With 18 years and counting of support for innovative initiatives in Jewish education, the Covenant Foundation marked its chai anniversary last month with a three-day celebration in New York City. The festivities included a gala evening, dispersal of awards and — true to Covenant Foundation form — opportunities for serious discussion among some of North America’s most creative Jewish educators. Attending were 40 of the organization’s 54 surviving Covenant Award winners and more than a dozen emerging leaders in Jewish education.
Rachel Jackson doesn’t remember learning Hebrew at the Jewish Community Day School, where she spent kindergarten through eighth grade, but something must have stuck: She’s now among the top Hebrew-language students at her Jewish high school.
Yiddish: It gives you an excellent advantage in Scrabble.
When it comes to changing the world, sometimes how you invest is as important as how much you invest.
As miracles go, it’s hard to trump the parting of the Red Sea. But there’s something miraculous about the fact that a box of chocolate truffles made in a Boston suburb and ordered by Norma and Alvin Hass near Chicago will, once again, grace the Seder table of their daughter and her family in Eagle River, Alaska.
When Raveetal Celine and her husband, Graham, moved to the Boston area from Israel in 1999, their young daughters settled nicely into their new life — a little too nicely, Celine felt. The girls’ Hebrew began slipping away, and their American friends were crowding out Israelis. Concerned that her daughters would lose their Israeli identity, Celine sought a solution, but Jewish day schools and congregational schools seemed too religious, too American and too expensive.
Twenty-seven years ago, the oft-repeated story goes, a scruffy college student named Aaron Lansky launched a mission to save Yiddish books. Unable to bear the thought of thousands of books being thrown away by an aging generation of Jewish immigrants and their Yiddish-illiterate offspring, Lansky founded the not-for-profit National Yiddish Book Center to complete the task.
When the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance wanted to see more women included in Orthodox day-school lessons, the group started at the beginning — the very beginning.
Leaders in Jewish education agree that it’s time to focus more on the quality of congregational Hebrew schools — and a critical piece of that is teaching the teachers how to teach. Professional development, they say, must go beyond one-shot workshops and become an ongoing, on-site, in-depth exploration of technique, skill and Jewish content. Some congregational schools are starting to take this suggestion to heart.
A cross balances atop the spire of Lyons Hall on Boston College’s campus. But a hint of a Jewish presence — a small Israeli flag — is visible through one window of the Gothic-influenced building. That’s the office of Maxim Shrayer, chair of the Slavic and Eastern languages department — which is also the home of Boston College’s new