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Monday, July 08, 2013

Giving our Teachers What They Deserve

[Here's a little something that I thought was worth sharing.  Maybe you know a Jewish teacher worthy of recognition...]

"Jewish Continuity" has become a byword for the concern that many people in the Jewish community feel about the future of Judaism in the diaspora. The subject is particularly important to Jewish educators who feel the weight of the community's alarm because, whatever solutions are proposed, they all point to Jewish education as the core element that will ensure a strong and vibrant Jewish society of the future.

Countless Jewish organizations and institutions devote themselves to the question of how to educate upcoming generations of Jewish leaders, activists, and members in a way that will inspire them to become active members and leaders in the Jewish world. Some of these organizations identify with a particular stream or philosophy of Judaism while others promote a specific educational mode, project or framework for Jewish learning.

As Jewish leadership focuses on Jewish education, a few groups have decided to focus on individual Jewish educators. A creative and effective Jewish educator can make all the difference in a young person's life, inspiring, motivating and modeling behavior that the student will, hopefully, wish to emulate in his future life. To address the importance of Jewish educators in creating quality diaspora Jewish education, several Jewish educator awards have been established. These awards aim to acknowledge the work of effective Jewish educators and set a higher standard for all Jewish teachers nationwide.
 
Grinspoon-Steinhardt Awards
The Steinhardt Foundation, the Grinspoon Foundation and the JESNA forum for Jewish Education have partnered to create the Grinspoon-Steinhardt Awards for Excellence in Jewish Education.  This award was created to acknowledge the influence of classroom-based teachers on the Jewish lives and future community involvement of their students. Grinspoon-Steinhardt award recipients are recognized for their demonstrations of exceptional achievements in the field of Jewish education as well as for their service as effective Jewish role models for their students.

Milken Educator Awards
Lowell Milken from the Milken Family Foundation created the MFF Jewish Educator Awards as a forum that recognizes the work of outstanding Jewish educators. The award is nationwide and is presented annually to deserving Jewish educators as a way of acknowledging their efforts in support of their students, their professional leadership and their relationship with the families and communities that rely on their teaching skills and their devotion to their work. Lowell Milken who also created a a number of non-Jewish education projects including TAP and the MEA, hopes to strengthen the moral of Jewish teachers through the award.

Helen Diller Family Awards for Excellence in Jewish Education
The Helen Diller Family Award for Excellence in Jewish Education presents an annual award to K-12 Jewish classroom-based educators who teach in the San Francisco Bay area. The award recognizes effective Jewish educators who transmit Jewish values and knowledge to their students through innovative and creative classroom approaches and strategies. Recipients of the Diller Awards do not need to be Jewish but are recognized for their demonstrated commitment to providing their students with a strong Jewish foundation within the Jewish educational system.

Association of Orthodox Jewish Teachers Awards
The Association of Orthodox Jewish Teachers presents its annual award to teachers who work within the New York Public School System. The award aims to recognize the efforts of educational personnel who strive to sensitize the school system, including New York Public School administrators, teachers and students, to the special concerns and needs of the Jewish community. The Association award emphasizes the activities of teachers and other educational professionals who present Jewish concerns and Judaism to the non-Jewish community.

Covenant Awards
The Covenant Award is awarded annually to three outstanding Jewish educators whose innovative educational models and practices have influenced their students' Jewish lives. Covenant Award honorees are recognized for having distinguished themselves in their classroom teaching skills, professional development, the arts, family education, storytelling, curriculum design, Tikkun Olam, adult education, leadership and other relevant areas of Jewish education.

Stuart I. Raskas Award
The Stuart I. Raskas Award operates out of the St. Louis branch of the Central Agency for Jewish Education (CAJE). The Raskas Awards recognize Jewish educators in the St. Louis region who have exemplified proficiency in subject matter, their dedication to Jewish education and their commitment to their students and families. Recipients of the Raskas Award automatically become that year's St. Louis nominee for Grinspoon-Steinhardt Award for Excellence in Jewish Education.

Posted by David Bogner on July 8, 2013 | Permalink

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