I recently spent an intense week in Israel with my Leading Edge CEO On-Boarding cohort. Sitting in a café overlooking the walls of the Old City in a rare moment of quiet, I was struck by how, at least in Israel, some things never change (the vista of those ancient walls, for example) and yet some things seem to emerge overnight (when did the Orient Hotel appear in the lot that was vacant for so many years?). The words of Rav Kook have never felt more apt: “The old shall be renewed and the new shall be sanctified; together, they will become torches that illuminate Zion.” I am back in Israel now and will be attending for the First Global Jewish Education Summit, hosted by Israel’s Ministry of Diaspora Affairs and the Ministry of Education. This tension— timeless constants alongside dynamic, seemingly instant change—seems to resonate with much of what we know and care about, and love, in Israel and in Jewish day schools.
For Prizmah, where we see ourselves intimately bound up in the rhythms and needs of Jewish day schools, this tension resonates as well. As the school year comes to its end, we look back on highlights, we mark the inevitable turnover and transitions of staff, and we look ahead to the events and opportunities that have both a timeless and intensely current resonance. There is a constant belief in the power of Jewish day schools to contribute to a thriving Jewish future, as well as in the dynamic and evolving ways these schools and their educators and leaders collaborate toward achieving that vision.
As a new organization dedicated to a decades-old field, Prizmah has benefitted from the wisdom and talent of practitioners since day one, building on the strong foundations set by our legacy organizations and their teams. Many of you have benefitted from the wisdom of Jane Taubenfeld Cohen, who has served most recently as Dean of Prizmah’s Leadership Academy after an illustrious career as Head of School and Executive Director of YU School Partnership. As the school year ends, Jane is transitioning to a consulting role as Senior Advisor for Prizmah. We can not thank Jane enough for all she has done to help establish Prizmah’s role in the day school field, for her mentorship of literally hundreds of professionals, and her optimism about what the future holds for day schools, for all kinds of learners. Along with Jane’s transition, we have said l’hitraot to a number of our valued colleagues who are moving to jobs in schools and elsewhere. Prizmah’s professional team continues to grow, and we look forward to serving the field with the very best of what we can offer.
Looking ahead, Prizmah’s next chapter builds on our emerging strategic plan, with three primary areas of focus: catalyzing resources, deepening talent, and accelerating innovation. In a network model that learns, grows, and builds community, Prizmah will bring together resources of every kind to benefit our schools and communities and to strengthen the whole field. Our Day School Investor Summit in Miami this coming November, designed to galvanize philanthropic interest in day schools, and the Prizmah field-wide conference in Atlanta next March are opportunities in the coming year for broadening the circle of those who care about and care for Jewish day schools. When passionate educators and leaders come together, suddenly anything is possible for Jewish education.
While we certainly wish you all a refreshing and even relaxing (at times) summer, we also encourage to hold on to the tensions that power schools and the broader day school field—eternal values/dynamic approaches; passionate leaders/collaborative teams; outstanding individual schools/interconnected schools within a community. We look ahead, as our tag line reads, to a brilliant future for Jewish day schools, a brilliant Jewish future.
Wishing everyone an enjoyable summer.