Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute
of Religion's New York School of Education Awarded a Covenant Foundation
Grant and a UJA-Federation Grant
Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion's (HUC-JIR) New
York School of Education received a 2001 Covenant Foundation Grant
for its innovative program, "Gateways for Learning: Professional Advancement
in Jewish Education," and a UJA-Federation Grant to begin its Educators
Outreach Initiative. Jo Kay, the Director of the New York School of
Education and a 2001 individual Covenant Award winner for outstanding
Jewish educators, will lead the new educational program and recruiting
initiatives. Both are designed to help ease the acute shortage of
qualified educators throughout the Jewish community.
Through the "Gateways for Learning" program, the New York School
of Education will offer structured professional development opportunities
leading participants into continuing education and certificate programs
in Family, Adult, Informal, and Day School Education (which may
later be applied to the Master of Arts in Religious Education program).
The "Educators Outreach Initiative" will coordinate a variety of
broad-based strategies to recruit students for the "Gateways for
Learning" programs as well as for a redesigned Master of Arts in
Religious Education that starts in September 2002 with both full-
and part-time enrollment options.
Both efforts feature partnerships with an array of Jewish organizations
and agencies such as the Union of American Hebrew Congregations,
Board of Jewish Education of Greater New York, Jewish Community
House of Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, and Women's American ORT.
The Covenant Foundation's three-year $180,000 grant for Gateways
will enable students of all ages and backgrounds to begin careers
in Jewish education and those already teaching in the field to improve
their credentials. Continuing education opportunities will include
evening courses in educational theory and practice, and courses
in Judaica, including Modern Hebrew, Bible, History, and Rabbinics,
offered in conjunction with HUC-JIR's New York Kollel. An intensive
Summer Institute will begin in 2003.
The Covenant Foundation, established in 1990 by the Crown Family
Foundation in partnership with the Jewish Education Service of North
America, seeks to strengthen endeavors in education that perpetuate
the identity and heritage of the Jewish people. The Foundation annually
makes grants for innovative programs in Jewish education and awards
to outstanding Jewish educators.
The Educators Outreach Initiative is funded by a four-year $168,000
grant from UJA-Federation of New York's Commission on Jewish Identity
and Renewal. Jo Kay noted the positive response across movement
lines in assisting with recruitment: "Everyone is very excited about
taking on these projects, and helping teach and recruit to develop
educators." Recruitment activities - including a media and public
information campaign, targeted professional development, career
and staff development sessions that highlight the School's new programs
and faculty, and an Outreach Task Force with a special focus on
recruiting emigres from the Former Soviet Union - already are underway.
UJA-Federation of New York was founded in the early 20th century
by a group of local Jews "to care for those in need, strengthen
Jewish peoplehood, and foster Jewish renaissance in New York, in
Israel, and throughout the world." Among the strategic objectives
of its new Commission on Jewish Identity and Renewal is helping
organizations recruit, retain, and train the most talented and skilled
professionals for Jewish educational settings.
HUC-JIR's New York School of Education is already interviewing
students for the new, more intensive, yet flexible master's program
starting in September. After opting to spend either a year in Israel
or to participate in an eight-week summer study program there, students
return to New York where they study Jewish studies, Hebrew, and
Jewish education for formal and informal settings (in classrooms,
as well as in clinically supervised internships in the field). They
may choose to specialize in Family and Adult Education (to become
Directors of Family Education, Program Directors for Family and
Parent Study in synagogues, schools or communal agencies, or Directors
of Adult Learning) or Informal Education (to work in youth programming,
camping, Israel trips, JCCs, museum education, or any other educational
setting outside the classroom). A specialization in Day School Education
is also planned.
Dr. Jonathan Woocher, President of Jewish Education Service of
North America, praised the new program: "HUC-JIR's newly redesigned
and expanded M.A. program in Jewish Education could not be more
timely or more welcome. Offering the option of full- or part-time
study, for those already in the field or embarking on a 'second
career,' the program will help address the acute shortage of quality
teachers and educational administrators, as well as the rapidly
expanding need for family, adult, and informal educators. The positive
impact of this program will be felt throughout North America."