Alumni Network - Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion
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Mission Statement

The DeLeT (Day School Leadership through Teaching) Alumni Network (DAN) is a support and resource network of the DeLeT fellowship program. It helps DeLeT alumni to continue to grow as Jewish educators, teachers, and teacher-leaders throughout their careers. Engagement in the DAN fosters mutually supportive and lasting relationships between and among DeLeT programs, alumni, and faculty.


The vision of the DeLeT Alumni Network is to nurture an alumni community embracing reflective, collaborative and inquiry-based teaching. The DAN advocates on behalf of Jewish day school educators throughout their careers, reflecting practitioners’ voices within the diverse communities of North American day schools.

Project Leaders

The DAN employs a group of alumni who serve as close advisors to DAN Leadership and help to carry out the DAN's mission. There are several advisory areas, including: communications, community building and professional growth.


The DAN benefits from its joint work with its academic sites, Brandeis University and Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion's Jack H. Skirball Campus in Los Angeles and the guidance and generosity from our funder, Laura Lauder, and the Laura and Gary Lauder Family Venture Philanthropy Fund.

Brandeis University logo HUCJIR logo    Laura and Gary Lauder Family Venture Philanthropy Fund logo
Brandeis University Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion Laura and Gary Lauder Family Venture Philanthropy Fund


DeLeT Info

DeLeT stands for Day School Leadership Through Teaching.

Delet is the word for doorway in Hebrew. 

DeLeT is an intensive 13-month pre-service Jewish day school teacher education program founded in 2001 by Laura Heller Lauder as a venture philanthropy start-up with the help of Jewish educational leaders Dr. Sharon Feiman-Nemser, at Brandeis University in the Boston area on the East coast, and Dr. Michael Zeldin, at Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles on the West coast.   

Designed to launch college graduates into successful careers as Jewish educators and classroom teachers serving North American Jewish day schools, DeLeT continues today as a course of graduate study offered by the Schools of Education at Brandeis and HUC-JIR in Los Angeles.

DeLeT offers aspiring teachers: 

  • World-class learning with professors in Education, Jewish education, Jewish studies
  • A full-year internship in a general studies classroom with the guidance of a mentor teacher (Placements through Brandeis are in the Boston area; day school placements through HUC-JIR are in the Los Angeles area and locations on the west coast.)
  • Generous stipends
  • A cohort-based program designed to help students grow as Jewish educators and teacher leaders 
  • Guidance towards completion of requirements for state certification
  • Support and access to information about employment opportunities 
  • Collaboration and continuing education with faculty and colleagues through the DeLeT Alumni Network (the DAN)

A Short History of DeLeT

DeLeT launched as a national venture philanthropy start-up, the first of its kind in the field of Jewish Education.  From 2001 through 2005, DeLeT operated under the administrative and fiscal umbrella of JESNA, the Jewish Educational Service of North America.  Dr. Jonathan Woocher z'l, Executive Director of JESNA, advocated for this innovative experiment in venture philanthropy within the field of Jewish Education by providing oversight and leadership throughout the pilot and the year of transition when Brandeis University and HUC-JIR formally agreed to sustain and integrate the DeLeT program into their individual institutional structures. 

In the pilot stage, educational leadership teams under the guidance of Dr. Sharon Feiman-Nemser at Brandeis University, and Dr. Michael Zeldin at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles, worked collaboratively with CEO and Executive Director Jane West Walsh to create a national vision for the curriculum, establish criteria for the national recruitment and selection of the first five cohorts of DeLeT fellows, create administrative support mechanisms for DeLeT students on each campus; and form partnerships with the Jewish day schools that agreed to place DeLeT students as interns  in classrooms with mentor teachers who would support them as assistant teachers who were early practitioners. Early cohorts of students received a Certificate in Jewish Day School Teaching from each institution. 

Notable Jewish educational leadership with provided during the national pilot and transition stages by Rabbi Dr. Josh Elkin, then Executive Director of the PEJE Partnership for Excellence in Jewish Education, the central address for advocacy and support for Jewish day schools and day school leaders in North America at that time; and Dr. Richard Marker, then Executive Director of the Bronfman Foundation, provided ongoing careful consultation and that guided decision-making that led to a successful transition of the pilot.

Parallel, Yet Different, Academic Programs

While at the time DeLeT launched, private schools were not required to hire state certified teachers, a growing number of Jewish day schools began to make this a requirement of their own. As the pilot progressed and the formal transition to each academic institution began, Brandeis and HUC-JIR academic leaders worked with their own state and institutional structures to provide the guidance and academic support that would give graduates the qualifications they needed for employment in area day schools.

As a result, DeLeT now accepts students from across the nation through each separate program integral to the School of Education at Brandeis University in Massachusetts, and the School of Education at Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion in California. Today both programs offer excellent, parallel, yet different, graduate programs of Jewish day school teacher education.

Program Variations

The DeLeT program offered through Brandeis University's School of Education offers students an opportunity to study on the campus of a world-class institution of higher learning with a blended cohort of aspiring teachers who will eventually be teaching not only in a Jewish day school, but also in other private and public schools. This program offers graduates a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) degree. For more information, please visit the program's Web site.

The DeLeT program offered through the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion School of Education Los Angeles campus offers graduate students an opportunity to study on one of the four campuses of a world-class seminary that prepares Jewish educators, rabbis, cantors and Jewish communal service professionals for successful careers serving as teachers and leaders of the Jewish people throughout the world. For more information, please visit the program's Web site.

Giving Back to DeLeT

We want to thank you for your involvement in the DeLeT Alumni Network. Every event you attend or comment you post in an online conversation helps us strengthen our community of professionals who are dedicated to reflective practice and collaboration. 

No matter where we are in life, DeLeT played an immeasurable role in shaping us as educators. DeLeT invested in us; we received this education as either a fully or partially subsidized gift.

Please consider giving back to DeLeT.

Donate to DeLeT at HUC graphic with linkDonate to DeLeT at Brandeis

For Brandeis and HUC, indicate "DeLeT" in the designation area marked "other."  

Every little bit counts. DeLeT is funded by individual donors and organizational grants. Often, potential donors ask the question, "What percentage of your alumni have financially given back?" When donors see an alumni base that is committed to seeing the program succeed, they are more likely to invest themselves. 

By donating an amount that is meaningful to you, you are helping to ensure that DeLeT will be able to shape the future of Jewish day school education. Thank you, in advance, for your support.