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Mr. David Passman Celebrates the Culmination of 25 Years at FYHS

"When anybody looks back at their teachers, the ones that stand out were the ones that loved teaching.”

As the academic year comes to a close, these words from long-time FYHS teacher Mr. David Passman encapsulate the passion and dedication he has brought to his students for the past 25 years. As he retires this year, we look back on and celebrate the profound impact he has had on generations of students and FYHS as a whole.

Mr. Passman, born and raised in the Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago, found his way to teaching at FYHS through an unexpected series of events. One day at work, Mr. Passman’s wife Barbara a”h, a social worker at the University of Chicago hospitals, was walking down a corridor when she noticed Rabbi Hirsch Isenberg’s name on one of the hospital rooms. As a former student of his, even though she wasn’t assigned to his case, she took the time to pay him a visit. While she was there, Rabbi Isenberg’s son, Rabbi Dr. Jerold Isenberg, then HTC Chancellor, was also present. Reflecting on this pivotal moment in his career, Mr. Passman recalls, "My wife came home that day and said, ‘This is where you should be teaching,’ and she made it happen. That was 25 years ago."

Preceding his FYHS teaching career, Mr. Passman practiced law for 27 years, after a brief experience teaching in a public school. His passion for education was defined there during a job supervising recess at that public school, where he realized how much he loved seeing children thrive and decided he could make a career out of it. Over the years, he has taught a wide range of subjects, primarily within the social studies realm, including history, economics, government, and current events. When interviewing Mr. Passman, he summed it up by quoting a line from an old Peanuts cartoon: "One of the characters said, 'I'm at my best in subjects where the answers are mostly a matter of opinion.'" This is the philosophy that guided him in any subject he chose to teach.

Mr. Passman fondly recalls the challenging AP courses he taught, particularly AP U.S. History, which he began teaching when the events of 9/11 unfolded. Over the course of his time at FYHS, he has also taught AP Human Geography, AP Microeconomics, and AP English Language and Composition, AP United States Government and Politics and AP Comparative Government and Politics. He has taught multiple generations, noting with pride, "I've gotten to teach students and have come to find out that I taught their parents as well!"

“Mr. Passman is a brilliant educator who not only conveys important information to his students but encourages them to share their ideas and think for themselves,” said HTC CEO Rabbi Schuman. “He is the consummate professional who deeply cares about his students and their success far beyond the classroom.”

Along with the bittersweetness of leaving behind the warm Yeshiva community and his fellow talented educators, the thing Mr. Passman will cherish the most is seeing students grasp abstract concepts, a testament to his skill and passion as a teacher. His one message for his students: "Nothing worth doing is easy. If you're going to achieve and you're going to improve, work hard. It's worth it."

As Mr. Passman embarks on a new chapter, we celebrate his dedicated career and his contributions to the lives of countless students. We wish him the best of luck in all his future endeavors!

Mr. Passman can be reached at


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