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Friday, October 24, 2014
Celebrating women’s contributions
(Page 2 of 4)
Jeffrey Bessen/Herald
Working in education has generated many conversations and memories for daughter Sharona Arbeit, left, and mother Marcelle Lowell.
Lowell, 87, grew up in Brooklyn, graduated from Brooklyn College and got married. “I was interested in a law degree, teaching was a matter of convenience,” she said with some regret.
Teaching at yeshivas in Borough Park and Queens prior to having children and then subbing later on at the schools her kids attended, Lowell and her husband, Harold, an accountant, who died nearly a decade ago, impressed upon their two children the need for education.
Arbeit credits her family, and her mother in particular, for having a creative gene that helps her create educational programs. She points to her younger sister, Sandy, though not a professional educator, Arbeit said her sibling can teach anyone to play mah jong. “She’s very talented, very creative,” Lowell said about her eldest daughter.

Changing career paths
Arbeit, who grew up in Queens and on Long Island, was 19 and attending New York University as a drama and communications major, that summer was she worked as a drama counselor and met her husband, Roy. Following their marriage and prior to having their three children, who are now out of the house, Arbeit worked in advertising and marketing. She and Roy have been married for nearly 39 years and have lived in Woodmere for 20.
She began teaching traditions and culture at Young Israel of Forest Hills part-time in 1985. She helped develop the Judaic Studies curriculum and gained confidence and knowledge through the help of a mentor. “That’s how I got into curriculum development,” Arbeit said. “Integrating curriculum is like putting a puzzle together, ELA, math, social studies and science; all those skills together in one seamless lesson, I love being able to do that.”
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