Dammara Rose Kovnats Hall, 35, Diversity Curriculum Developer


@Dammararose / JewishCocktails

The Jewish Week’s annual 36 Under 36 honors young leaders, entrepreneurs and change-makers who are making a difference in the life of Jewish New York. For the full list of this year’s “36ers,” click here.

What do you do?

I am the head Jewish studies teacher at Rodeph Sholom School where I love teaching the curious students of grades 2-4. I created a curriculum that included an exploration of Jewish identity with attention to issues of diversity and inclusion and how we are all created in the image of God. I was honored to receive the Robert Sherman Young Pioneer’s Award (2021) through the Jewish Education Project. I founded a business, Jewish Cocktails, where I teach mixology classes inspired by the weekly Torah portion, Jewish holidays and history, and which was featured in American Whiskey Magazine (January 2021). I lead and support women through my role as the Person of Colour Belonging Space Facilitator for the organization At the Well, which meets around Rosh Chodesh to engage with Jewish texts and ancient traditions. I am also a SEED (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity) trained facilitator and facilitate bimonthly meetings to explore issues related to inclusion in classrooms, school communities, and society.

How did the pandemic influence your work?

Classroom teaching during the pandemic was a challenge, but also an important opportunity to provide stability, support, consistency and community for my students. I taught in-person all year while simultaneously accommodating some students who joined the classroom virtually from home. Working online with Jewish Cocktails provided me with the opportunity to connect with people in their homes and give them the opportunity to learn, connect, and have fun. The Person of Colour Belonging Space Rosh Chodesh group also took place online, which allowed for participants from all over the United States to attend instead of only those who live locally.

In one sentence, what was your best experience as a Jewish New Yorker?

I love going to the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan for Shavuot. Jews of all affiliations, ages and interests come together to learn, be in community and attempt to stay up all night. It’s very special.

What’s a fun fact about you?

I’ve been riding motorcycles since 2014 and have owned two Hondas and a Harley-Davidson. I also worked as Beyonce’s stand-in for a commercial.

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