People all over the world have commented on how deeply the death of Queen Elizabeth II has moved them, including many who would not consider themselves supporters of the monarchy. At the heart of the reason why the Queen is appreciated in that way is her lifetime of service. People admire and are grateful for an individual who devoted herself in selfless commitment to her community, arguably at high cost to herself and her family.
It is indeed noble to recognize those who dedicate themselves to serve our communities —they are our royalty. At Prizmah, we start this school year with a deep sense of gratitude for all that teachers and school leaders do, day in and day out, with appreciation for their incredible commitment and service. So many dedicate a lifetime to their students, and their teaching resonates through subsequent generations. According to Rambam: “There is no greater honor than that due a teacher, and no greater awe than that due a teacher.”
In a world where constructive discourse is profoundly challenged, we can meaningfully honor our teachers and school leaders by taking steps to interact more constructively and support educators, recognizing their dedication and service. Saying thank you to teachers is not an act that only needed to happen during Covid, it is something they deserve every day.
What sustains educators is the knowledge that, according to the Talmud (Shabbat 119b), “The world only exists because of the breath of schoolchildren.” Our children are our future, and, when they are engaged in learning, when they are literally breathing in an educational atmosphere, we imagine that the whole world itself can continue turning.
With the children in mind, we celebrate a changing tide among Jewish day schools, as more parents are seeking out a day school education. We know that our schools, on the whole, are strong and well-equipped to continue delivering on their missions, notwithstanding the stress and uncertainty associated with changing economic realities.
We see this through the enrollment patterns and research among parents that Prizmah provides, the growing financial health evidenced by incredible new philanthropic investments in schools to strengthen excellence and address affordability challenges, as well as data from schools participating in the valuable Data and Analysis for School Leadership (DASL) program. We are inspired by day school alumni, who volunteer to speak about the impact of day school on their lives through our new #JDSalumniproud video campaign, from whom we draw in critical energy and information in order to continue delivering value in support of day schools across North America. In every one of those videos, teachers are remembered as central to the joy and success of each person’s education and their life more broadly.
Prizmah is honored to support the field and offer a wide range of programs and services throughout the year, with a key highlight being the return of the Prizmah Conference, on January 8-10, 2023 in Denver. The theme of the Prizmah Conference is Creative Spirit. Together, we will celebrate the spirit of creativity that we bring to our work every day, and explore the creative competencies that we can apply to impact students, schools and communities.