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Gaining Perspective with Rabbi Aaron Levitt


“If we can teach our children to understand perspectives other than their own, hopefully, we’ll raise young adults who can treat others with respect, to build a society of dignity and kindness,” Rabbi Aaron Levitt said.

(Courtesy of Rabbi Aaron Levitt)

Levitt, 47, is lighting the way for the next generation as the executive director of Jewish Educational Services for The Associated: Jewish Federation of Baltimore.

His love of learning has led him to many roles. He has served as a Judaic studies principal in Texas, a youth rabbi at Kemp Mill Synagogue in Silver Spring, a teacher and Toshba department chair at Katz Hillel Day School of Boca Raton, Fla., a program director at Boca Raton Kollel and an assistant rabbi at Boca Raton Synagogue.

Not only is Levitt a lifelong teacher, but he’s also a lifelong student.

“I’ve never stopped learning,” Levitt said. “A core part of who I am is learning. It’s central to my identity.”

He is currently a doctoral student studying educational leadership at Yeshiva University. The focus of his dissertation is how to teach children perspective taking through Judaic studies.

Perspective taking, Levitt explained, is the ability to understand how another person might be thinking or feeling. Through the practice of perspective taking, students can better understand where the other person is coming from and in turn have a more productive exchange of ideas as they get older.

Being able to disagree respectfully is a central part of Jewish learning, Levitt said.

Levitt has taught the importance of perspective taking to many over the years, but most importantly, he’s taught it to his own children. Levitt and his wife, Elisheva Levitt, have three children: Shira, Rina and Simcha.

His oldest graduated college and made aliyah. His other two children are twins and are now in high school.

“As a family, we regularly have conversations where we really try to listen to each other, especially at the Shabbat table,” Levitt said. “Every Friday night, we read a Jewish story, and we discuss it. Everyone shares how it makes them feel and what they thought about it. I want my children to grow up respectful of others’ opinions,”

Disagreeing and working through the conflict together can strengthen relationships and teach both sides something new, if participants are willing to take the other person’s perspective, Levitt said.

“If you care to learn the values behind what [other people] are sharing, you can always learn something,” Levitt said.

For Levitt, learning is always the goal. As the executive director of JES, Levitt works with his team to promote and support Jewish education across Baltimore in all its forms.

This includes supporting educators, students and parents with the gamut of services JES offers for Jewish day schools, congregational schools, Jewish preschools and individuals. For Levitt, there’s no better job.

“It’s really special to come to work every day and know that you’re making an impact on so many individuals,” Levitt said.

His passion for Jewish education was fostered by his own parents and through the Jewish schools he attended. Now, through his work with JES, he has the chance to share his passion with hundreds of students every day.

“This community here in Baltimore really values Jewish education,” Levitt said. “We believe in the Jewish community that education is one of the biggest values. Everyone has God-given talents and abilities waiting to be uncovered.”

Levitt also shares insights and promotes discussion through his blog, Chinuch Perspectives, where he posts reflections on the world of Jewish education. This year Levitt’s blog has covered topics like learning from mistakes and sustainability in Jewish education. The blog can be accessed at

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