Schechter/Spertus Partnership to Promote Cutting Edge Programs and Directions for Schechter

Solomon Schechter Day School of Metropolitan Chicago and the Master of Arts in Jewish Professional Studies (MAJPS) program of Spertus Institute have formed a unique partnership in which 13 Solomon Schechter Day School teachers are engaged in the two-year master’s program that deals with core Jewish and professional themes. This cohort of the MAJPS program is specifically tailored to the needs and interests of the individual educators and the long-term goals of Solomon Schechter Day School.

“There are moments when one dares to dream the impossible and this is such a moment,” says Dr. Barry Chazan, Director of the MAJPS program. “Schechter and Spertus – academy and day school – are bringing professors and practitioners together to create a lab school right in our own city. This type of venture has yet to happen in this way in contemporary Jewish education. It is one of the exciting moments in my professional life!”

Adds Linda P. Foster, CEO/HOS, “We are thrilled to partner with Spertus in this venture. At Schechter, we are committed to professional development for our faculty and staff. This type of learning allows our educators to expand their knowledge and skills to grow personally and professionally. The outstanding Spertus faculty is coming directly to Schechter so that our educators can simply walk down the hallway and become learners themselves. They are setting a tremendous example for our students and are participating in one of Schechter’s core values – our commitment to life-long learning.”

The Spertus MAJPS program is a two-year master’s degree program in Jewish Studies that includes the development of strategic professional skills and personal mentoring. For the new Solomon Schechter Day School cohort, the students’ final projects will be integrated into cutting-edge programs and directions for the day school.

“The Schechter/Spertus partnership represents a serious commitment to developing a learning community among the faculty that is both able and inspired to create an exemplary day school education,” says Arna Yastrow, a second grade general studies teacher at Solomon Schechter Day School. “The classes are rigorous and interesting and have real value in our classrooms and in the work we do to plan for the future of Solomon Schechter Day School. I feel privileged to have the opportunity to study with the learned faculty at Spertus and my colleagues, whose wisdom and generosity make each class exciting.”

Adds seventh and eighth grade Judaic Studies Teacher Betsy Forester, “I am excited about working with such a wonderful cohort of dedicated teachers as we explore ways to help make Solomon Schechter Day School an even more exciting place to learn and to teach.”

Several of the professors and administrators in the program are Schechter parents, alumni, and alumni parents including:

  • Schechter parent Barry Chazan, EdD, Director of the MAJPS program
  • Schechter alum and parent Diane Halivni, Academic Advisor and Campus Coordinator
  • Schechter graduate Claire Sufrin, PhD, MAJPS faculty member and mentor
  • Schechter alumni parent Betsy Katz EdD, MAJPS faculty member and mentor
  • Schechter alumni parent Jane Shapiro, MAJPS mentor

“Pictured above in alphabetical order are SSDS faculty members: Faye Bearman, Robin Bright, Betsy Forester, Danielle Gershon, Deborah Harris, Ariela Ish-Hurwitz, Karin Klein PhD, Osnat Lichtenfeld, Holly Rosenberg, Lilach Schrag, Barbara Tatz, and Arna Yastrow.

Also pictured back left: Hal M.Lewis, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies and a professor in the MAJPS program.

Not pictured: Anna Raiber, Solomon Schechter Day School Faculty

The cohort is joined by a number of talented colleagues from allied professional fields.
Also pictured are Rebecca Rubin (JRC), Lora Shiman (JCC) Marlene Dodinval (ARZA/URJ), and Sandra Imar (Moriah Early Childhood Center).

Kol Hakavod to this new co-hort of students!