Networking

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♦ Barbara Davis

This summer I took my very first cruise and traveled to Alaska, where 6,000 hardy Jewish souls live among 722,000 other inhabitants. Five thousand of these Jews, who statistics reveal to be more observant than most other Jews (although there is no day school here), live in Anchorage, where there are two synagogues. I would have loved to have met some of my co-religionists, but a cruise leaves little time for self-directed exploration. Likewise on my cruise, I would have liked to meet more of my fellow Jews, but alas, I seemed to be traveling in middle America. How I longed to play Jewish geography! How hard I listened for an accent that said “big city,” and looked for a chai on a neck chain. When I finally heard some Israelis speaking Hebrew at their dinner table, I could have hugged them!

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♦ RAVSAK Editor

Responses to “The Torah of Relevance” in the summer issue

The Torah is an ancient book that presents great ideas in simple, accessible language. Thus the Torah invites any reader, teachers and students alike, to study its plain meaning or peshat. That’s the product we have. That’s what we’re “selling” and what we want our students to “buy.” When students are invited to dig into the text, and thereby gain mastery, matters of relevance melt away. Guided as they encounter the text, they will ask challenging questions, tease out meaning, argue with each other and eventually develop their own understandings of basic Jewish ideas.

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♦ Arnee Winshall

By now I hope you all have received RAVSAK’s new business plan (of which an executive summary appears on pages 32-33), a plan that envisions investing more resources into the day school field, leveraging existing resources better, and continuing to build on successful strategies.

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♦ RAVSAK Editor

Mazel tov to new heads of school: Alina Gerlovin Spaulding, Akiva Community Day School (Nashville), Rabbi Allen Saks, Hillel Academy of Broome County (Vestal, NY), Amanda Pogany, Luria Academy (Brooklyn), Chaim Heller, San Diego Jewish Academy, Dr. David Finell, Rockwern Academy (Cincinnati), David Prashker, Shoshana S. Cardin School (Baltimore), Dr. Donald Zimring, Brandeis Hillel Day School (San Francisco), Einav Symons (interim), Kadimah School (Buffalo, NY), Jamie Cluchey, Levey Day School (Portland, ME), Kathryn Davis, Eleanor Kolitz Academy (San Antonio), Laila Lipetz, Paul Penna Downtown Jewish Day School (Toronto), Lara Samuels, JCOSS (London), Mia Severin, Akiva School (Montreal), Miri Ketayi, Jewish Community School of the Desert (Palm Desert, CA), Noah Hartman, Cohen Hillel Academy (Marblehead, MA), Pam Cohn, Friedel Jewish Academy (Omaha), Peter Greenberg, Kehilah Jewish Community Day School (Hamilton, ON), Dr. Rennie Wrubel (interim), Milken Community High School (Los Angeles), Rhona Birenbaum (interim), TanenbaumCHAT (Toronto).

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♦ Cooki Levy

The day-to-day interactions that the school leader should embrace require sensitivity, self-confidence and finesse in order to build and maintain the relationships that are essential to success. The HOS must possess the ability to communicate clearly and appropriately with all stakeholders, regardless of the circumstances. This can sometimes be a challenge, as evidenced by the questions below.

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♦ Andrés Spokoiny

Networking represents a paradigm shift in the way that organizations are structured and get business done. Schools need to get on board, and funders increasingly expect to see change.

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♦ Beth Kanter

The author of The Networked Nonprofit describes the stages for organizations to become fully networked and some tools for measuring success in this area.

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♦ Graham Hoffman and Abi Dauber Sterne

Hillel’s success at transforming its image and impact on Jewish students through its adoption of a networking model has potential for replication by day schools.

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♦ Meir Wexler

Teachers can use social media technology to create a learning environment fostering their own continual professional development.

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♦ Gaby Kleiman

A network can be proactive in identifying areas of common need and creating programs collaboratively to address them. This article describes an ambitious initiative.

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♦ Editor

Tell us something about yourself.

A fifth generation Israeli, I was born in Jerusalem to a family of teachers. All my siblings are either teachers or principals in Jewish day schools, so teaching is in our blood. I have taught English, math, and Jewish studies, to students ranging from 2 to 82.

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♦ Aliza Gershon

Tzav Pius pioneered the use of the network to promote dialogue and advance social change in Israel. They’re now taking that model to the 2.0 level.

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♦ Lisa Colton and Caren Levine

A leader in helping Jewish organizations adapt to social media, Darim Online suggests best practices to guide planning and practice in this new environment.

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♦ Naomi Leight

Crowdfunding is an exciting new tool that has the potential to do much more for your school than make money —though it can do that in spades.

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♦ Deborah Fishman and Naava Frank

The term “network weaver” occurs throughout this issue. This article provides a job description and suggestions for operational techniques for this newest of occupations.

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♦ Debra Askanase

As Facebook’s IPO shows, the bloom is off the rose. Everyone’s on it; most are disenchanted. Here are ideas for making the original social media tool work for schools.

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♦ Kevin Martone

Online media are generally complex and flexible tools that can be used in multifarious ways to meet your needs. Some strategic tech planning can increase success dramatically.

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♦ Sarah Burns

Networks of teachers, whether within one school or over a broader range, can foster individual growth while enriching the school community in powerful ways.

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♦ Debby Kinman-Ford

Early childhood, often overlooked within the spectrum of Jewish education, can be a critical time for building habits and dispositions to inspire families to choose day school.

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♦ James Gurland

It has to be bashert that I have the honor and privilege to join RAVSAK as its first Director of Institutional Advancement at precisely the same time that the AVI CHAI Foundation makes an extraordinary and historic commitment to enhancing and strengthening Jewish community day school education with a grant of $2,350,000. As the grandchild of a survivor of the horrors of Buchenwald, and first generation American Jew on my mother’s side, Jewish continuity has been at the forefront of my life both personally and professionally. From the time I spent a year in Israel as a fellow on Otzma II to the present, I find myself becoming more passionate about klal Yisrael, by blending it into the fabric of my being, by ensuring that we will have a Jewish future. Thus, there is no better way to achieve that then by working for an organization, whose “client is the Jewish Future.”

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♦ Editor

The following are some of the terms and platforms referenced in the articles in this issue.

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♦ Lesley Zafran

We live in a time when our culture changes its mind in less than a generation. Our youth use the word “sick” to mean something is really great, and I just heard a researcher on public radio say he has done a three year study that shows procrastination is actually a valuable tool that enables better decision making.

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HaYidion: Cover of the Networking issue
Marc Leventhal
RAVSAK has  been instrumental in raising the profile, awareness and academic level of Talmud study at our school.”
Marc Leventhal, Judaic Teacher/Moot Beit Din Advisor
TheWeber School

News

Dr. Marc Kramer and fellow leaders have been awarded an alumni collaboration grant from The Wexner Foundation to research the learning needs of special needs students in North American Jewish day schools.[More]
Articles and resources for helping students understand and contextualize the recent Israeli conflict.[More]
RAVSAK Executive Director Dr. Marc N. Kramer is quoted in this piece from the Baltimore Jewish Times on the varied responses by Jewish day schools to the Common Core standards.[More]
Students from seventeen Jewish day schools across North America used their creativity, knowledge of Hebrew and passion for Judaism to create original works of poetry for RAVSAK’s annual Hebrew Poetry Contest.[More]

Membership

Members of RAVSAK enjoy many benefits which support the overall work of the school and the professionals who lead them. Find out more about membership benefits and how your school can become a member.

Use our interactive map of member schools to find a Jewish Day School near you.

In addition to serving Jewish community day schools across North America, RAVSAK has a special category of membership for Jewish and educational organizations, consultants and companies which share our vision of excellence in Jewish day school education.