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 »

National conference on incorporating new technology into Jewish day school education

Jacksonville Jewish school prepares to convene first ever national conference on incorporating new technology into Jewish day school education

Schechter Day School Network to cosponsor edJEWcon, April 29-May 1

First-grade students at the Martin J. Gottlieb Day School in Jacksonville, Fla., practice Hebrew writing on iPads.<br />Photo courtesy of the Martin J. Gottlieb Day School.

JACKSONVILLE – Next week, 21 Jewish day schools will come together in Jacksonville for edJEWcon, a conference designed to help day schools incorporate 21st-century technology and other innovative teaching techniques into their classrooms. The Martin J. Gottlieb Jewish Day School (MJGDS) in Jacksonville has planned and will lead the three-day program that will facilitate educator teams in hands-on learning taught by technology and curriculum experts, provide class observations demonstrating how to seamlessly integrate technology into teaching, and teach new skills development. As a Jewish day school well on its way to becoming a dynamic 21st-century learning environment, MJGJDS’ faculty is eager to share its vision of teaching and learning that transcends physical boundaries and connects across geographic borders and time zones.

MJGDS is part of the Schechter Day School Network, an association of Jewish day schools that is working to inspire and encourage member schools to chart a new course to excel in the future. Part of the path forward is adopting successful elements from the general education milieu, as well as positioning Schechter Network schools at the forefront of a paradigm shift incorporating new technologies such as social media and digital and online expertise, happening across the continent in education. Continue reading »

Chicagoland Jewish High School selected to have 2012-2013 SREL Fellow Rabbi Zach Silver

Chicagoland Jewish High School selected as recipient of 2012-13 Schechter Residency in Educational Leadership Fellowship

Rabbi Zach Silver hired as school rabbi as part of fellowship

NEW YORK –The Schechter Day School Network at the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USCJ) is proud to announce that Chicagoland Jewish High School has been selected as the 2012-13 site for the Schechter Residency in Educational Leadership (SREL). The endowed annual fellowship provides a grant to one Schechter school per year to hire a recently ordained Conservative rabbi to work in the school. The residency program is the result of an anonymous donation to the USCJ intended to strengthen Judaic leadership in Solomon Schechter Schools. This year marks a noteworthy milestone for the SREL with the appointment of the 10th rabbinic fellow.

Chicagoland Jewish High School was selected because of its demonstrated plan for providing a diversified professional experience and for mentoring the new school rabbi. The grant is renewable for an additional two years so that there are three Fellows at different Schechter schools in any given school year

Chicagoland Jewish High School has hired Rabbi Zach Silver, who will be ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary in May, as Rav Beit Sefer (School Rabbi). Silver brings a deep academic interest in American Jewish identity formation, which he has cultivated across each of the contexts in which he has taught. He served on staff at Camp Ramah in Wisconsin for seven years and most recently served as the founding director for the Ramah alumni effort, KikarBa’Ir. He is particularly proud of creating and directing the camp’s10thgrade (Machon) curriculum and weeklong trip to Iowa, in which students explore American Jewish identity in a multi-vocal world. During rabbinical school, Silver served as a group leader for a high school American Jewish World Service trip to Uganda, where he facilitated a service and educational experiencedevoted to engaging students in issues of global responsibility. Most recently, he served as the rabbi at Congregation Temple Emanu-El in Reno, Nevada, where he cultivated a culture of song in Shabbat services and fostered exploration and learning around issues of Jewish belief.

Silver joins a distinguished cohort of 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. Current fellows are Rabbi Fred Elias, SSDS of Bergen County, New Milford, N.J.; Rabbi Eve Posen, Ann and Nate Levine Academy in Dallas, Texas; and Rabbi Micah Liben, the Kellman Brown Academy in Voorhees, N.J.

Past SREL fellows and the schools where they served are Rabbi Amanda Brodie, Ezra Academy, Woodbridge, Ct.; Rabbi Sheryl Katzman, SSDS of Metropolitan Chicago; Rabbi Shawn SimonHazani; Perelman Jewish Day School, Philadelphia, Penn.; Rabbi Matthew Bellas, The Brandeis School, Lawrence, N.Y.; Rabbi Harry Pell, Solomon Schechter School of Westchester; and Rabbi Moshe Schwartz, Schechter High School of Nassau County. These rabbis continue to make their mark as leaders in Jewish education in numerous ways. As an example, Schwartz currently serves as the Head of School of Kellman Brown Academy and SimonHazani has assumed a national role in planning professional development for rabbinics teachers, including this year’s pilot program with Yeshivat Hadar.

Rabbi Laurence Scheindlin

Rabbi Laurence Scheindlin is the longest serving Head of School in the Schechter Day School Network.  He has been the Head of School of Sinai Akiba Academy for 35 years and will retire from this position at the end of the current school year. Rabbi Scheindlin will continue to write, consult and teach in a variety of settings in the coming year.

“The School that Larry Built”

Gala Event in Los Angeles, January 21, 2012:

Allison Mayersohn (wife of Rabbi Scheindlin), Rabbi Larry Scheindlin, Head of School, Sinai Akiba Academy & Dr. Elaine Cohen, Director, Schechter Day School Network

Schechter Milestone Anniversaries

Mazal tov to the following member schools that celebrated or will celebrate special milestones in the life of their schools during this school year.

50 years
The Solomon Schechter Day School of Greater Boston celebrated its 50th year on November 26th.

Solomon Schechter Day School of Metropolitan Chicago is in the middle of celebrating its 50th year. The celebration will be held October 27, 2012.

The Martin J. Gottlieb Day School, a K-8, in Jacksonville, FL turns this 50 this year with celebrations culminating with events the weekend of May 4-6.

30 years
Yavneh Day School in Los Gatos, CA will celebrate our 30th anniversary on March 18, 2012.

Solomon Schechter Day School of Raritan Valley

25 years
Pressman Academy – 25 years

10 years
Chicagoland Jewish High School is celebrating 10 years. Our celebratory event was on November 19th.

PEJE Challenge Award

It is with great excitement that PEJE has announced the winners of the 2011 Challenge Award. The Challenge Award was designed to drive increased day school revenue through innovation. Schools were encouraged to share the results of bold and creative initiatives to grow one of the key day school revenue streams: tuition, annual campaign, and endowment. PEJE’s intention in launching this award was to generate new ideas that could be shared broadly with the field, while also rewarding individual schools for novel approaches to their specific challenges.

Winning initiatives represent a rich diversity of focus area, denomination, geography, and school/community size. Seven of winners are members of the Schechter Day School Network.  They are:

School Name

Innovation Focus

City

State

Community Day

Affordability

Pittsburgh

PA

Hochberg Preparatory

Annual Campaign

N. Miami Beach

FL

Kellman Brown Academy

Annual Campaign

Voorhees

NJ

Lander-Grinspoon Academy

Annual Campaign

Northampton

MA

Robbins Hebrew Academy

Annual Campaign

Toronto

ON

Valley Beth Shalom

Annual Campaign

Encino

CA

The Schechter Day School Network extends a hearty “Mazal tov!” to all the 27 winners, and especially to the schools in our network that have demonstrated innovation and excellence in their proposals to drive increased revenue.