HAYIDION The Prizmah Journal


From the desk of Bathea James, RAVSAK President

Dear Chevre,

I hope you have all started your new school year in a spirit of excitement and that this year will be full of learning, fun and exploration. I know that your weeks of planning, preparation and anticipation will be well worth it. As the well known saying goes "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail".

I had the pleasure this summer of meeting at our national office in New York for three days of intensive planning with the national executive board. Needless to say, I am thrilled and privileged to be working with these leaders of Jewish Education in addition to Dr. Marc Kramer, our Executive Director, and all the RAVSAK staff. We planned for the future growth of RAVSAK, development of our programs, expansion of our services and the firming up of our conference program which promises to be outstanding.

I then had the pleasure while on a family trip to England, to consult with our first potential international community day school RAVSAK member. This marks a new phase in our organization. JCoSS (Jewish Community Secondary School) would be the United Kingdom's first inclusive secondary school. This school is set to open in 2009 and would be a cross communal school to serve the whole community. "JCoSS would be a first of its kind- a truly inclusive school, open on an equal basis to all Jewish children, irrespective of birth status or synagogue affiliation and with due respect for differing traditions, beliefs, and practices." In discussion with Jonathon Fingerhut and Linda Cooke, the JCoSS co-chairs, this school will truly serve all Jewish children. This school is also set to house a specialist 60 place unit for children between the ages of 11-16 with a range of learning disabilities, developmental delays and special educational needs. The Barnett Council submitted a 46 million pound funding bid to the Department for Education Skills (DfES) on behalf of JCoSS. They are very positive that this request will be granted and hope to hear the outcome in September.

We hope to continue to build our overseas membership with schools in Israel, South Africa, and Australia as well. Community day school education that sincerely embraces all Jewish students is the future of our Jewish Community.

I hope you all have a good year and continue with success in the holy work you do. You will all be contacted shortly by one of our outreach chairs or board members. Please mark our conference dates in your calendar and remember to fill out your membership application on line.

Looking forward to seeing you all in Fort Lauderdale at the conference.

L'shalom,

Bathea James

Bathea James is the President of RAVSAK and former Head of School at the Tucson Hebrew Academy in Tucson, AZ. She can be reached at bathea@msn.com.

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