Head of School
Rabbi Abraham Unger, Ph.D.
Rabbi Abraham Unger, Ph.D., is the founder and leader of Tikvah’s Millstone Scholars program and the founding head of school of Emet Classical Academy. Rabbi Unger possesses a unique background in the world of education, having served as a tenured university professor, a research scholar, a Hebrew school principal, a campus rabbi, a middle school teacher, and the creator of various Jewish youth and outreach programs.
Rabbi Unger was formerly a Professor at Wagner College in urban policy and public administration, where he also served as the campus Hillel Rabbi and established the Chai Society. He has held senior research appointments at NYU and Fordham University and is the author of three peer reviewed books and numerous articles.
Prior to completing his Ph.D., Rabbi Unger was Executive Director of the American Friends of Rambam Medical Center. He founded the Mosaic Colony for the Arts, a non-profit education organization which trained Jewish students in the arts. He received his Ph.D. in political science from Fordham University and his certificate of Rabbinical ordination from Telz-Stone Kollel in Israel. Rabbi Unger was deeply influenced by his undergraduate experience at the Manhattan School of Music and its conservatory model of education.
In shaping Emet Classical Academy, he will draw upon this wide range of experiences—all shaping his belief in the importance of preparing young Jews for excellence in every arena of human life.
In 2020, Hanna Solomon started a NYC micro-school and quickly became a firm believer in the virtues of the classical model of education. As a mother and entrepreneur, she saw moral confusion and pedagogical chaos in the education sector and became determined to find new solutions for the next generation.
Hanna’s entrepreneurial and business acumen arises from more than two decades of experience in marketing, PR, licensing, branding, and merchandising in the fashion, music, and entertainment markets. In 2007, she founded a merchandise/licensing business and lifestyle brand, forging long-term deals with all of the major music publishing companies such as Sony, Universal, Warner Bros. The products were distributed at major retailers such as Bloomingdale’s, Urban Outfitters, Target, Kay Jewelers, PetSmart, Macy’s and more. She established partnerships with Penske Media Corp, The Gap, Wrangler Jeans and Hard Rock Café. With partner Sheryl Crow, she launched a brand on the Home Shopping Network. In 2017, Hanna sold her company, enabling her to develop her micro-school three years later.
Hanna is also a singer-songwriter and wrote and recorded an album with legendary producer Jack Douglas. She graduated from Yeshiva University and attended Southern Methodist University’s Cox School of Business. She holds a teaching degree from the Israel Ministry of Education.
Dr. Ruth WisseLiterature and HumanitiesProfessor Wisse is one of America’s greatest teachers of modern Jewish and American literature. A longtime professor at Harvard University and distinguished senior fellow at Tikvah, her many books include Jews and Power, The Modern Jewish Canon, and Free as a Jew, and she has produced video courses on George Eliot, Sholem Aleichem, and the greatest Jewish intellectuals of the 20th century. She will advise Emet on our literature and humanities curriculum, and her vision of the confident and courageous Jew will permeate every aspect of our school culture.
Walter Russell MeadHistory and Civic LeadershipWalter Russell Mead is a weekly columnist for the Wall Street Journal, senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, and professor of the humanities at Bard College. One of the most influential intellectuals on the world stage, he has written widely about the history of Western civilization, the strategic challenges facing America, and the meaning of Israel. A deep believer in classical education, he will advise Emet on our history curriculum and on our program to encourage lives of civic responsibility and public service.
Dr. Rachel FishJewish History and ZionismDr. Fish is the co-founder of Boundless Israel, an innovative effort to promote Israel education and combat the varieties of Jew-hatred around the world. She was previously the Executive Director of the Foundation to Combat Anti-Semitism and Executive Director of the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies at Brandeis University. One of the most innovative Zionist educators in the world, she will advise Emet on every aspect of teaching Jewish history and inspiring young Jews with a deep connection to modern Israel.
Rabbi Dr. Mitchell RocklinJewish Classical EducationRabbi Rocklin is the Academic Director and Dean of the Lobel Center for Jewish Classical Education and the Director of the Jewish Classical Education Concentration at the University of Dallas. His prior work in Jewish schools was featured in the Wall Street Journal. He received his Ph.D. in history from the CUNY Graduate Center, held postdoctoral fellowships at Princeton University and Yeshiva University, and taught at both Princeton and Hunter College. He is an Army National Guard chaplain with the rank of Major. Rabbi Rocklin will advise Emet on how to integrate classical education into a Jewish setting.
Dr. Emil PitkinMathematics and StatisticsDr. Pitkin is a statistician and entrepreneur with a deep appreciation for Jewish and Western civilization. He received his BA in Mathematics from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in Statistics from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the founder of GovPredict and currently on the faculty at Wharton as a professor of statistics. He will advise Emet on developing our advanced mathematics curriculum, with a focus on how mathematics helps us analyze the great challenges of the modern age and awakens us to the wonders of the natural world.
Dr. Leon KassHebrew Bible and Political PhilosophyDr. Kass is a master teacher of the enduring human questions, drawing upon the greatest works of philosophy, literature, and the Hebrew Bible. A longtime professor at the University of Chicago and now dean of faculty at Shalem College in Israel, Dr. Kass was also trained in medicine and biochemistry and formerly served as chairman of the President’s Council on Bioethics. He is the author of magisterial commentaries on Genesis, Exodus, and Ruth, and he will advise Emet on our curriculum on the Hebrew Bible and Jewish Philosophy.
Dr. Asya SigelmanGreek and LatinDr. Sigelman is a professor of Greek and Latin Studies at Bryn Mawr College and one of America’s most eloquent defenders of the classical education tradition. She is the visionary, founder, and head of school at Main Line Classical Academy, a multi-faith school near Philadelphia. She holds a Ph.D. in Classical Studies from Brown University and previously taught classical languages at The Wheeler School. She will advise Emet on every aspect of our Greek and Latin program and more broadly the importance of integrating classical studies into a Jewish school.
Dr. Wilfred McClayAmerican HistoryDr. McClay is one of America’s leading historians and public intellectuals and author of Land of Hope, a monumental new history of America. Dr. McClay is currently a university professor at Hillsdale College, where he teaches across their core curriculum in Western and American civilization. He is a former president of the Philadelphia Society, a member of the Society of Scholars at the James Madison Program in American Ideals & Institutions at Princeton University, and the recipient of the 2022 Bradley Prize. He will advise Emet on our American history program and the place of history in general in shaping the moral and intellectual imagination.
Jake GreenspanAncient Civilization and Modern TechnologyJake Greenspan is CEO of Skolay, a startup which connects authors & readers for 1:1 conversations. He was formerly the recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship to Greece, a classics and humanities teacher in various Tikvah programs, and a researcher on the aims of liberal learning with support from Peter Thiel. He was a Fundamentals major at the University of Chicago and now leads an AI company called Cuneiform Labs. He will advise Emet on the connections between ancient civilization and modern technology and will help us develop our program on entrepreneurship and innovation.
Dr. Carol McNamaraClassical EducationDr. McNamara is the Director of the Great Hearts Institute for Classical Education, one of the leading networks of K-12 classical schools in the world. She is an experienced founder of myriad academic start-ups and long-time professor of political science and political philosophy. She previously served as senior director for the Center for Constitutional Design at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law and associate director for public programs for the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership at Arizona State University. She has a deep interest in American civic education, and she will advise Emet on best practices in the field of classical education and pedagogy.