Hi, thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. When did you attend Hillel Academy? In the mid 1990s.
Share a favorite memory or two with our readers? I remember enacting a scene from Franz Kafka's "The Metamorphosis" in Mr. Freedman's class. It was hysterical. Mischa Gelman played the beetle and he hid under the desk like a bug.
What organizations are you currently involved in? I founded and direct an organization for the arts and literature, called J.A.C.K.: Jewish Advocacy for Culture and Knowledge. It is growing very quickly. Someday we hope to turn it into a non-profit organization. Read more by clicking HERE.
How do you earn a living? I teach Literature and Creative Writing at Touro College.
How did Hillel Academy prepare you for the future? I had a great English teacher named Mr. Freedman who really got me into literature. I also learned a lot of important aspects of Jewish life. But when I came to Hillel, the best thing was how accepting everyone was. This gave me new found confidence, which I needed to become the man I have become.
Share some information about the November family. I have a great family. My brother Josh, sister Deena, and myself are all professors of writing and we have had books of poetry published.
What do you do in your free time? I promote my literary events, watch movies, and write fiction and poetry.
Who was your first Hillel teacher? Rabbi Langsam.
What was your favorite class? English.
Did you have a favorite teacher? Who was it and why? Mr. Freedman was a great English teacher; he really inspired us. He was the best English teacher at Hillel when I was there.
Most interesting person in your contacts? Vijay Sheshadri , who won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for poetry, for his book entitled, 3 Sections. He was my teacher when I got my MFA at Sarah Lawrence College.
Share something with our students you wish someone had told you when you were in school? Enjoy being young while you are young. Don't rush through college when you get there. Remember, as Viktor Frankl professed, that finding meaning is more important and useful than happiness.
Anything else you would like to add? Well, when I was a senior, I was captain of the Hillel basketball team (Jake Sacks, Robert Itskowitz, Ilya Bratman, Steve Rabinovich, Mischa Gelman), which lost in the championship by one point.
Thank you very much!