Each Pesach for nearly 60 years, my family in the UK has gathered at the same home for Seder. The same hosts, the same guests (new spouses, children, and friends are of course warmly welcomed), the same story. Sadly, one of our hosts recently passed away, and her husband is in declining health. My family, however, is still gathering in their home, determined to uphold this tradition. It will be a very different night, but the longstanding participants are committed to telling the Haggadah story, our story, in a familiar atmosphere.
Yes, things have changed. In some ways, everything has changed. But the sense of connection, continuity, and family community softens the blow of this new reality.
Just as we are ending the Maggid section of the Hagaddah, we recite the famous requirement that "In every generation, each person is obligated to see himself or herself as though he or she personally came forth from Egypt."
Moot Beit Din: Self-driving Cars and Jewish Law
to the 29 high schools who sent 127 students to the
17th annual Moot Beit Din competition
held this year in Houston. In Moot Beit Din, students examine the
ethical and moral dimensions of Halakhah (Jewish law) through creative engagement with contemporary situations.
This year, the teams
considered the legal liability and responsibility for the actions of a self-driving car and proposed how self-driving cars should be programmed to meet the highest Jewish ethical standards.
The cases were presented to a panel of judges including Houston-area r
abbis, educators, lawyers, academics, and other professionals.
Prizmah's Moot Beit Din program is made possible through generous support from the Maimonides Fund.
to view the full list of winners and to watch the competition.
Last month, 80
professionals from 16 schools participated in Prizmah's
held in Dallas. This gathering brought together admission professionals who had previously received a
comprehensive assessment of their current recruitment and retention practices. Participants learned from peers and experts, including Janice Crampton, Executive Director, Association of Independent Schools Admission Professionals; Geordie Mitchell, Director of Enrollment Management, Buckingham, Browne & Nichols School; and Laura Sheridan, President, Viva La Brand and Atidenu Specialist Coach.
Atidenu also provides ongoing coaching to help leaders create and implement a concrete, long-term plan toward enhancing recruitment and retention.
Top conference takeaways any Jewish day school can apply:
Recruitment and retention is everyone's job. A culture of ownership that includes everyone from front desk personnel to faculty and administrators is the best way to boost enrollment.
DATA! Collecting the right data and using it strategically will help you make the best decisions around recruitment and retention.
YOU Lead: Helping Leaders Grow
Where would you like your leadership to be in a year?
Are you ready to challenge your assumptions about Jewish day school education?
leadership development program gives all professional leaders at any stage of their career in any Jewish day school the framework to define and strengthen their personal leadership.
Through online and in-person learning, YOU Leaders join a network of peers from schools around the country.
Leaders support one another's growth and learning during the program, and long after it ends. Participants have the opportunity to learn from top experts in Jewish education about many different aspects of Jewish day school leadership.
for YOU Lead today and see how far your leadership can go when you never stop learning.
HoSPEP: Readying New Heads of School for Success
Are you a Head of School who is new to your school or relatively new to the position? Prizmah's
Head of School Professional Excellence Project (HoSPEP)
offers new Heads of School the opportunity to engage in weekly one-on-one intensive coaching from successful, experienced heads of school and benefit from being part of a network of like-minded school leaders. We are now recruiting for the 2017-2018 cohort.
Reshet Conversations and Resources
Looking to connect with colleagues from around the country? Professionals and lay leaders from Prizmah member schools have the opportunity to join a wide number of
These 21 networks are organized by role at school (i.e. admission, board, development), topic of interest (i.e. alternative tuition strategies, innovation), and affinity group/school denomination. Member school leaders can access recent webinars, conversations, and resources across a broad range of topics.
to see how you can join a Reshet of your choice.
In the spirit of Passover's many questions, we invite a Prizmah expert to address a question from the field.
What can I do to keep parents from bad-mouthing our school? Even some of the parents who I know love our school love to complain.
A concerned Admission Director
Schools are communities, for students, for faculty, and for parents. While human nature and the urge to gossip are just about impossible to control, you can consider empowering your parents to be ambassadors for your school and equipping them with messages and accurate information that convey your community's values and mission.
You might think about training your parent ambassadors on how to respond to a complaining parent, i.e. "Have you shared your concern with a professional at the school? I had a different experience." This
models more open communication and lets ambassadors off the hook from defending a situation beyond what they know. It also
creates an environment of trust
and conveys the idea that all members of the community matter, that all voices should be heard.
In the end, nobody can stop gossip and negative word-of-mouth, but we can help
change the ways our community deals with it
when they see and hear it.
Have a burning question that you'd like a Prizmah expert to answer? Send it to:
School Security Resources
is filled with important tools from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Southern Poverty Law Center, Anti-Defamation League, Prizmah Reshet webinars, and other valuable sources.
Looking for a good book to sink into over the Passover break? Here is one of Prizmah Communications Strategist & Brand Champion Jim Blankstein's
favorite reading lists.
Prizmah Member Event:
Empowering Your Donors Through Giving Circles
Tuesday, April 25, noon ET
Looking for new ways to get your school's donors excited and inspired by your school's mission and become further engaged in your work?
Giving circles are groups who pool their donations and decide together how to allocate them. When you build a giving circle of donors focused on funding your school's work, you have the opportunity to showcase your school's critical programs and operations, and empower donors to link their personal and shared values to their funding decisions. Giving circles also become social communities, as well as leadership pipelines for your board and other activities. This workshop will familiarize you with giving circles and demonstrate how other schools are deploying the model. You will have the chance to walk through some of the initial steps of setting up a giving circle at your school.
Prizmah's member schools are invited to
- Akiba-Schechter Jewish Day School, Head of School, Dr. Eliezer Jones
- Atlanta Jewish Academy, Upper School Judaics Principal, Rabbi Allan Houben
- Manhattan Day School, Head of School, Raizi Chechik
- Oakland Hebrew Day School, Head of School, Tania Schweig
- Robert M. Beren Academy, Head of School, Dr. Paul Oberman
Mazal Tov to the Akiva School (Nashville) fifth and sixth grade students and the class of 2016 for receiving the Outstanding Community Partner Award by the Nashville Food Project, for their ongoing work growing food and helping prepare meals for needy families.