Inaugural Prize Recognizes Promising Jewish Educators

Five promising Jewish educators from across the country are the first-ever recipients of The Pomegranate Prize, established by The Covenant Foundation to honor and nurture exceptional, emerging professionals.
Recipients, representing a range of educational settings and approaches, are: Rabbi Marc Baker, Head of School at Gann Academy – The New Jewish High School of Greater Boston; Robert Beiser, Campus/JConnect Repair the World Director at Hillel at the University of Washington in Seattle; Anna Hartman, Director of Early Childhood Education at Greenfield Hebrew Academy in Atlanta; Gilah Kletenik, Congregational Scholar at Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun in New York; and, Rabbi Shira Koch Epstein, Associate Rabbi at Congregation Beth Elohim in Brooklyn, NY.

The Foundation announced the establishment of the new prize – and the inaugural recipients – at its annual award ceremony here during the General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America.

“We know that encouragement early on in a person’s career can make all the difference in their success,” said philanthropist Lester Crown, as he introduced the Pomegranate Award and its first recipients to hundreds of Jewish lay, communal and educational leaders gathered at the event. “Our goal with this new Prize is to provide the means for these already remarkable educators to further develop their skills, fulfill a dream or two, and have the chance to get to know others who, like themselves, are bringing fresh new ideas and abundant energy to the field of Jewish education.”

This new Prize, recognizing passionate, emerging leaders in Jewish education, goes to those in the field for 10 years or less.

It is the intention of The Covenant Foundation to create a growing network of Pomegranate Award recipients and provide a laboratory and platform for them as they immerse themselves in foundation-supported professional development and leadership programs, peer-to-peer gatherings, mentorships and other educator initiatives. Each recipient will receive a $15,000 fund to fuel educational projects and their development as change agents in their communities and in Jewish education.

The Covenant Foundation is a program of the Crown Family Foundation and the Jewish Education Service of North America (JESNA).