Jewish History department welcomes new teacher


Photo courtesy of Freed Spirit

Hailing from Baltimore, Md., Dr. Anna Band joined the high school faculty this fall.

Lena Nadaner, Features Editor

This year, the Jewish History department welcomed Dr. Anna Band, who has jumped right into her new role as a high school teacher for Modern Jewish History, History of Modern Israel and History of Arab Israeli Conflict. 

Band grew up in Baltimore and went to a Jewish day school from kindergarten until eighth grade. She then studied history and Jewish studies at Oberlin College, which she described as the place where she discovered her passion for Jewish History

“I went to college already with an interest in Jewish history, and Oberlin was a place where I was able to really explore that interest,” Band said. “I’ve always been interested in Jewish history my entire life. I’ve been interested in Jewish identity, Jewish family history [and] the history of my own family.” 

After she graduated Oberlin in 2013, Band got a Ph.D. in Jewish History from the University of Chicago in 2022, specializing in Modern Jewish History. While pursuing her own studies, she taught Jewish History courses at the university for a few years. When she saw a job opening at CESJDS, Band quickly applied.

Outside of teaching, Band has a one-year-old daughter and enjoys traveling. Her favorite travel destination is Berlin, Germany. 

One of the most meaningful trips she took was with her Chicago grandmother, who is a Holocaust survivor. They went on a trip together to Vienna, Austria, where Band saw her family’s graves and realized that she wanted to pursue Jewish History professionally.  She hopes to share that kind of personal experience with her students.

Band said she has transitioned smoothly from teaching college students to high school students because her students have been just as engaged and respectful as her college students were. 

“Even though it’s only been two weeks, I feel like I’ve found my people with this Jewish history department,” Band said. “It is just so exciting that I’m in a place where Jewish history is respected enough to have its own department.” 

Jewish History department chair Dr. Dan Rosenthal is excited to teach alongside Band, especially with her wide range of knowledge. For example, she can speak Hebrew, Yiddish, German and Spanish. 

“We’re really excited to have Dr. Band join the Jewish history department. She really brings a wealth of knowledge,” Rosenthal said. “She brings kind of fresh eyes to the position and … she’s allowing us to have an opportunity to rethink how we do things and to make the curriculum better.” 

Band is looking forward to diving deeper into the content and helping students connect to their own Jewish identity. 

“I want students to really come to understand how did we get here today as Jews and what can Jewish history tell us about Jewish society? And how can that inform the Jewish present? I’m really looking forward to those conversations with students,” Band said. 

Band has always wanted to teach high school students, and envisions herself teaching for the rest of her career. 

“… My foremost goal here is that I really want my students to love Jewish history, and I want them to be lifelong learners of Jewish history, not just in this course,” Band said. “But wherever they go in life, I want them to always be interested in questioning their own identities and their own place in the world through a historical perspective.”