SDSN Executive Summary for NAJDSC

The 43 schools in 17 states and two Canadian provinces that comprise the Schechter Day School Network (SDSN) share a rich history, core commitments, and key attributes that are central to the Network, its members, and the Jewish people.  Below is a brief summary of key sections of the nearly completed SDSN strategic plan.  We thank Schechter school leaders for your input and feedback throughout the process.

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NAJDSC Vendor Marketplace

“The vendors at the Jewish Day School Conference made a significant investment to attend the conference and display their products in the Marketplace. Please consider giving them business from your school for services and materials that you will be ordering. Click on the link to this page on the conference website,  http://www.jewishdayschoolconference.org/vendor-marketplace to see the listing of the 50 vendors who were on-site in Washington and who are eager to engage with you about your school’s needs.”

Marketplace Vendors

An Open Letter on Gun Legislation

An open letter to the President and Members of Congress:
December 20, 2012

We, the undersigned, are rabbis, educators and community leaders at Jewish day schools across the United States. Collectively, we are connected to 30 schools, enrolling more than 7,500 students.

We are moved to write to you by the heartbreaking tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut last Friday. As far as we know, that tragedy was the work of a deranged young man whose sickness blinded him to the moral and ethical implications of his actions. But whatever his motives, the killer’s rampage was only possible because we as a society have made it so easy for people like him to obtain military-style guns and ammunition legally, cheaply and easily.

Many commentators have called this a political failure, which it may be, but we believe it is, first and foremost, a moral failure. The Torah teaches us that when we live in a community, we must actively work to prevent harm to others. Deuteronomy 22:8 tells us that if we build a new house, we must build a railing on the roof, lest someone fall off and get hurt – literally, “so that you will not bring bloodguilt on your house if anyone should fall from it.” The Talmud extends this notion to other dangerous things within our control, such as violent dogs, which must be kept on a chain lest they hurt someone (Bava Kamma 15b, 79b; Choshen Mishpat 409:3). Guns are no exception; indeed, the Talmud tells us that we must make every effort to ensure that we do not put dangerous weapons into the hands of would-be criminals (Avodah Zarah 15b). Continue reading »

Heidi Hayes Jacobs to lead Curriculum 21 Session

Heidi Hayes Jacobs

The Schechter Day School Network is delighted that Heidi Hayes Jacobs will be leading our network-specific session on Monday, February 4th, 2013 at the North American Jewish Day School Conference. We believe that Curriculum 21 is a “signature pedagogy” that aligns with the approach to teaching and learning in Schechter schools.

Those of you who attended last year’s EDJEWCON conference at the Martin J. Gottlieb Day School in Jacksonville, Florida last April were very excited to learn how Curriculum 21 can be incorporated into your school. At the upcoming day school conference whose overall theme is “Learning to Lead/ Leading to Learn”, acquire the knowledge, skills and advocacy to lead this change in your school.

Schechter Day School Network Announces New Board President

New York, NY, September 6, 2012 – Dr. Steven C. Lorch has been elected President of the Board of Directors of the Schechter Day School Network, effective September 1. He succeeds Rabbi Jim Rogozen, who served as President for the past three years and was recently appointed Chief Learning Officer of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism.

Dr. Lorch is the founding Head of School of the Solomon Schechter School of Manhattan and previously headed Jewish day schools in Pennsylvania, Israel, and Australia. His election comes at a time when the Schechter Network is engaged in a strategic planning process, supported by a grant from the Avi Chai Foundation, to design a dynamic future for the organization in service to its affiliated schools and the wider Jewish day school world.

“Dr. Lorch has been intimately involved in every major initiative of the Schechter Network since he joined its governance structure 14 years ago,” commented Rogozen. “His election as President will strengthen the Network’s capacity to build upon its 60-year track record of growing the Jewish day school movement and promoting excellence. Under his leadership the Network will continue to provide cutting-edge programs and services for its community of schools, and redouble its commitment to core Jewish values, religious purposefulness, and rigorous Jewish and general educational standards.”

Dr. Elaine Cohen added, “When Dr. Lorch’s father, Joseph Lorch z”l, was President of the Schechter Association Board in the 1970s, his leadership coincided with a period of great thriving and expansion for its schools. In this era of rapid turnover in Jewish board leadership, the continuity provided by a second generation of leadership in a national Jewish educational organization is perhaps unprecedented, and it positions the Schechter Network to continue to lead the field as a future-forward 21st-century learning organization.”

About the Schechter Day School Network
The Schechter Network is a collaborative community of Jewish day schools that nurture the passionate center of Judaism. The Network promotes the learning and expertise of professional leaders, teachers, and volunteer leaders within its community of schools by facilitating inspiring and enriching connections to people, programs, and resources. The Network is committed to excellence and innovation and to assisting schools in achieving their missions, thereby strengthening the Jewish people.

The first Schechter day schools were founded in the early 1950s and held their first conference in 1965. This led to the founding of the Solomon Schechter Day School Association in 1967. Building upon a branding initiative in 2011 funded by UJA-Federation of New York, the Schechter Day School Network works closely with its member schools to prepare students to engage the world.

Dr. Steven C. Lorch is available for interviews at 212-427-9500, stevenlorch@sssm.org.

Shabbat dinner for alumni of Schechter schools

On Friday night, June 8th, Alumni from four Schechter schools attended the first ever Shabbat dinner for alumni of Schechter schools. The dinner was held at Talia’s Steakhouse, on the Upper West Side of Manhattan (which offers pre-paid shabbat dinners). It was a warm evening and the windows were open. Everyone had a great time and the Alumni were able to mingle before dinner. As the Shabbat blessings were recited, the mood was lively and the general atmosphere of the restaurant was festive. Arnie Zar-Kessler, Head of School at SSDS Boston, and Sharon Mintz, Director of Major Gifts and Alumni Relations at SSDS Boston were in attendance. This dinner sets the precedent for many alumni events to come!

edJEWcon a success

Jacksonville Jewish school convened successful first ever national conference on incorporating new technology into Jewish day school education

JACKSONVILLE – Twenty-one Jewish day schools of different religious orientations came together in Jacksonville for edJEWcon, a groundbreaking conference designed to demonstrate to teams of day school educators how to implement a 21st-century approach to curriculum and instruction. The integration of technology and digital media into teaching and learning are essential tools to engage all learners. This innovative conference raised the bar and showed the way for participants to acquire new understandings and gain needed skills.

The Martin J. Gottlieb Jewish Day School (MJGDS) in Jacksonville planned and led the three-day program that featured two keynote presenters with international reputations as leaders in the field, Heidi Hayes Jacobs and Angela Maiers. Heidi Hayes Jacobs spoke of Continue reading »

Mekor Hayyim, (the Source of Life) Published

The Schechter Day School Network announces with pride the publication of a new source book on water and Judaism, Mekor Hayyim, (the Source of Life) developed and compiled by Rabbi Lawrence Troster. A product of a pilot project on Judaism and the Environment that involved five schools in the Schechter Network, the book contains biblical, rabbinic and modern texts and citations that can be used in diverse ways for teaching and learning, and applied in a wide variety of settings, such as day school classrooms, student environmental initiatives, Shabbatonim, youth groups and summer camps. Read more »