The Schechter Day School Network is pleased to announce that Rabbi Efrem Reis will serve as Rabbi-in-Residence at the Solomon Schechter School of Queens, which was awarded the Schechter Residency in Educational Leadership (SREL) Fellowship for 2014-2015. This endowed fund provides a grant of $30,000 to one new Schechter school per year to enable it to hire a recently ordained Conservative rabbi to work in the school. It is renewable for one or two additional years. The residency program is the result of a one million dollar anonymous donation to the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USCJ) which designated the endowment for Schechter schools more than a decade ago. The fellowship is intended to strengthen Judaic leadership in Solomon Schechter Schools and launch a rabbi on a career track in day school educational leadership. This year marks the 12th rabbinic fellow appointed to a Schechter school.
Rabbi Reis was ordained in 2012 by the Jewish Theological Seminary and has served for two years in a small Florida community as a pulpit rabbi. He is looking forward to the transition to a day school environment and asserts: “I am very excited to be joining The Solomon Schechter School of Queens this fall. My longstanding passion is education, and I am thrilled to be teaching in such a diverse and multi-cultural Jewish institution and joining its leadership team. I look forward to highlighting how the teachings of our traditions connect children and their families to our day-to-day lives.”
Among the rabbi‘s priorities will be to heighten the sense of community, provide more parent education, family programming, and “ruach” (spirit) for the prayer curriculum. He will create opportunities for people to make connections to Judaism and the school with the faculty, parents, staff and in the wider community.
Head of School, Dr. Shira Leibowitz adds:” Rabbi Efrem Reis brings with him the intelligence, sensitivity, and positive energy to lead our school in a process of reinvigorating Jewish life and learning. We believe in the transformative potential of the position of Rabbi-in-Residence for our school and are enthusiastic about the many strengths and qualities Rabbi Reis brings to the position. We feel very blessed that he has decided to accept our offer and very grateful for the support of the Schechter Network in awarding us the SREL fellowship.”
Dr. Leibowitz will mentor Rabbi Reis and work with him to ensure success in this new role. Dr. Elaine Shizgal Cohen, former Director of the Schechter Day School Network continues to spearhead the SREL Fellowship program through the conclusion of the current school year.
Reis joins a cohort of outstanding rabbis who are having a powerful impact on school culture and the quality of Jewish life and learning in Schechter schools in all the communities where they serve or have served with distinction. In 2014-2015, in addition to Rabbi Reis, Rabbi Scott Shafrin will continue in his second year as the SREL Fellow at the Epstein School in Atlanta, and the Chicagoland Jewish High School will receive the allocation for one more year in support of Rabbi Zachary Silver.