I’m raising my own family.”