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Football Requires Trust – So Does Our Work

Every Sunday, my family and my cousins gathered in the linoleum-covered basement of my grandparents’ home in St. Paul, Minnesota. We sat at one large table, eating fabulous freshly caught fish or melt-in-your-mouth brisket, and talking politics and sports – and hope. Eternal optimism runs rampant on that side of my family. That optimism was …

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Leading from the Gyroscope

What can contemporary research on leadership say about what it takes to lead Jewish day schools? As a day school graduate, current parent of a day school student, and recent member of a Head of School search committee, I feel deep gratitude and respect for the faculty and leaders who commit themselves to making our …

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Sustainability by the Numbers

The following is a text version of the speech Amy Katz, Executive Director of PEJE, delivered at the Recruitment & Retention Academy Summit in Chicago. In this piece, she references both the Book of Numbers and our keynote speaker, Mike Connor, on identifying a school’s value proposition and defining its brand identity.   In 1997, …

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A Relationship Map that Leads Somewhere

Does this story sound familiar? Board members embrace the idea of launching – or growing – your organization’s major gifts program. They get the importance of donor-centered, peer-to-peer fundraising and are ready to partner with staff to establish and deepen relationships with top prospects. The systems are in place, the case has been written, and …

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“Billions For Education?” Should the State of Israel Be a Funder of Day School Education in the Diaspora?

“Don’t worry America, Israel is behind you.” The popular t-shirt bearing this slogan usually features a print of an F-16 jet and is ubiquitous at souvenir shops along Jerusalem’s Ben Yehuda Street. How’s this for a new slogan, “Don’t worry overburdened American Jewish parents, the government of Israel will help fund your children’s Jewish day …

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Jewish Day Schools in the Communal Ecosystem Today and Tomorrow. And the Day After That.

We recently saw the launch of “Securing a Thriving Jewish Future,” a global conversation hosted by the Jewish Agency for Israel to discover exciting ideas in the areas of (1) education; (2) the connection between Israel and World Jewry; and (3) collective and individual Jewish identity. I spent some time engaging in some of the …

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Billions from Jerusalem: New Financing for Jewish Day School Education

This is one of a series of essays on Jewish day schools in Sustainable Stories, a project of PEJE, the Partnership for Excellence in Jewish Education. Be sure to check out the “Billions from Jerusalem” webinar, featuring Yosef Abramowitz, PEJE’s Amy Katz, Alan Hoffman of the Jewish Agency for Israel, and Gil Preuss of CJP—Greater Boston’s …

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Day School Education, American Style

In 2011, Professor Jonathan Krasner published a book called The Benderly Boys and American Education. The volume won the National Jewish Book Award and it prompted Barry Holtz to write in the Jewish Daily Forward: “It is not an exaggeration to say that this volume is the most important piece of historical writing about American Jewish education to have …

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Asset Optimization, Part 1: “It Starts with Scrabble™”

After working in Wall Street for several years, and spending some time as a carpenter, Nick Stoneman was hired in 2003 as the Head of School at Shattuck St. Mary’s School  (SSM), about 50 miles south of Minneapolis. In just 10 years, Stoneman helped the school move from a deficit to a surplus of close …

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Confronting the Realities of the Pew Report: Abrams Academy Goes on the Offensive

In the wake of the Pew Charitable Trusts’ “Portrait of Jewish Americans,” many anxious Jewish communal leaders are reexamining their priorities as they bob in the currents of uncertainty. The report sketches a somber picture of declining affinity with the Jewish religion and Israel, particularly among younger people. Sadly, even among those people who consider …

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