From Our Blog

Building a Network for Experiential Jewish Education

By Rachel Meytin on November 17th, 2015

Throughout the Gathering, I was aware of what a privilege it is, as an educator, to immerse myself in a focused space of ideas and learning, removed from the day-to-day elements of my professional role. I am very grateful for this gift. —Erica Frankel, Director of Strategy for the Jewish Learning Fellowship at Hillel International, graduate of Yeshiva University Certificate Program in Experiential Jewish Education
In late October 2015, 45 experiential Jewish educators came to the Kaplan Mitchell Retreat and Conference Center at Ramah Darom, in Clayton, Georgia, to learn, to reflect, and to form a network for experiential Jewish educators. This inaugural retreat launched a new collaborative initiative funded through the Jim Joseph Foundation’s Education Initiative—the combined $45 million grant to three ...More

Better Teacher Training and Support Creates Better Teachers

By Renee Rubin Ross on July 21st, 2014

Through the Jim Joseph Foundation’s investments in Hebrew Union College—Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC), The Jewish Theological Seminary, Yeshiva University, the Day School Leadership for Teaching (DeLeT) program, and the Jewish New Teacher Project, the Foundation has invested millions of dollars in educator training and support. The rationale behind this is straight forward: more well-trained and supported teachers and educators will lead to more effective and compelling learning experiences for young Jews, the central goal of the Foundation. Strengthening teacher training and support has a number of elements, as two presentations at last month’s annual conference of the Network for Research in Jewish Education (NJRE) suggest. One element is continually evaluating the quality and effectiveness of the programs designed to ...More

Developing Dynamic Educators: Positive Results of the Education Initiative

By on October 28th, 2013

This past summer, more than 73,000 Jewish youth attended summer camp to see friends and have fun. At the same time, whether or not they were always aware, they engaged in experiential Jewish learning led by dynamic and inspiring educators. This immersive environment is indicative of our understanding that Jewish learning occurs in myriad ways in a variety of settings. However, whether at camp or school or anywhere else, effective Jewish learning is dependent on having equally as effective Jewish educators. How can teachers bring a relevant, accessible and modern Judaism to the classroom, the campus, the bunk and beyond?  How can they engage and inspire the “global citizens” who are the youth and young adults of today?  They need an ...More

Advancing Jewish Early Childhood Education through Coordination and Collaboration

By on April 17th, 2013

Jewish parents with young children are at a pivotal point in their connection to Jewish community and to their own Jewish identity.  The “disruption” of a couple becoming a family provides an opportunity for the Jewish community to offer services, social networks and educational programming (What Makes a Difference, and What Difference Does It Make?, Levisohn, 2013). Recognizing the unique opportunities for engagement and education of this population of young Jews (both adults and children!), the Jim Joseph Foundation has awarded grants to a variety of Jewish early childhood education initiatives, totaling $6.2 million over six years. Among the Foundation’s earliest investments was the Jewish Early Childhood Education Initiative (JECEI), a national entity with a regional agenda focusing on developing models of ...More

Education Initiative and Our Day of Learning

By on April 11th, 2013

It has been a long time since I updated readers on the progress being made on the Jim Joseph Foundation-funded Education Initiative.  The Initiative consists of three major grants of $15 million each to support graduate programs of education at Hebrew Union College (HUC), Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS), and Yeshiva University (YU).  The implementation period for these grants is 2009-2016. Let me start with the numbers:

  • 528 students who have received Jewish education degrees or certification since Spring 2010
  • 419 students currently enrolled in degree and graduate programs of certification
  • 13 new degree and certification programs have been established
Before one jumps to any conclusion about supply and demand equations of Jewish educators, it is important to note that 225 (54%) students participating in these ...More

Training Experiential Jewish Educators for an Evolving and Advancing Field

By on December 10th, 2012

Last month, my colleague Renee Rubin Ross discussed the changing role of today’s Jewish Educators (Jewish Education “in a Café, Under a Tree, or in a Dorm”) and the methods that these talented individuals employ to reach young Jews outside of traditional classroom settings.  Through Hillel, BBYO, the Foundation for Jewish Camp and many other organizations, the experiential education landscape is brimming with dynamic new experiments and we are watching closely, with our grantee partners, to learn from early results in the field. With a growing recognition that the most effective educational experiences are centered around a dynamic Jewish educator, the Jim Joseph Foundation embraces the importance of investing in new program models to ...More

The Jim Joseph Foundation invests in promising Jewish education grant initiatives. We partner with effective organizations that seek to inspire young people to discover the joy of living vibrant Jewish lives.