From Our Blog

The Importance of Individualized Identities

By Michael Kay on July 26th, 2016

Editor's Note: The Jim Joseph Foundation supports Jewish educator training programs at institutions of higher education around the country. These programs help develop educators and education leaders with the skills to succeed in a variety of settings. This blog--the second in a series of reflections from participants in these training programs--is from Michael Kay, Head of School at Solomon Schechter of Westchester, who received his Ph.D. at New York University’s program in education and Judaic studies. During the summer of 2014, a recent graduate of our High School experienced one of the preeminent rites of passage of those pre-college months: learning the identity of his soon-to-be-roommate. The excitement of the moment wore off quickly, however, ...More

The fluidity of Jewishness

By Ilana Horwitz on July 25th, 2016

Editor's Note: The Jim Joseph Foundation supports Jewish educator training programs at institutions of higher education around the country. These programs help develop educators and education leaders with the skills to succeed in a variety of settings. This blog--the first in a series of reflections from participants in these training programs--is from Ilana M. Horwitz, a Ph.D. Candidate in the Stanford Graduate School of Education Concentration in Education & Jewish Studies, with a focus on Sociology of Education. Ilana also is a Wexner Fellow/Davidson Scholar. “This is Rebecca. She’s Jewish.” This was often how Rebecca’s high-school friend introduced her to new people in their small New York town where few Jews lived. In these brief encounters with others, Rebecca’s Jewishness made her different. It made her ...More

Summer months at the Foundation and the Future of Jewish education

By Chip Edelsberg on June 29th, 2016

Work at the Jim Joseph Foundation this summer will be highly concentrated, as it has been these past ten summers. Immediately following the Foundation Board meeting in mid-July, we will begin preparing for another meeting with the Board of Directors in early September. At the moment, it appears that as many as a half dozen major grant proposals will be reviewed by Directors at these two meetings. With transition occurring at both the professional and governance levels, active change management is necessary in order to seamlessly "hand off" responsibilities to the incoming President and CEO and new Directors. This activity adds a measure of complexity to the Foundation's otherwise routine grantmaking processes; we rely on colleagues and technical assistance experts to ...More

A Look Back at Nadiv – What Have We Learned for the Future?

By Ramie Arian, Leah Nadich Meir, and Steven Green on June 15th, 2016

This blog appeared originally in eJewishPhilanthropy Five years ago, the Nadiv program was launched as an innovative pilot program involving six camp-school partnerships whose primary objective was enhancing and deepening the quality of Jewish education at the camps and enriching experiential education at the schools while building a mutually beneficial and sustainable camp-school model. The Nadiv model created six new full-time positions for experiential Jewish educators, each shared by a camp and a school in geographic proximity to each other. The educators, whose responsibilities were defined by each camp and school based on its needs, toggled their responsibilities between them. In most cases, this meant spending four days in the school during the academic year with one ...More

Counting All Educators, and Learning as We Count

By Dawne Bear Novicoff on May 31st, 2016

In San Francisco, the school year is about to end. Teachers and children (mine included!) are counting down the final days to summer. In the Jewish calendar, we are counting, too, but upwards rather than down as we mark the days of the Omer. The end of the school year is a special time – one of marking accomplishments and celebration of learning. It is also a time to celebrate educators. We bring them gifts, make cards and take a moment to acknowledge their centrality to the process and cycle of learning. At the Jim Joseph Foundation we do this daily. Since the Foundation’s inception, educating Jewish educators has been the first of three Foundation strategic priorities. To date, ...More

Exploring a Leadership Investment Strategy

By Seth Linden on February 22nd, 2016

“The children are the curriculum.” I read this quote on the wall of Ezra’s parent-teacher conference room, nodding in agreement and feeling grateful that my personal and professional lives have become so seamlessly intertwined.  In just over four months as a Program Officer for the Jim Joseph Foundation, I’ve become increasingly excited about how this new role combines my passions for education, philanthropy, and Judaism. I was raised by a family of educators; my brother, both parents, and several aunts and uncles teach (or used to teach) at the early childhood through graduate levels. I arrived at the Foundation after nearly 20 years in education myself—first as a high school math and science teacher, then as a social entrepreneur co-founding and ...More

A Year Unlike Any Other

By Chip Edelsberg on January 5th, 2016

2016 is unlike any other year at the Jim Joseph Foundation since I began working with Board Chair Al Levitt and the entire Board of Directors to build the organization that Jim Joseph, z”l, bestowed and envisioned. A schedule that calls for four of the Foundation’s Directors who were at the Board table a decade ago to rotate off the Board is now in effect. Dr. Susan Folkman concludes her dedicated service this first week of 2016. Dr. Folkman will be followed this year by Jerry Somers and Phyllis Cook, respectively (following the Foundation’s second and fourth 2016 Board meetings), each completing multiple terms as a founding Director. In addition to Directors’ departures, this is my final year as the Foundation’s ...More

Bringing Parents Along – A key to Life Centered Education

By Steven Green and Zelig Golden on September 24th, 2015

“When schools, families, and community groups work together to support learning, children tend to do better in school, stay in school longer, and like school more.[1]” This finding from a 2002 study affirmed a philosophy already held by many that guided significant national education policy and programs. Head Start, a program endorsed by President Lyndon Johnson in 1965, incorporated a family component[2]. Today, the idea is widely accepted that parental involvement in students’ educational pursuits provides lasting benefits for the students. Disparate competing programs such as No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top[3] incorporate this idea as a cornerstone. While parental involvement in secular learning is almost a given, this has not been ...More

It Takes a Strong Field to Make a Stronger Field

By Chip Edelsberg on May 6th, 2015

One of the Jim Joseph Foundation’s three strategic funding priorities is to build the field of Jewish education. But what does this actually mean? What actions does the Foundation take to work towards this goal? With these questions in mind, I took stock recently of how the Foundation’s field building efforts have manifested themselves. What’s especially noteworthy is how a strong field has helped Jewish education continue to evolve; how offerings both for educators and learners continue to expand; and how a strong field increases the power and strength of networks. The Foundation’s field building efforts take on various forms. In certain instances, we utilize the Foundation’s robust program of evaluation to share valuable learnings that we hope benefit the field. ...More

Making a Difference: A Look Back at 2013

By Chip Edelsberg on December 9th, 2013

As the year ends, there is a natural tendency to look back and to take stock of what occurred in 2013. This was a significant year in the evolution of the Jim Joseph Foundation—first and foremost because of the determined efforts of Foundation grantees. We continue to be grateful for grantee success in creating engaging, substantive learning experiences and for developing Jewish educators to teach in myriad types of learning environments. Early this year, we released the Foundation’s 2008 – 2012 Summary Report. This report offers a snapshot of grantees’ achievements and insights about the Foundation’s own expectations for the years to come. We noted that “several of our major, multi-year grants will soon expire” and that “evaluations of ...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.