The Davidson School and the HUC-JIR School of Education Receive Grant to Renew Jewish Early Childhood Education Leadership Program in Chicago

Photo courtesy CASJE; eJP archives

The William Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education of The Jewish Theological Seminary, in partnership with the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion School of Education, will launch a second Chicago-based cohort of the Jewish Early Childhood Education Leadership Institute (JECELI) with renewed support from The Crown Family. This model program recently graduated a cohort of 17 Jewish early childhood educators. The program develops leadership in programs for young children and their families, which in turn strengthens the Jewish community. The program offers intensive Jewish study and leadership development. Participants will learn how to help children and families find meaning in texts and ritual, create strong professional relationships using concepts from Judaism, and gain tools to build community in their programs and institutions.

The two-year program will begin recruitment this summer and will work closely with other Jewish early childhood education initiatives in the greater Chicago area. The program will also be launched in other cities in coming years.

“Early childhood educators are positioned to be the gatekeepers for meaningful Jewish living, community-weaving, and belonging for young children and their parents. JECELI instills the skill set, Jewish knowledge, and confidence that early childhood Jewish educators need to become leaders. The vision and generosity of The Crown Family will enable JECELI to continue to work with Chicago-based early childhood educators to transform the programs they lead into truly powerful experiences,” says Dr. Miriam Heller Stern, National Director, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion School of Education.