Campaign In a Box: A Campaign for Religious Schools

By Sherri W. Morr After volunteering to run a session at the recent NewCAJE conference in Los Angeles, my preparatory conversations led me to believe most religious schools do not have budgets for such items as staff conferences or for emergencies like perhaps a teen not being able to attend a teen Shabbaton. In listening to stories, by some educators I almost felt as though some religious schools were considered the unattractive step child. So I put together a concept of paying it forward as a means to raise money for religious school activities. I called it "Campaign in a Box" and distributed the handouts in a small box. Here’s the plan: The school connects with social justice organizations, arranges for students to do mitzvah programs through volunteering. Student Volunteer hours are … [Read more...]

Text Me: Judaism and Technology

By Dr. Jeffrey Schein As the month of Elul approaches and preparations for the High Holidays begin, I often think about the famous Hasidic teaching that one ought to keep a different verse in each of our two pockets: in one “for me was the world created” and the other “I am but dust and ashes.” Presumably this provides the right blend of spiritual humility and moral audacity necessary to begin the new year. Analagously, I’d like to suggest that the contemporary Jewish educator ought to keep on her smart phone two instantly available video-clips as they think about their relationship to technology in the new year. One is for the times when out of business or tiredness she is anchoring her best educational efforts in the technologies of the 20th century: Click then on the link for Russel Neiss’s … [Read more...]

Carpe Diem: Let’s Get the Movement Together

By Edward Frim It happened for Hillel on Campus. It coalesced for Jewish Day Schools. Birthright Israel has done it. It came together for Jewish Camping. Each of these movements has succeeded in attracting and convening partisans and funders, creating excitement, attracting resources and making a huge difference in Jewish life in North America. Perhaps the biggest endeavor in Jewish life in North America has yet to flower in this way. It has great potential to transform Jewish life, and it is poised and ready. The majority of our children continue to receive Jewish education in synagogue and part-time settings and their families continue to be engaged in synagogue or Jewish community life. We have yet to seize on this huge opportunity for our community. Many of our leaders continue to cling … [Read more...]

Experiential Jewish Education: Back to the Future

by Dr. Gil Graff Recently, I attended the annual conference of the Network for Research in Jewish Education, in Los Angeles. There, I participated in a session on principles of experiential education articulated by John Dewey in the first half of the twentieth century as applied to Jewish learning in contemporary settings of Jewish education. The presentation included a look at some project-based learning experiences at schools, anchored in “a Dewey-inspired perspective.” Several weeks later, I came across a piece authored in 1925 by Dr. David de Sola Pool, spiritual leader of the Spanish and Portuguese Congregation, Shearith Israel (in New York), in the pages of The Jewish Forum. Titled “Can Our Jewish Schools Be Made to Teach?” the article encouraged project-based experiential education. … [Read more...]

Cutting-Edge Consumer Marketing Meets the Middle-Income Tuition Crisis Challenge

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by Dr. Harry Bloom and Daniel Perla Is your Jewish day school contemplating middle-income programming? Based on our review of middle-income programs currently in the field, our advice is to design a plan that: Promotes new and retained enrollment Encourages nearly universal submission by middle-income families of household income data Benefits a specific middle-income segment Inspires families to become positive ambassadors for the school to new and existing families You might do well to consider middle-income tuition programs the way consumer marketing companies think about new product launches. Consumer products companies, such as Harry Bloom’s alma mater, Procter & Gamble (he worked there in brand management before joining the day school world), implement a disciplined … [Read more...]

Educators Are Real People Too

by David Bryfman Over the last few weeks, as sirens have filled our collective heads, and passion, compassion, and vitriol consumed our Facebook feeds there has been one tune that has been playing over and over in my head. The Last War (Ha Milchama Hachrona) sung by Yehoram Gaon, whose haunting chorus is: “I promise you - my little girl, that this will be the last war.”[1] Hamilchama Ha'achrona - Yehoram Gaon from David Bryfman on Vimeo. We have sung this song many times before, and can only imagine the countless number of parents who over time have cited lyrics similar to these to their children in many languages in all corners of the world. Once again these lyrics have failed us. My friends and colleagues, some here and some in Israel, have expressed almost every emotion … [Read more...]

The Case for Tzedakah in Jewish Education

by Saul Kaiserman Jewish education is an intrinsically optimistic endeavor. Our work as educators is predicated on the faith that we can inspire our students to personal growth. Further, we believe that by studying the past we can successfully prepare for an unknown future. We believe that compelling questions of value and meaning have shaped our communities since the days of the Bible. Our role as educators is not to pass along definitive answers to these questions, but rather to enable our learners to form reflective communities, guided by the decisions of previous generations while empowered to take responsibility for arriving at their own conclusions. I believe our classrooms and other places of learning must be the “laboratory” for the Jewish future, providing vital and distinctive … [Read more...]

Preparing Visionary Leadership for American Jewish Education

by Robert Chazan and Benjamin M. Jacobs Over the ages, Jews have relied on two kinds of leaders - the managerial and the visionary. The managers consisted of the elite of wealth and material achievement, who could steer Jewish communities through the quotidian difficulties that beset them. They developed their skills in the hurly-burly of daily life, mostly by dint of hard work and business or professional achievement. The visionaries, on the other hand, set the broader course for Jewish communities, orienting them toward objectives compatible with and demanded by core Jewish values. These visionary leaders prepared themselves through extensive study of both Written and Oral Torah and received certification of their expertise in the form of rabbinic ordination. The community depended on both … [Read more...]