Hadashot V'Hidushim
PEJE Assembly Enriches, Energizes Record Numbers
2008 Assembly
In a testament to the growth of the Jewish day school movement, a record-breaking 1300-plus attendees, session leaders, exhibitors, and sponsors converged on Boston last month for the 2008 PEJE Assembly for Jewish Day School Education. "Linked for Learning, Positioned for Growth" connected representatives from 275 schools, 189 non-schools, 40 US states and Canadian provinces, and several foreign countries. Over the course of three days, delegates attended more than 100 sessions in the areas of advocacy and recruitment, financial sustainability, leadership and governance, educational excellence, and collaboration.

Two high-profile keynote speakers set the tone for the event. In a stirring speech, Natan Sharansky, globally renowned Soviet dissident, human rights activist and former Israeli minister, made a sociopolitical case for cultural identity and Jewish day school education. "What has to be said to parents who don't send their children to day schools?" he asked. "Parents want their children to be part of the bigger world. [But enjoying global] freedom is meaningless if you can't express your identity. Identity is what makes your life bigger than your physical existence."

Patrick Bassett, NAIS President, opened minds with "The Right-Brained Future: Creating 21st Century Schools and Strategic Indicators."
Explaining that today's youth are more "right-brained" due to the digital culture of "unlimited access, 24/7, to everything," Bassett outlined creative, actionable strategies to help schools prepare students for "jobs that don't yet exist" and for solving tomorrow's yet-unidentified problems.

Assembly participants linked and learned at several interactive forums. At PEJE's first-ever field-wide World Café, attendees engaged in a dynamic series of conversations focusing on leadership and affordability. They also met face-to-face with their PEJE Communities of Practice and received 79 hours of free coaching (roughly valued at $13,000) from PEJE consultants.

In addition, the Assembly celebrated the philanthropists and donors who generated a total of $15 million for the 146 day schools receiving 2008 MATCH grants, and applauded the 86 schools that won PEJE's first-ever Marketing Awards.

Did you miss "A Taste of Coaching" at the Assembly?  Take advantage of the PEJE Leadership Line, a one-hour phone call with a PEJE coach at no charge. To arrange your call, please email the leadershipline.

June 25 Training on Strategic Financial Modeling Tool (SFMT)
If you attended a prerequisite introductory workshop earlier this year on the PEJE Strategic Financial Modeling Tool, take note that a one-day full training on the tool will be held on Wednesday, June 25 at UJA-Federation of New York, 8:30 am-5:30 pm. Teams of Board Chairs, Heads of School, Treasurers, and Business Managers are encouraged to participate.  Package includes purchase of the SFMT software, group training, and post-training private consultation. For more information, email financialmodel@yardsticksuite.org.

Those who meet the prerequisite are invited to register now.

The Strategic Financial Modeling Tool is one of the newer products in PEJE's growing Day School Peer Yardstick™ Suite of Tools. For more information about the Financial Modeling Tool and future trainings in other parts of the country, email financialmodel@yardsticksuite.org

5769 PEJE Calendar
Vote for Favorite Sites in Israel
Submit Events to be Listed

In celebration of Israel's 60th year, the PEJE Jewish Day School Calendar for 5769 will feature sites in Israel each month.  Vote for your favorite Holy Land places and see the calendar later this summer for the winners.

Is your school or organization sponsoring events of interest to the entire day school field during the next school year? If you'd like PEJE to publicize them in our 2008-2009 Jewish Day School Calendar, please send event dates and titles to Suzanne Kling, PEJE Communications Officer.

Continue Assembly Linking and Learning (Even If You Didn't Attend):
Join Upcoming CoP Calls

CoP logoThe PEJE Communities of Practice (CoPs)
invite you to join your colleagues to digest Assembly learning, hear what you missed, and discuss next steps. CoP membership is not required, and you'll get a chance to sample the learning, networking, and support that come with CoP membership.

May 22 - Professional Development CoP Call
Sharing the Learning; Learning about Sharing; Planning Induction, and Schedules

May 28 - Leadership CoP Call
How to Make your Board More Effective

May 28 - Israel Engagement CoP Call
Beyond Distancing : what materials can we use to engage middle and high school students with Israel

June 12 - Israel Engagement CoP Call
Summary of the Year

June 17 - Professional Development CoP Call

Review of End of Year Survey Results and Planning for '08-'09

Jun 18 - Financial Management CoP Call
Property and Liability Insurance

June 25 - Leadership CoP Call
Board Contract (Brit)

MyJewishLearning: Why Shavuot Hasn't Gotten Its Due

MyJewish Learning Logo"If observance were a function of theology, Shavuot would be the most widely observed of Jewish holidays. But precisely the opposite is the case among modern Jews. No major festival suffers from greater neglect," writes Rabbi Ismar Schorsch in "Why Shavuot Has Few Rituals."  Why does this celebration of Divine revelation get short shrift, and what is the relationship between ritual and theology? These and other questions are answered in Schorsch's essay, one of many Shavuot articles on MyJewishLearning.com. Others discuss the holiday's all-night tikkun, the controversy surrounding the ten commandments, and Jews' suffering and their covenant with God.
May 2008 ˇ Iyar 5768
PEJE Assembly
Did You Miss "A Taste of Coaching" at the Assembly?
June 25 Training on Strategic Financial Modeling Tool.
5769 PEJE Calendar
Continue Assembly Linking and Learning (Even If You Didn't Attend)
MyJewishLearning: Why Shavuot Hasn't Gotten Its Due
Day School Growth and Excellence: Linking Assembly Learning Back Home
Day School Growth and Excellence: Linking Assembly Learning Back Home

The theme of the 2008 PEJE Assembly for Jewish Day School Education was "Linked for Learning, Positioned for Growth," and the 1300-plus participants networked and accessed knowledge for three whirlwind days. But that was just the beginning. As attendees continue to share information and inspiration back home, they're adding links to a growing chain of learning-and strengthening the day school movement continent-wide.

How did schools get the most mileage from last month's event, and how can yours do the same? How are schools keeping the Assembly momentum going, and how can you-even if you didn't attend? The answer to the second question will take time to unfold, but here are some early reports, as well as advice from PEJE:

* Solomon Schechter Day School of Greater Boston (K-8) in Newton, MA, sent 13 volunteer and professional leaders to the Assembly (with no travel expenses, the school took full advantage of the opportunity to participate in "their own backyard").  During the event, attendees met informally to debrief and ensure session coverage. Afterward, each participant filled in a grid with the names of the sessions s/he attended, two key takeaways per session, and comments.

A week later, attendees met back at school and shared what they learned. According to Yael Miller, Schechter's Vice President of Marketing and Communications and Incoming President, several key themes emerged: understanding messaging, stewardship, perpetuating professional leadership, and ensuring sustainability and affordability. As Schechter plans for next year (and beyond), it will consider applying its new knowledge to these areas. "The school is 47 years old, and we're still learning," says Miller. "We realize we have the ability to reinvent ourselves."

Related Resources
Register for NAIS Summer Institutes

This summer NAIS will offer intensive leadership institutes across the United States. The institutes focus on leadership in sustainability, new heads, diversity, and new financial aid professionals. To learn more, view video highlights, and register, visit the NAIS website.

Center for Creative Leadership's Free E-Letter

The Center for Creative Leadership's free electronic newsletter, Leading Effectively, features tools and tips for managers, the Center's latest leadership research, examples of how organizations put theory into practice, and perspectives from thought leaders. Each issue also features related publications and affordable webinars. Visit the Center's website to subscribe online and search the archives for past issues.

Israel Interactive Multimedia Program

Itai Tennenbaum is an Israeli educator, guide, and recent emissary to Minneapolis who knows that the best way to connect American kids to Israel is to personalize the experience. He and a team of educators created Israel Interactive, a DVD-based interactive multimedia program designed for educators to use with students. For more information, visit Israel Interactive, watch the demo, or email Tennenbaum.

Melitz Israel @ 60 Educational Celebration Kit

The Melitz Israel @ 60 Educational Celebration Kit is available for purchase and immediate shipment. For details about kit contents, including Israeli music, recipes, photos, maps, films, and flags, visit the Melitz website and view a two-minute video clip. If you have any questions, please email Melitz.

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