Erica Goldman

On teaching Israeli dance at camp

Erica Goldman Erica Goldman, MA/MBA’16

"So much of Jewish values, Israeli history, Judaism and our rich cultural heritage can be transmitted and understood via the vehicle of Israeli dance,” says current 2nd-year student, Erica Goldman MA/MBA’16, director of Ma'agal, a new initiative that helps train Jewish camp staff to “take their Israeli dance programs to the next level.”

“Add to that the general joy of dance, of listening to music, the emotional experience to be had by way of the arts, and the sheer healthiness of physical activity, and it's clear Israeli dance can have a profound and positive impact on so many aspects of a camper's experience.”

Erica has taught Israeli dance on four continents for more than a decade. Her first experience with Israeli dance was as a child alongside her father. “I can't remember a time we didn't dance,” she says. Dance became a joy-filled hobby for Erica early in her life, but not something she ever considered following as a career."

“When I got a call asking if I was interested in the dance director position at Camp Alonim, I realized I had a chance to spread the joy of what I loved doing and turn my avocation into a vocation.”

At that time, Camp Alonim was a part of the Brandeis-Bardin Institute and there, Erica learned Shlomo Bardin's concept of “First we touch, then we teach,” a pedagogical approach she strongly believes in and practices. “The learning process needs to be fun but it also needs to be substantive,” she says.

As Erica gained more experience working in the Jewish community she also “became more intentional about training others.” “[Before coming to Hornstein,] I was sort of running a business on my own without knowing anything about business,” she says. “The MBA side [of the Hornstein-Heller degree] is 100 percent what I need” to manage the business side of things.

“The Jewish leadership side has given me the language and context I need to communicate my ideas effectively.”

For Erica, the Hornstein Program “magically exists at the intersection” of all her ambitions to become more intentional in her career-path as an educator.

Watch video of Erica Goldman teaching Israeli dancing at Camp Alonim in California and other locations.

In Her Own Words: An Interview with Erica Goldman

This interview with Erica was published in the Hornstein Program's Impact Newsletter, September 2015. If you would like to quote any part of this conversation, please attribute content to the Hornstein Jewish Professional Leadership Program at Brandeis University and link to this page. All rights reserved.

“...Israeli dance can absolutely be an embodiment of our prayers, conversations, emotions, expressions of gratitude, hopes and dreams. My predecessor at Camp Alonim, Dani Dassa, speaks of Israeli dance as "Judaism through the metatarsals."”

Erica Goldman, MA/MBA’16