Sivan 5775/June 2015
Message from the Executive Director:


With another strange confluence of secular and Jewish holidays - this time Shavuot and Memorial Day - it means that the beginning of the end of the 2014-2015 school year is upon us!  Being in my first year in ten not serving as a head of school, I am not sure how accurate my "how quickly the year has gone by-omoter" is, but it does seem that summers are shorter than ever.  As soon as you wrap up your last teacher meeting, you are planning for next year's first!  My hope is that all of our schools - their professionals and volunteers - will take the time this summer to relax and recharge, to look back in pride and look forward with anticipation, and to be as fully present with family and friends and we know they are to a fault with students and their families.


Here at Schechter we, too, want to begin wrapping up this historic first year of rebirth and regrowth and look to learn how we can be even better at meeting the needs of our schools and the field in the year to come. I have shared some reflection on how I think my first year as Executive Director has gone, and indicated places where I believe I need to learn and grow to do and be better next year. I would like to share here the feedback we received from our first Annual Membership Survey.


Annual Membership Survey

This survey was completely anonymous.  We have no idea who filled it out.  It was sent to the entire family of Schechter schools (full and affiliate members) which numbers nearly 90 schools.  We received 18 responses, which by percentage is appropriate for an online survey, but is only representative to a degree. 


The complete results have been/will be shared out.  Although space did not allow each question's answers to be shared and analyzed, the entire survey - all responses, regardless of how positive or negative, - has been shared transparently with all the staff and lay leaders who benefit from such knowledge.  We as staff cannot plan effectively for the future without be willing to listen.  We as staff cannot be evaluated effectively by our lay leadership without being willing to be vulnerable.

Without further adieu, I invite you to read the results of our survey.


Summer Professional Development Opportunities

We hope you found this useful as you think about how to use the summer not only to relax, but to regroup and recharge.

Getting Ready for 2015-2016 
Believe it or not, but our earliest schools are wrapping up this week and the rest will be doing the same in the weeks to come.  We, too, will be transitioning into summer modes of communication.  However, in the weeks to come, we will lay out more detail about our programmatic agenda for next year and how feedback may have played into our decision-making process. 
Kol tuv, Jon

To see more, Visit my blog.

edJEWprize Winners

The Schechter Day School Network and ELI talks are proud to announce the following winners of the 2015 edJEWprize teen ELI talks. Thank you to the over 40 students and teachers who participated and shared your ideas with us - your passion and heart are inspiring! Also, thank you to our partners at Jerusalem U for your support.


Mazal Tov to:

Tal D., 7th grade, Soille Hebrew Day School


Jacob F., 8th grade, Yavneh Day School


Rachel L., 8th Grade, Elad O., 6th Grade, and Channah T., 7th Grade at Martin J. Gottlieb Day School


The Schechter Day School Network and ELI Talks were thrilled to join forces to provide an opportunity for the outstanding students in our Jewish Day Schools to share their passions and big Jewish ideas. edJEWprize: teenEli talks was launched in March 2015.

Jerusalem U: Step Up For Israel

Jerusalem U is offering our schools a significant discount on their flagship, Israel education program, Step Up For Israel.  


Step Up For Israel challenges the assumptions and teaches the facts. This film-based turn-key middle school and high school curriculum introduces the fundamental issues concerning the State of Israel, exploring its unique challenges, accomplishments, and values.


This link is from one of the newest Step Up For Israel classes "Refugees" and is about the Palestinian refugees. It's an extremely difficult situation and this highly educational film shows the stark reality of their lives.


Jerusalem U has created a special coupon code for the Solomon Schechter schools which gives a 30% discount off our Step Up for Israel education program.  Instead of $500, it's $350.  Click this link for more information and to sign up. In the "Coupon Code" box, enter the code: Schechter.


We hope you'll take advantage of this excellent offer for an outstanding program.

Lookstein Virtual Academy
Set your middle school students on the hunt to discover one of Tanach's most mysterious characters in Quest for Eliyahu . Allow them to gain a deeper understanding of the nature of the Talmud and the people who laid the foundations for thousands of years of Jewish thinking, practice, and values in Who is Talmud?  Give your students the opportunity to explore the Jewish American immigrant experience, to investigate their local community's past and discover the importance of their role in the Jewish community today in Letters Home: American Jewish History, 1870-1924 .  
Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy  is offering 19 exciting and interactive courses to students in grades 5/6-12 in the subject areas of Tanach, Rabbinics, and Jewish History for the 2015-2016 school year. They are also developing beginner and intermediate level Mini Skills Courses in Tanach and Talmud for the spring semester. 
LVJA has supported Solomon Schechter Day Schools since 2012 by allowing them to expand their course offerings, offer enrichment opportunities, and resolve scheduling/staffing conflicts. Please contact Chevi Rubin here to learn how we can work together to implement these courses into your existing framework and address your specific student needs.
Schechter Schools in Israel
Schechter schools headed to Israel at the end of the year. See their pictures on Facebook!

       Sinai Akiba Academy           SSDS of Metro Chicago

         SSDS of Marlboro          Charles E. Smith Day School 

Association Montessori International
The Derech Hayeled school in Israel is happy to announce that a 5 weeks English foundation course, taught by AMI (Association Montessori International) trainers, is planned for the coming summer. The course will be held in the pastoral settings of the Kfar Hayarok near Tel-Aviv in a fully equipped Montessori classroom. 

You are invited to find out more details including dates, location and trainers here
Studies will be held Sunday - Friday, with a morning session, lunch, and then afternoon session. 
To enroll to the summer foundations course, write to Derech Hayeld here for the enrollment form.
Connecting to our Schools

A couple of weeks ago, our very own Associate Director, Ilisa Cappell, had a Skype interview with the author of Family Ties, Shoshana Banana, a parent at the Solomon Schechter Day School of Queens. The students of the first grade of the El Paso Jewish Academy loved learning about the Shoshsana Banana's diverse family family background and much more.


What inspired you to write "Family Ties?"

My family is trilingual.  My son (Theodore, second grader at Solomon Schechter School of Queens) and daughter (Orly, kindergartener at SSSQ) speak English at home with me, French with their Dad (my husband David was reared in Paris), and are learning Hebrew at an incredible pace at school.  The Judaic studies curriculum is wonderful and actually works.  I looked around and realized that we are not at all unusual in our school community.  Most of the kids come from families that speak a third, or fourth language at home, beyond the English and Hebrew of the school day.  We are lucky enough to have speakers of Russian, Bukharan, Farsi, Spanish, Portuguese, and more-- many more that I'd never guess-- enriching our cultural experiences with each other.  All of these languages come along with diverse sets of cultural practices that are so much fun to compare and contrast, all within the coziness of our shared Jewish traditions.  The diversity we enjoy is at odds with a perception some may have of "the Jews" as a monolithic block, a homogeneous group, so I wanted to draw attention to the reality that Jewish day school education is also about embracing diversity.

To read the rest of the interview, click here.



Students talking with the author
Students talking with the author


For more information, find out more on her publisher's page and or her imprint:

Digital Student Booklets for Torah Study

All 16 of the MaToK student booklets in color are now available for purchase as e-booksfrom the Behrman House On-line Learning Center. These online editions may be used with or without the "hard copy" booklets. They allow the teacher to project the pages onto an interactive white board, and for students to access their own copies on computer or tablet. Students are able to highlight and underline on their own screen, and each class has it's own discussion area as part of their class website that is connected to each book in the Online Learning Center. You can access all of the booklets  here

The introductory cost (through July 31, 2015) is $5 per person per booklet. For more information please contact Galya Greenberg, MaToK Project Director, at

Orientation Workshop for Schools and Teachers New to MatToK:
Scheduled for  Tues June 23-Thurs June 25  at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City. Registration forms are available here.
Contact Galya for more information.

To learn more about MaToK, click here.
In This Issue
Employment Opportunities 

Beth Yeshurun Day School

Hebrew Teacher


Robbins Hebrew Academy

Ontario, Canada



Gross Schechter Day School

Cleveland, OH

Coordinator of Jewish Living


Solomon Schechter Day School of Las Vegas

Development Professional


Solomon Schechter Day School of Greater Boston

Lower School Principal

Kadima Day School

West Hills, CA

Head of School


Martin J. Gottlieb Day School

Jacksonville, FL

T'filla and Torah Reading Instructor 


P lease see our  website for more job opportunities!

PEJE's Important New National Revenue Programs

We are proud to promote PEJE's National Revenue Programs.  These three new initiatives are designed to deliver results.  Atidenu: our future, PEJE's premier recruitment and retention program; Governance & Fundraising Academy, offering the support needed to make transformative change toward institutional advancement; and Generations National , based on our groundbreaking endowment program that has raised more than $23 million to date for the Jewish day school field. 


To learn more about the programs, and to begin the application process, click here. Space is limited.

Teacher Enrichment Workshop on Modern Israel
The Center for Israel Education and Emory's Institute for the Study of Modern Israel will conduct the 14th annual week-long Teacher Enrichment Workshop on Modern Israel for pre-collegiate educators (5th-12th) from  June 21-26, 2015  in Atlanta, GA.


To find out more, click here.

What is the Meaning of Meaning?

Sunday, June 7th at 2 PM to Monday, June 8th at 4 PM

This conference will look at the concept of "meaning," how people use it, what it might denote, and what are the implications of these ideas for
our work in Jewish education in particular for our ability to set goals and create assessments.

Space is limited. Register now at to secure a spot.
The Jewish Lens
Register today for The Jewish Lens!
Use photography to engage your students in exploring Jewish identity, tradition, and values. If you register by June 15th, get a 10% discount off of the annual price of $250. 

Read the full announcement here
Only a few spots left! 

 Four-Week Hebrew Immersion Summer Session in New York City
June 29-July 23, 2015
* Intensive development of Hebrew language skills
* Workshops with veteran teachers and experts on  language acquisition
* Individual mentoring throughout the 2015-2016 school year
You are eligible to apply if you currently teach at a Jewish Day School or you are a graduate student in Jewish education.
For more information, call  (212) 280-6007  or email us here.
Re-Imagining Jewish Education Through Art
Re-Imagining is a national initiative incubated at Yeshiva University Museum in NYC with the support of the Covenant Foundation.
Financial support is available for qualified participants.  Applications are due on June 1st.  Please contact us for further details. 
Following the institute, participants will have the opportunity to join an ongoing year-long program of imaginative engagement with art and classical Jewish texts for both teachers and students.

Conservative Yeshiva Summer Program 

Register now for the Conservative Yeshiva Summer Program in Jerusalem - a chance for intensive Hebrew and Jewish text study in a dynamic learning community. The Volunteer and Study track also offers the opportunity of giving back to the Jerusalem community by volunteering with an Israeli non-profit organization, while studying at the Yeshiva.

Beginning and advanced students aged 18-80 are welcome!

Session I:  June 21 - July 9, 2015
Session II:  July 12 - July 30, 2015
(Sessions will not be repetitive)

The Conservative Yeshiva Summer Program includes:
* Five levels of Hebrew Ulpan each morning
* Beginning and Advanced Talmud
* Classes in Rabbinic Texts, Tanach, Tefillah, & Halacha

* Four volunteer tracks: education, caring for the community, organizational development, and human rights


Special tracks in Summer 2015:

Session I - Nusach Intensive with the European Academy of Jewish Liturgy

Session II - Kashrut Supervision Intensive; Jewish text classes in French

For more information or to apply, click here, or email us here.

The Volunteer and Study Program is in cooperation with Skilled Volunteers for Israel. The Conservative Yeshiva is a project of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism.









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