HAYIDION The Prizmah Journal


From the Desk of Susan Weintrob, RAVSAK President

by Susan Weintrob Issue: Too Jewish? Not Jewish Enough?

Living for over two decades in Oklahoma and Indiana, I was asked many times, “Why are you so Jewish?” In those days, I was less observant, less educated and not a Jewish professional. Yet the question persisted.

Few ask why individuals are so rich, so educated or so lucky. Yet, the question about Judaism may not be a bad one to answer. When we ask ourselves why we commit ourselves to Judaism, in whatever form we do, we should include in that question what we do with our Jewishness, just as we ask ourselves what we do with our wealth, our education and our opportunities. Do we welcome and support others? Do we model moral behavior? Do we celebrate our Jewishness? Are we part of the Jewish community?

RAVSAK helps all of us answer these questions with a “yes” by supporting those of us who are professionals in Jewish education, and by reaching out to our trustees and schools. Working with RAVSAK’s Executive Board has been a time of development for both my school and me. It has been a privilege to work with members of our outgoing Executive Committee: Bathea James, president; Jack Sparks, treasurer; Lynn Raviv, past president. I look forward to collaborating with our continuing and new executive board members, as RAVSAK continues its growth from a grass roots organization to an internationally respected network of Jewish professionals and supporters: our continuing exec. members, Bathea James, Dr. Ray Levi, Dr. Barbara Davis, and our new members - Dr. Rennie Wrubel (high school); Rory Paul (Canada); Rachel Keller (Judaic Studies) and Dr. Bob Berk, VP of Finance.

Our new executive board has expanded in important areas to support more schools in more ways. Our new high school division will help teachers and administrators network and collaborate in programs. Our Judaic Studies Executive member will work with Hebrew, Jewish texts and the diverse topics covered under this discipline. Our Canadian division will help our important Canadian schools work together and connect with the schools from the US.

Those of us in educational leadership are called upon to sustain the vision of our schools, support our staff, and always place the students at the center of our daily goals. RAVSAK has created a community of professionals to support each other. I am inspired by each of you and look forward to sharing challenges and success with you over the next two years.

Susan Weintrob is the President of RAVSAK and the Head of School at the Hannah Senesh Community Day School in Brooklyn, NY. Susan can be reached at sweintrob@hannahsenesh.org.

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Too Jewish? Not Jewish Enough?

At some point, most day schools find themselves confronted with the question, Are we too Jewish? If we confine Jewish studies to fewer hours in the school day, will more students come? Authors here agree that the “Jewish” part of the school’s mission and identity should be proudly front and center in defining a day school’s raison d’etre.

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