DeLeT Program Celebrates Alumni Achievements at First-Ever Conference - Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion
Skip to main content

DeLeT Program Celebrates Alumni Achievements at First-Ever Conference

Main Content
Thursday, March 26, 2009

DeLeT Program Celebrates

Alumni achievements at First-Ever Conference


DeLeT – Day School Leadership through Teaching – named to honor the Hebrew word for an entry into a career in day school education – has received national attention as a program of teacher education which is enriching and revitalizing Jewish day school education with its unique vision of developing Jewish teacher leadership. This vision is informed by purposeful teaching that integrates the Jewish and general curricula and school experiences.


To build on this foundation and further the vision and successes of DeLeT, Laura Lauder the founder of DeLeT and the Gary and Laura Lauder Foundation sponsored the DeLeT Alumni Conference, March 13-16, 2009. Among the attendees were representatives of many of the foundations that helped to bring DeLeT into existence – Don Sylvan, CEO, JESNA, Joni Blinderman, The Covenant Foundation, Chip Edelsberg, The Jim Joseph Foundation, and Rabbi Richard Marker who headed the DeLeT Advisory Board.


The 3-day conference theme was “MeHazon L'Metziut-From Vision to Reality: Teacher Leaders Integrating Vision into Practice.” The conference was designed to initiate and sustain wider, ongoing contact and collaboration among DeLeT alumni. 


Attendees came from 14 states and represented the past six years of graduates from the program as well as this year's HUC-JIR and Brandeis University fellows. Current fellows were also in attendance to be introduced to the broader community of colleagues and received a preview of the many rich possibilities of work that they will be able to do in the field. 


Key facets of the conference program included:


-          An opportunity for alumni to revisit DeLeT's vision of teaching and conversations around its realization in Jewish day schools.


-          Sessions that highlighted study and reflection on the current practice of DeLeT alumni in day schools around the country.


-          Sessions taught by HUC and Brandeis faculty members and DeLeT Alumni.


-          A Sunday concert featuring Debbie Friedman and Danny Maseng.


-          An address on “The Soul of Jewish Teaching” delivered by Rabbi Ed Feinstein, Rabbi of Valley Beth Shalom Congregation, a Rabbi-educator and former Head of a Jewish day school.


-          Establishment of a national DeLeT alumni network and professional learning community.


Alumni commented:


-          "These sessions reminded me of much of what excited me about teaching when I began. I'm returning to my school rejuvenated!"


-          "I am now able to put my teaching situation INTO perspective, and see that there is much room for growth and many pluses to my professional situation!  It is invigorating to realize that!!


-          “Seeing other people making changes in their schools was inspirational to me!"


-          “Teachers are not exclusively giving direct service to students in the classroom. We also develop curriculum, observe each other, plan and study lessons, do research, learn and grow"


Available for interview:  Dr. Michael Zeldin, Professor of Jewish Education, Director, Rhea Hirsch School of Education, and/or Rivka Ben Daniel, Education Director, DeLeT.


DeLeT, a program of the Rhea Hirsch School of Education at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles, is dedicated to fostering teaching excellence in Jewish day schools in North America.  DeLeT carries out its mission through collaborative recruitment strategies, a 13-month fellowship program that combines academic coursework with mentored experience in Jewish day schools, guidance from a Clinical Educator in the internship experience, mentor teacher institutes, days of study for heads of school, and a program of induction support for DeLeT alumni in their first few years of teaching.


The Rhea Hirsch School of Education, located on the Los Angeles campus of HUC-JIR, was founded in 1969 in response to a growing demand for the development of a cadre of Jewish educational leaders. In addition to its outstanding academic courses, the Rhea Hirsch School was a pioneer in the field of clinical education and mentoring. Supported by a grant from the Wexner Foundation, the academic faculty worked together with the clinical faculty to develop an exemplary protocol for similar institutions throughout North America.  The Rhea Hirsch School has graduated more than 275 Jewish educators who work in congregations, day schools, camps, Israel programs, central agencies, and academic institutions in the United States, Canada, England, Australia and Israel. Over the years, the school has become a center for research in the field of Jewish education and a means for outreach and service to Jewish educational institutions, primarily those of the Reform Movement.


Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is North America's leading institution of higher Jewish education and the academic, spiritual, and professional leadership development center of Reform Judaism. HUC-JIR educates leaders to serve North American and world Jewry as rabbis, cantors, educators, and nonprofit management professionals, and offers graduate programs to scholars and clergy of all faiths. With centers of learning in Cincinnati, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, and New York, HUC-JIR's scholarly resources comprise the renowned Klau Library, The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, museums, research institutes and centers, and academic publications. In partnership with the Union for Reform Judaism and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, HUC-JIR sustains the Reform Movement's congregations and professional and lay leaders. HUC-JIR's campuses invite the community to cultural and educational programs illuminating Jewish heritage and fostering interfaith and multiethnic understanding.