Recapitalizing the “J” in Jewish Day Schools

The AVI CHAI Foundation has awarded a grant of $1M to RAVSAK to strengthen Jewish life, learning and leadership among professional and lay leaders at day schools throughout North America. The funds are earmarked for a fourth cohort of Project SuLaM: Study, Leadership, Mentoring, RAVSAK’s premier program for elevating and invigorating Jewish day school education.

SuLaM is a unique, fully funded course of study designed for professional leaders of Jewish day schools who are established educators awaiting a meaningful Judaic studies experience of their own. Open to participants and mentors selected from all North American Jewish day schools, Project SuLaM empowers heads of school and other key administrators to more deeply engage in and advocate for the Jewish life of the schools they lead.

The first three cohorts have engaged 44 educational leaders, working at 38 Jewish day schools. SuLaM consists of a two year course of study with a 10-day immersive educational experience at the beginning of each of two summers. In year one, participants strengthen their Judaic knowledge and comfort level and utilize this new knowledge in their school leadership. In year two, each Sulamite together with a board member and another professional leader, strengthen the Judaic studies curriculum, overt Jewish culture and religious purposefulness of the school through the implementation of an ambitious project. In both years, participants work closely with mentors, attend Shabbatonim, and pursue individual learning projects.

SuLaM participants have intensified their personal Jewish learning, enhanced their leadership skills and transformed the Jewish educational environments at more than one third of the community day schools in North America.

Project SuLaM, developed in collaboration with the AVI CHAI Foundation, is the jewel in the crown of RAVSAK’s educational programs. “Once again, AVI CHAI has given to the field of day school leadership the incredible gift of Project SuLaM,” said Dr. Marc N. Kramer, RAVSAK’s Executive Director. “Through SuLaM, RAVSAK offers schools the vital opportunity to recapitalize the ‘J’ in Jewish education, and we look forward to partnering with other funders and organizations to create similar programs.”

Applications for SuLaM will be available in early January 2011 with the program beginning in July 2011.