Bar-Ilan University’s Lookstein Center for Jewish Education
Receives $3.2 Million Grant from Jim Joseph Foundation to
Train Online Community of Jewish Educators 

April 6, 2009

Bar-Ilan University’s (BIU) Lookstein Center for Jewish Education has received a $3.2 million grant by the Jim Joseph Foundation to develop the Jim Joseph Foundation Fellowships-Leading Educators Online Program. After a highly selective nominating process, 14 top Jewish educators from throughout the United States will be accepted into the program’s first cohort. The two-year program will be facilitated by faculty and executive coaches of BIU’s Lookstein Center, which is part of Israel’s largest School of Education.

In making this grant announcement, Alvin T. Levitt, president of the Jim Joseph Foundation, said,

"The Jim Joseph Foundation is proud to work with Bar-Ilan University and its Lookstein Center on this innovative project. The Foundation believes the Fellowship will train a cohort of leaders who will connect educational professionals in ways that will produce a more vital and vibrant community of educators.”

This program, which will begin in October 2009, will impact in innovative ways on the broad American Jewish educational community. Educators in both formal (e.g. day and supplementary schools) and informal (e.g. camps, JCCs) Jewish education settings will be identified, trained and empowered to use ground-breaking technologies to develop and lead online collaborative communities in their professional fields.

"The highlight of this program will be the launch, development and cultivation of online communities of educators in the various fields of Jewish education, facilitating discussions and long-term online collaborative group projects,"

said Esther Feldman, a program co-director. Shalom Berger, the program's other co-director, added,

"It will change and enhance the way future Jewish educators around the world network, learn and grow."

This program will be among the comprehensive spectrum of services offered by the Lookstein Center, which trains Jewish educators in the Diaspora, offers high quality publications and curriculum services that enhance Jewish education worldwide, and provides a website monitored by educators that is full of top-notch resources. For nearly 30 years, the Lookstein Center has reached out, connected and enriched thousands of Jewish educators from all streams and backgrounds, enabling and enhancing Jewish learning in the U.S. and worldwide.

The Fellowship will offer ongoing professional development in leadership, group dynamics and educational techniques. It will include two retreats in the U.S. and a ten-day seminar in Israel during the first year, followed by a third retreat in the U.S., and final seminar in Israel during the second year. The Israel component will incorporate experiential learning and will take place at the Bar-Ilan University School of Education's new state-of-the-art facility, the Jim Joseph Building for Jewish Education and Values.

“This generous grant by the Jim Joseph Foundation will create a cadre of leading educators whose impact on Jewish education in the U.S. will be felt for years to come. During an era when Jewish identity and continuity are at the forefront of our community’s agenda, the launching of this program is urgently needed,”

said Mark Medin, Executive Vice President & CEO of American Friends of Bar-Ilan University (AFBIU).

As they grow and share their knowledge and expertise, Fellows will be positioned to advance the way Jewish educators work today. They will play an active role in creating and developing networking groups and practical resources that will be available to educators like themselves.

This Fellowship program is geared for highly rated educators in JCCs, Jewish camps, supplementary and day schools who are conversant with web technology. Nominees will need to meet diverse criteria in order to qualify for this initiative. They must be established professionals in their field, with the creativity and vision to stimulate, inspire and influence their peers.

Fellows will continue in their present positions and will receive an annual stipend of $10,000 for each of the two years of the program, in addition to travel, room and board at the seminars and retreats.

For more information, contact Ron Solomon, West Coast Regional Director of AFBIU, at 310-652-3601 or email ron.solomon@afbiu.org.

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