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Five New Year’s Resolutions for the Jewish Day School Field

It is that time of year. Secular New Year’s resolution time. Since I spend most of my waking hours managing the PEJE Atidenu Recruitment & Retention and Governance & Fundraising Academy programs (generously co-funded by The AVI CHAI Foundation), my New Year’s thoughts tend to be about day school sustainability. Not as stimulating as resolving …

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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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The Emotional High that We Need to Communicate

I just watched the video of James Taylor’s new song, “Angels of Fenway” showing beautiful baseball images about the Red Sox’ long struggle—and the euphoria of the end of the 86-year drought between World Series wins. What a moment! I grew up in Minnesota as a huge sports fan, especially baseball and football, and after …

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Into the Clouds (and the Cloud): The Lessons of PEJE’s Migrations

PEJE has ascended. We recently sojourned from Broad Street, in Boston’s Financial District, up to the 16th floor of CIC Boston, a building that describes itself as “much more than office space; it is an innovation ecosystem.” We’re now settled in this cutting-edge atmosphere, high in the sky, surrounded on all sides by entrepreneurial energy. …

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Be the Advocate You Wish to See in the World

One of the biggest challenges facing the day school world is the uncomfortable silence—both locally and nationally—that subsists around day school in many sectors of our Jewish community. Our responsibility as advocates is to counter this silence, address the accompanying lack of support for the Jewish day school enterprise in some communities, and promote positive …

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The Reform Day School Externship: The Business of Building JDS Advocates

At PEJE, we always stress the importance of two goals that align with our long-term vision: (1) community collaboration and (2) advocating strongly for the value of JDS. Turns out, we’re not the only ones who believe in this powerful combination of ideas. We’re excited to tell you about a superb capacity-building project: The Reform Day School Externship. Now in its fourth year, the externship is a model of collaboration of between PARDES: Day Schools of Reform Judaism, host member schools across North America, Hebrew Union College-­­Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR), and the Union for Reform Judaism (UJR). The school-based experiential learning component of the externship is bringing 10 specially selected HUC-JIR students to The Rashi School in Dedham, Massachusetts this week, May 21-25.

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The Pep Factor: Athletics and Your Day School Pitch

The JDS social media sphere has been buzzing in recent weeks about sports. With the change in the seasons (though for some parts of the country it’s unclear whether we’re talking winter to spring, or spring to summer…), basketball championships and hockey tournaments are the talk of the town. In a society where Jewish visibility …

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Make It Fresh! Engaging Your Constituents with Language that Excites Them

The following is a guest post from Joelle Kaufman, President of the Board of Wornick Jewish Day School in Foster City, CA. See her previous post on the PEJE Blog here. It’s time for Jewish Day School leaders to use fresh language when we talk about the value of our schools. The “continuity” argument is …

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Elevate Your Pitch at the PEJE Pitch Slam

Sooner or later, every day school professional has to deliver the Elevator Pitch.

You know, the efficient, one-minute story designed to enchant a prospective donor (or parent or Board member) into saying YES to your JDS. The problem with pitching: It’s impossible to see yourself in action. JDS pitches are usually private affairs, just between you and, say, the would-be donor. There is no footage to be reviewed in the after-game analysis. Who can remember exactly what was said, let alone how you looked or if you delivered a compelling pitch. Until now.

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Your Invitation to a Celebration of JDS Innovation

One of the things PEJE learned from poring over 141 Challenge Award applications—Yes: 141!—is that there’s a considerable amount of innovation in the Jewish day school world. Schools are pushing themselves like never before to rethink their approach to development, admissions, and advocacy, with a clear eye on long-term financial sustainability.Reading all the great work you’ve done, we thought, “Why aren’t schools doing more to make this public?” And then we realized: We can help publicize your efforts!

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