HAYIDION The Prizmah Journal


Reshet JD: A New Professional Network for Judaic Studies Leaders

by RAVSAK Issue: The Whole Student

RAVSAK’s Hebrew acronym is not well known. The letters (רבסק) stand for: רשת בתי ספר קהילתיים (Reshet Batei Sefer Kehilatiim), meaning the network of Jewish community day schools. That first Hebrew word, reshet, means network. And now the overarching reshet of RAVSAK is creating networks within that greater one, connecting colleagues from multiple schools to facilitate learning from one another, and to further our growth as professionals.

In creating Reshet Judaic Directors, we have identified a deep and serious need to nurture the educators who are providing Jewish leadership in our schools. These are the individuals who spend their time thinking about Jewish life and learning and what it might look like as we move into the world of twenty-first century education. Beginning with an online forum of a small core of Judaic directors, we have identified common interests and needs. The next step is to expand the core group with ever-widening circles of colleagues who share a focus on Jewish life and learning in RAVSAK schools.

We have identified several topics that the Reshet may explore in the future:

  • How to align the Jewish studies director’s vision as a community school with those of the faculty
  • How to bring staff on a journey to understand and implement the Judaic program
  • How to promote cooperation and understanding within a Jewishly diverse staff
  • How to grow the next generation of Jewish studies leaders
  • How to demonstrate the Jewish studies director’s value to the board and to the community
  • How to articulate the nature of a community day school, as opposed to an independent school with Jewish students
  • How to supervise and evaluate Judaic staff when there are often unique relationships
  • How to help parents understand and appreciate the value of the Judaic program

One thing is very clear: Judaic directors are eager to work together to benefit from shared wisdom and experience, and to identify colleagues who will become great new “chevruta” professional study partners.

Beshalom from the co-chairs,

  • Sharon Freundel (Jewish Primary Day School of the Nation’s Capitol)
  • Tzivia Garfinkel (Bernard Zell Ansche Emet Day School, Chicago)
  • Rabbi Stuart Light (Jewish Day School of Metropolitan Seattle)
  • Rabbi Jack Nahmod (Abraham Joshua Heschel School, New York)

To join Reshet JD, contact Dr. Marc Kramer at mkramer@ravsak.org.♦

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The Whole Student

One way that day schools stand out is the attention they can provide to each and every student, as expressed in the classic line from Proverbs, “Educate the youth according to his or her path.” Authors here offer numerous ways for schools to address the multi-faceted student to ensure that s/he is nurtured academically, spiritually, creatively and socially. 

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