Access to both day school and supplementary (part-time) Jewish education options continue to be a significant priority for our work and our community. Day school affordability, identified by the Jewish Education Task Force as a particular concern, dominated our conversation about day school education this past year.
To address this, Jewish Federation and the Jewish Community Foundation are working with donors who have a specific interest in supporting Jewish education. Leon z”l and Rose Marie Glassman are two such donors, and in 2017 they made the second of two $1 million gifts to the Leon Glassman Fund for Jewish Continuity through Education endowment at the Jewish Community Foundation. Disbursements from this fund have enabled us to increase the amount in tuition subsidies available to the six local schools, so more children can reap the benefits of a Jewish day school education.
We have also been working to implement a variety of new approaches to attract families who are not currently engaged with any existing part-time Jewish education options. Our work has greatly benefited from special project support that is enabling us to identify and pilot some specific initiatives to both increase enrolment and maximize retention in part-time Jewish education.
Among the initiatives we have undertaken are a community-wide survey on piloting Jewish education programming through the public schools, expanding professional development opportunities for Jewish educators, launching a new part-time Jewish education innovation grant program, and exploring options specifically for Hebrew-speaking families.
Jewish Federation created and hired for the new position of director of security, marking our organization’s single most important investment to date in the ongoing safety of our community and its institutions. We have also made significant progress towards these key priorities based on recommendations from our Community Security Advisory Committee:
Cultivating relationships with local Jewish organizations, law enforcement agencies, and other strategic partners.
Facilitating the delivery of security preparedness workshops for our community institutions.
Providing leadership and reactive support around incidents or issues of concern impacting our community.