HAYIDION The Prizmah Journal

Deepening Talent

Deepening Talent

Jewish day schools are ecosystems that cultivate growth and vitality for all its stakeholders, from students to board members. In this issue, you will discover ways to recruit, preserve and deepen the talent in your school. Learn about the shifting paradigm of professional development, from individual study to a culture of collaborative exploration. Articles offer inspiration for schools throughout the field to support the abundant talent found in their midst.

Read the magazine online here.

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From the Editor: Deepening Talent

by Elliott Rabin, Editor Jun 14, 2019 Prizmah

The word “talent” derived from a Greek term meaning balance or weight, and in Latin a talent came to mean a significant weight—some 60 to 80 pounds—of silver. Only in the Middle Ages did the current meaning of innate ability become standard. Talent is like an amount of money received at birth, the idea being that different people are endowed with different talents, and different amounts of talent. The word suggests that talent is an inheritance for its possessor to use.

From the CEO: Deepening Jewish Day School Leadership

by Paul Bernstein Jun 14, 2019 Prizmah

In 1997, McKinsey & Co. published a groundbreaking study of corporations that led to the 2001 book The War for Talent. The book created a buzz (not without some controversy) and changed common parlance; whereas “talent” once described Olympic athletes or Hollywood actors, employees at all levels were now seen as valuable.

Board Chairs: Leading With Meaning, Leading With Confidence

by Ann Pava, Board Chair Jun 14, 2019 Prizmah

Let all those who occupy themselves with the business of the community do so only for the sake of heaven, for the merit of their ancestors will sustain them and their devotion, too, will endure forever. Pirkei Avot 2:2

The Advice Booth: Supporting a Struggling Teacher

by Daniel Weinberg, Associate Director for Educational Innovation Jun 14, 2019 Prizmah

I have a teacher I’m concerned about for next year. I believe he’s capable of being a good teacher, but if he doesn’t improve soon, I’m not sure I’ll be able to keep him another year. He wants to do well, but sometimes he can’t even see the problems in his classroom. It’s so hard to find good teachers, and lots of turnover is both expensive and bad for morale. At the same time, parents are starting to complain and other teachers are taking notice. What can I do to set this teacher up for success next year without compromising the quality of student learning?

Reshet Roundup: Space Between Floors--Conference Networking

by Yael Buechler, Lower School Rabbi-in-Residence Jun 14, 2019 Leffell School, White Plains, NY

At the Prizmah conference in Atlanta, I was reminded of the midrash from Bereshit Rabbah 7:3 that praises God as an excellent interior decorator. According to the midrash, when a human king builds a palace, the king puts inhabitants into the upper and lower floors. God, however, was brilliant enough to use the space between the floors. The Prizmah conference was revolutionary in its design.

Commentary: Leading with Integrity

Jun 14, 2019

“Integrity is knowing what we’re up to in the world and being in complete devotion to it. This purpose can change and often does. It doesn’t have to be something great or grandiose, but it must be clear and compelling to leaders—clear enough for them to know at any moment whether they are on purpose and compelling enough that they passionately align their energy to fulfill it.”

Jim Dethmer, Diana Chapman, and Kaley Warner Klemp, The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership


SPOTLIGHT ON Interning at Prizmah

by Hallie Chandler Jun 14, 2019

The etymology of the word intern stems from the Italian word internus meaning within, or inward, and the French word interne meaning assistant doctor, over time diffusing into other professions and taking on the meaning of any professional acquiring practical experience. Being an intern comes with the connotation of being a beginner, a trainee. However, the Hebrew word for intern, îÏúÙîÌçËä, comes from the root î.ç.ä, meaning one who is already on his or her way to becoming an expert. The Hebrew emphasizes the end goal of expertise.

Research Corner: Prizmah's Knowledge Center--A Treasure for Day School Leaders

by Odelia Epstein Jun 14, 2019

In March 2019, Prizmah launched an online Knowledge Center to serve as an asset to the field of Jewish day schools, with curated resources aimed at Jewish day school professional leaders and lay leaders. It contains videos, templates, samples, articles, reports and research that have particular relevance to Jewish day schools. The Knowledge Center is constantly growing based on the needs of the field, with newly created and curated articles, templates and research uploaded regularly.

On My Nightstand: Brief reviews of books that Prizmah staff are reading

by Rachel Levitt Klein Dratch, Amy Wasser, Joshua Levisohn, Elliott Rabin Jun 14, 2019

The World to Come

By Dara Horn

The story pulls you in: a stolen Chagall painting, a budding romance, artists who struggle, siblings who hope for one another, jealousy, deception, love, sacrifice and more. The language is evocative and rich, and for a Tanakh nerd like me it was a delight to pick up biblical and midrashic allusions in a casual turn of phrase or description.

Cultivating Relationships, Within Schools and Across the Field

by Ilisa Cappell Jun 13, 2019 Prizmah

At the end of a recent board retreat, a school vice president approached me with his frustrations. A CEO in his professional life, he felt like he understood exactly what work the board needed to do and was aggravated at the disconnect between this vision and what was actually happening. The new resources and tools that he learned at the retreat helped him articulate what should happen next, yet he was stymied by how to navigate the board dynamics to bring it about. How could he hold his peers accountable? How could he have difficult conversations with fellow volunteers?