Rabbi Mordechai Wecker
Stern Hebrew High School, Philadelphia, PA
May 18, 2007
Rabbi Wecker is presently the Head of School at Stern Hebrew High School, a modern orthodox Jewish high school in Philadelphia. Born in Silver Spring, Maryland, Rabbi Mordechai Wecker graduated from the Hebrew Academy of Greater Washington and Yeshiva High School in Silver Spring. He studied for many years under the guidance of HaRav Henach Leibowitz at Yeshivas Rabbenu Yisroel Meir HaCohen (Chofetz Chaim Yeshiva) in New York and Israel and HaRav Moshe Feinstein zt”l at Mesivta Tifereth Jerusalem in New York. He received Bachelor of Talmud degrees in both rabbinic literature and Jewish jurisprudence from HaRav Leibowitz and later was awarded semicha Yoreh Yoreh Yadin Yadin from HaRav Feinstein. Rabbi Wecker received a Masters of Education with a concentration in School Administration from Cambridge College in Cambridge, Massachusetts in August 2006.
Rabbi Wecker says that he was inspired to enter the rabbinate by "two sisters, second cousins of my father. Their first names were Golda and Deborah, respectively. I was never quite sure of their last name. They had the misfortune of living in Eastern Europe during the Second World War. The two sisters were brutally murdered by the Nazis. These two women were successful teachers in a Jewish religious school in Poland. Yet their example has served as an inspiration for me, and will undoubtedly continue to do so for the rest of my life. Indeed, I hope to pass on to others this precious legacy of devotion to God, determination to perpetuate our Jewish faith, concern and empathy for all of humanity, and a passion to educate, inspire and model appropriate behaviors for the next generation."
In 1985, Rabbi Wecker joined the faculty of the Maimonides School in Boston. There, he developed close working relationships with the principals and the governing educational board and eventually served for many years in various senior administrative positions, including, most recently, Principal of Jewish Studies. He was responsible for the haskafic oversight of the middle/high school. Rabbi Wecker was responsible for innovating the first advanced Talmud class for juniors and seniors as well as the first remedial Talmud class for freshmen. He also developed programs to give the middle school a unique curriculum and identity. Rabbi Wecker worked closely with the faculty to design interdisciplinary projects and curricula. He worked with the Judaic Studies faculty to set standards in the various Limudei Kodesh tracks. Rabbi Wecker also oversaw the school’s Learning Center and the school psychologist and collaborated with the grade deans and middle school coordinator. In 2001, he was honored by the Maimonides School with the Pillar of Maimonides Award. In addition, he served as rav of a local Shabbos minyan and gave an advanced weekly shiur to adults.
Rabbi Wecker takes special delight in the warm personal relationships he develops with his talmidim, saying that "I am most proud of the fact that many of my students keep in touch with me long after graduation from high school."
Rabbi Wecker is married to Chana (nee Bayuk). Together, they have 7 children.