HAYIDION The Prizmah Journal

From the desk of Arnee Winshall, RAVSAK Chair

by Arnee Winshall Issue: Bold Ideas

As I write my final column, counting down the final weeks of my tenure as chair of the board of RAVSAK, Jews all over the world have begun counting the days of the Omer—from Passover, when bold leadership led to freedom and redemption, self-realization and a new beginning, to Shavuot when, only 50 days after the exodus from Egypt, we celebrate the giving of the Ten Commandments, signifying the transition from an enslaved nation to a “light unto the nations.” I cannot help but think back and notice the extent of the transition I have witnessed and in which I have been involved at RAVSAK since my first exposure in 1995.

Turning the pages of this issue devoted to Bold Ideas, I find myself reflecting on how RAVSAK’s impact since its inception, and my aspirations for RAVSAK when I accepted the role as chair, are rooted in being ambitious and committed to doing what needs to be done, learning from obstacles and not letting them be in our way.

  • What was bold was the creation of community day schools and then the step that was taken over 25 years ago to create a network of these schools.
  • What was bold was outreach to families beyond the Orthodox community to commit to serious and joyous full-time Jewish schooling.
  • What was bold (and wise) was to recruit Dr. Marc Kramer to grow and lead this organization.
  • What was bold were the steps the Executive Committee took in 2008 to transition to an international board largely populated and guided by distinguished lay leaders committed to Jewish day school education.
  • What was bold was for RAVSAK to invite and bring together all the day school organizations to provide a forum for growing and learning together, resulting in the North American Jewish Day School Conference.
  • What was bold was for the first board members to undertake the responsibility and dedicate their time, wisdom and resources to take RAVSAK to the next level.
  • What was bold was for RAVSAK, with the AVI CHAI Foundation’s encouragement, guidance and support, to undertake a thorough assessment and multi-year plan to guide the organization’s and the field’s growth.
  • And what is bold is the undertaking of an ambitious effort to expand the scope of RAVSAK’s work and its resources, to ensure that it continues both to serve the field and to push the boundaries of the field.
  • What was and continues to be bold is RAVSAK’s unyielding commitment to excellence and responsiveness, which ensures its provision of field-wide and personalized attention enabling all our schools to become the best version of themselves.
  • What is bold are the individuals and foundations increasing their financial investment in RAVSAK’s future.
  • Who is bold is Rebekah Farber, the incoming chair of the board, whose sharp mind and strategic thinking will provide RAVSAK with insightful leadership as it continues its growth and development.

Doing my small part in making this a reality has been an honor and a privilege, as will be my continued involvement in the work of RAVSAK. I feel like one of our day school students, smiling with pride as I don the wreath of fresh flowers I have woven in honor of Shavuot.

Na‘aseh ve-nishmah! We will do and learn, and only then will we have lasting freedom. It is RAVSAK’s commitment to the doing that enables us to continue to learn and to provide leadership, support, guidance and vision to the day school movement.

Thank you all for your support and partnership over the past several years.

חג שבועות שמח,


Arnee Winshall is chair of RAVSAK’s Board of Directors and founding chair of JCDS, Boston's Jewish Community Day School. Arnee can be reached at arnee@ravsak.org.

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From the Editor

מַה שֶּׁהָיָה הוּא שֶׁיִּהְיֶה וּמַה......


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Bold Ideas

Dream big! Sample a mix of current programs and blueprints for new initiatives, all dreamed up to be “game-changers” that can reconfigure day school education and possibly exponentially increase the impact of day schools on students and the Jewish community.

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