URJ Kutz Camp Continues To Thrive As Camp Celebrates 50 Years over July 4th Weekend

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URJ Kutz Camp, located in Warwick, New York, is the summer home to NFTY, the Reform Jewish Youth Movement and progressive Jewish teens worldwide. When Hattie and Milton Kutz gifted $100,000 of their estate toward the creation of a Reform Movement leadership training summer program for teens, the impact of their vision likely could not have been imagined. … [Read more...]

The Head of School Conundrum: A 21st Century Leadership Challenge

By Dr. Chaim Y. Botwinick Over the past several decades there have been a plethora of articles, papers and research regarding the new and evolving role of the Head of School as “instructional leader.” This reality takes place against an ever expanding landscape of schools which are faced with the difficult and often perplexing challenge of identifying, recruiting and retaining the “best and the brightest” talent to “lead” their schools into the 21st century. In 2010, an article in Kappa Magazine, entitled "New Thinking about Instructional Leadership," authors Eileen Horng and Susanna Loeb posited that “schools that improve student achievement are more likely to have principals who are strong organizational managers than are schools with principals who spend more of their time observing … [Read more...]

Can On-the-Job Training Adequately Prepare Jewish Leadership?

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By Daniel Infeld Close to nine years ago, I began my career as a Jewish educator the way many do, by packing my bags for a summer as a camp counselor. I distinctly remember being astounded that strangers would trust me - a high-school graduate with barely five days of on-site training - with the physical, emotional, and spiritual health of their children. Fast forward five summers, and I found myself in a similar situation. I was a newly-minted college graduate starting my first full-time job at a national Jewish organization, and I, with no meaningful classroom teaching experience to speak of, was entrusted to lead a network of educators using the organization’s curricular materials, to support these educators (many of whom were much more senior than I was), and to help them adapt these … [Read more...]

Empowerment and Impact: SF Federation’s Jewish Women’s Fund

By Julie Levine The gap between San Francisco's wealthy residents and its poor ones is growing faster than in any other city in the nation, according to a Brookings Institution 2014 study. *** My Jewish values have always guided me throughout my life - taking care of others, giving help to those in need, tzedakah, social justice, and a commitment to Jewish tradition, study and engagement. I strive to raise my kids with an understanding and deep connection to these Jewish values. I want them to make the world a better place not because it’s a good thing to do but rather because it’s their responsibility. I want them to treat people fairly, honestly, and as equals. But, it’s become increasingly challenging for me to teach my kids about empathy, compassion, and equality when the gap between … [Read more...]

Birthright Israel Foundation to Launch Communications Platform for Alumni

Birthright Foundation

The Birthright Israel Foundation’s Board of Directors has approved a post-trip engagement plan that focuses on the creation of a seamless communications platform featuring curated content for participants following their Taglit-Birthright Israel trip. The platform's "heart" will feature a marketplace of ongoing connections and opportunities. The Platform will serve as an online portal of programs and organizations where Taglit-Birthright Israel alumni can continue their exploration of Jewish identity, peoplehood, and the connections to Israel they focused on during their Taglit-Birthright Israel trip. The plan works in layers. Taglit-Birthright Israel and the Birthright Israel Foundation will provide a bridge to recent participants between Israel and their re-entry to home, campus and … [Read more...]

When an Ideology Requires a Name Change

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We wanted to adopt a name that reflected our approach to Jewish life, a name that reflects our vision and mission, one that embraces the far reaches of the Jewish community. By Rabbi Kerry M. Olitzky The Jewish Outreach Institute (JOI) was founded over 25 years ago at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY). The organization served to support the academic inquiry of its founder, Dr. Egon Mayer, of blessed memory, a sociologist known for his foundational research into the incipient phenomenon of intermarriage. As its first president and volunteer leader, David Belin, of blessed memory, was cofounder of JOI. As a scholastic endeavor, focused on intermarriage, the organizational name served it well - and continued to do so for many years. Over the years, the operating … [Read more...]

Ethics for Giving Circles

By Ingrid Steinberg On a recent Shabbos afternoon, my family gathered with several other families from our Jewish community, IKAR, to talk about money. Specifically, we were meeting for the last time to talk about what to do with the $3,600 that we had pooled together as part of our Giving Circle. Our meeting was a culmination of a series of monthly gatherings during which we discussed various aspects of Tzedakah and our relationship to it. We had arrived at this last meeting with a fairly long “shortlist” of charitable organizations. Each family had contributed to the shortlist, basing their recommendations on several core values that had emerged from prior discussions. Now we were tasked with narrowing down the list to two or three organizations. At times the discussion became a little … [Read more...]