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2009 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Jewish Community Day School Network

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Child Day Care, Children & Youth, Education, Elementary & Secondary Schools, Judaism, Literacy, Religion

Mission: THE JEWISH COMMUNITY DAY SCHOOL NETWORK (RAVSAK) IS THE INTERNATIONAL CENTER FOR THE ADVANCEMENT AND SUPPORT OF PLURALISTIC JEWISH DAY SCHOOL EDUCATION. WE PROMOTE ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE, MAXIMAL INCLUSION, JEWISH DIVERSITY AND RELIGIOUS PURPOSEFULNESS. WE BELIEVE THAT THE FUTURE OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE IS ENSHRINED IN KLAL YISRAEL - THE NOTION OF JEWISH PEOPLEHOOD. RAVSAK IS DEDICATED TO EMPOWERING PROFESSIONALS TO EDUCATE CHILDREN AND THEIR FAMILIES FROM ACROSS THE SPECTRUM OF JEWISH LIFE.

Direct beneficiaries per year: 120 schools and 3,000 educators

Geographic areas served: International

Programs: The jewish community day school network ("ravsak") opens a program - head of school professional excellence project ("hos pep"). This program is to strengthen new day school directors while preserving valuable knowledge and experience from recognized leaders in the field. This program's goals are to help the head of school master the culture and behaviors of excellent leadership specific to a jewish day school setting; to improve the lay leader/professional leader divide that troubles many schools by creating a spirit of collaboration and common goals; to help the head of school lead in a jewish way by assisting him/her to craft a model of jewish leadership most germane to the school community; and to diminish the sense of isolation that can be part of the head of school experience.

the jewish community day school network ("ravsak") hosts annual conference for uncommon connections that are nearly invisible. This program is to bring various people together. There are great possibilities to present themselves; problems are resolved faster; new opportunities appear. The goal is to make the people, the schools, and the entire communities smarter. The people who attend the conference can be heads of school, assistant heads of school, board chairs and board members, educational division heads, admission directors, development directors, financial managers/executive directors, federation, central agency and bureau of jewish education professionals, volunteers with oversight on day school priorities and portfolios, network staff, lay leaders, jewish day school donors, and foundation staffs.

the jewish community day school network ("ravsak") creates another large program - sulam 2. 0 that is an elite and intensive jewish leadership development program with an emphasis on effective approaches to jewish day school board governance, this is the only program of its kind to blend mentorship, ongoing in-person and digital learning opportunities and conference sessions and workshops to strengthen participants' knowledge of governance, increase their leadership skills and better integrate jewish values into all they do.

the jewish community day school network ("ravsak") also creates some other small programs that are related to its mission.

Donor & Volunteer Advisory

This organization's nonprofit status may have been revoked or it may have merged with another organization or ceased operations.

Community Stories

56 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

11

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Moot Beit Din Competition has taken place annually since Rabbi Harry Sinoff developed it in the early 1990s. I have coached a team since the second or third year of competition. Until Ravsak took ownership of the program, each year threatened to be the final, since continuity depended on a new set of people volunteering to host the next competition. We also lacked continuity in rules and procedures. Now, under the auspices of Ravsak, the competition has stability and order. Furthermore, Ravsak has recruited an increasing number of schools to this valuable competition. I could take several pages to describe the good impact of this wonderful program; the short version: it rewards students for excellence in rabbinics, it teaches students to take creative ownership of their learning, and it introduces students to their peers from around the country.

11

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

RAVSAK is an incredible organization that helps Jewish Day Schools in all aspects. They work with administration, Boards, families attending the school and Staff. Their programs are incredible and their outreach is phenominal.

10

Board Member

Rating: 5

RAVSAK has helped our school in so many important ways. It has provided exceptional professional development opportunities for our teachers and administators, it offers top-notch conferences with topics that are pertinent, timely, and relevant. The Ex. Director, Dr. Marc Kramer is extremely knowledgeable and resourceful and has helped our school as well as me grow as a Jewish educator.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

Very positive experience. We used RAVSAK to assist with a head of school search and have used them continuously for advice through publications and email questions.

3

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

To work with RAVSAK is to be both witness to as well as a beneficiary of the intelligence. honesty, mission, passion, rigor and professionalism found at RAVSAK, under the extraordinary leadership of Dr. Kramer. The leveraging influence of RAVSAK on the next generation's future role as leaders of a huge swath of American Jewry makes it one of the most critcial (and indeed, so successful) non-profit organizations in the Jewish world today.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am the head of a small school in Central New York. Without RAVSAK, I would have felt isolated, lacking in resources, and probably desperate -- but RAVSAK helped by providing information, answers, colleagues, conferences, support, guidance, evaluation and much more more. For schools such as mine, outside of major metropolitan areas, RAVSAK is a treasure. My board has learned a tremendous amount from reading haYidion; my board chair has benefitted from attending conferences; I have grown professionally and personally through my contacts at RAVSAK and through its programs. For those of us struggling to keep Judaism alive and well in smaller communities and for the Jewish future, RAVSAK is a lifeline.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

Ravsak is a great organization that focuses on improving Jewish education in a logical, systematic, thoughtful and helpful way. It is a boon to Jewish day school teachers and, ultimately, to students.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

RAVSAK or Jewish Community Day School Network sponsored a program to provide professional development to Jewish leaders in Day Schools. I am the principal of a Jewish Day School with excellent background and training as an educator. My Jewish knowledge is not as advanced and I am now in charge of the entire program; general studies as well as Judaic studies. This program has given me just what Ive needed to be successful in my career. The quality of the programs and the care that is given to the details has been fabulous. This is an excellent organization.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

RAVSAK is important to me because I have the opportunity to network with Jewish Day School leaders from all over North America. I have made contacts at the RAVSAK conferences that I have communicated with throughout the year to share information and brain storm together. I enjoy meeting these same people each year at the conference.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

RAVSAK has been an incredible resource for me professionally and for the work that I do with staff and my board of directors. I have used RAVSAK to do strategic planning with my board and other Federation lay people and to help me find suitable candidates to fill positions within my school.

3

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

RAVSAK was precisely what the Weber School (a high school) in Atlanta needed to raise the profile and interest in Talmud study. Our introduction to and awareness of RAVSAK was through its Moot Beit Din competition, in which we were involved for the first time last year (2008-2009). The professionalism and high academic level by which it was conducted and the interaction with other schools from around the U.S. and Canada encouraged not just our student competitors, but all those studying Talmud at our school. Of even greater importance has been the interaction of Talmud teachers, for whom RAVSAK has planned seminars beyond the meetings at the competition itself. This is extremely crucial as the only insitutional vehicle at the high school level to promote new methods and standards to teach Talmud which might combine the best of the yeshiva world (skills and content but less relevance and context) and the non-yeshiva world of particularized relevance (with few skills or appreciation of the ongoing, dynamic rabbinic discourse).

3

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

RAVSAK is a meetingplace of the minds - an organization where professionals and lay leaders join forces and in doing so, profoundly elevate the field of Jewish day school education.

3

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

What a great organization! How helpful! How resourceful- run by a caring considerate informative team. The people are experienced, knowledgeable, and thorough. They understand the broad picture as well as tend to the minutest of details.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was asked by my Head of School to attend the 2009 summer Sulam cohort in New York. I was reluctant about leaving my family and I was desperately in need of a vacation, since I had just graduated from a 2 year's master program in Jewish Education. Within 24 hours of my arrival, we were deeply involved in meaningful and significant discussions of the plight of Jewish day Schools. Thought provoking Torah study sessions were led by phenomenal, bright, intelligent, and motivating Jewish leaders from around the country. Moving and spiritual prayer sessions were held. Delicious kosher food was provided at every meal. Within a few days we had bonded as a group and together we climbed the ladder/Sulam. At every rung, I grew in my knowledge. I gained insight and tangible skills that equipped me for my new job as Coordinator of my Jewish Day School. I marvel at the organization of Ravsak. I am amazed at the attention to detail. I praise the leadership and vision of this organization and thank them for the opportunity I was given to come together with Jewish leaders from around the country and share in this memorable experience.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

This past summer of 2009 I was fortunate to be a part of the SuLaM Cohort III, sponsored by RAVSAK. I am 62 years old and can safely say that this was among the most profound, life changing events that I have experienced. From the time we were selected until the moment that our taxis took us back to the train station to return home, we were treated professionally, with respect and with a focus on using Jewish values in real life situations. From the accommodations to the food to the classes to the leaders to the most minute details, this was extraordinarily well planned. And it is not over! Because the focus is on life-long learning, as well as continuing education with our schools, we speak with our mentors frequently, network with our peers constantly, and have other opportunities to share and grow professionally. My mentor recently visited our school for a full day, sharing his insights and offering specific, thoughtful ideas. Several of my Cohort peers have been extremely helpful in providing suggestions about how to solve some of our school's enduring problems. The assistance from RAVSAK is ongoing and I will be using their expertise in a variety of ways long after my participation in the SuLaM program has ended.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am the Founding Chair of JCDS, Boston's Jewish Community Day School. My own experience has been that RAVSAK has consistently provided outstanding leadership for day schools. The conference and publication always provide information and food for thought as to how to improve our school and how to think differently about problems and challenges as well as how to think proactively. RAVSAK is the first place to which my school turns when it is faced with a dilemma or wants guidance on a best practice. The framing and advice we have received has always helped us take on the challenges with increased insights.

3

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

RAVSAK is an organization driven by a powerful vision of raising the level of American day school education. It creates programs of outstanding richness and quality, steeped in Jewish tradition while speaking to the needs and aspirations of Jews today. It is an honor to contribute to projects imbued with the sense of urgency and holiness of our task as Jewish educators.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Jewish Community Day School Network has been a leading edge organization promoting meaningful, engaging day school experiences for a broad cross-section of the Jewish community through support and training of day school leaders and professional development opportunities to deepen understandings of Jewish texts, ritual practice, and Israel. Particularly during this challenging economic period, RAVSAK has been out ahead, gathering data, seeking new financial resources, and offering workshops to assure stability of our schools and continuity of experience for Jewish youth.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

They are totally focused on their core in a way almost no rganization I have worked with before has shown themselves to be. They are responsive, flexible, and lean.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

RAVSAK was a lifeline when I was hte Head of a COmmunity SChool. It provided me/us with a NEtwork of professionals who were dealing with the same issues I was; the camerarderie at a RAVSAK conference is unegqualed. Everyone wants to help each other. Professianls with numerous years of experince spent hours working and meeting with those just starting out - to guide them along. The NEtowrk became more thana greop of like-professianls; it became a unit of friends. RAVSAK's success is due to many good reasons - the common purpose of its memebers, the accessibility of services, the flexibility to adapt to various situations, the dedication of its staff, as well as its leadership.

3

Client Served

Rating: 4

Superb training program, Project Sulam, is a Judaic training program for administrators at Jewish Day Schools. It serves as a learning program and personal treat for leaders who must make decisions about Judaic programming. The quality of the program was superb--well-run, strong instructors, and a great esprit-de-corps

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As a member of the wonderful staff at RAVSAK, I am excited every day by the dedication, passion and expertise of our innovative staff. Together we work with groups of school leaders to strengthen Jewish community day schools around the country. Through our network, we stay connected to the changing needs of Jewish community day schools so as to adapt programmatic and consulting services to meet schools where they are. We also recognize our diverse community of schools and tailor our programming and consulting to meet their unique Judaic needs.

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Ravsak supports, inspires and teaches those of us who are professionals and volunteers at community day schools. Whether on line or in person, we find great colleagues, wonderful mentors, and experts in the field. We are given support and advice for our schools and for ourselves. A reason for this excellence is Marc Kramer, one of the brightest and most competent executive directors I have ever known. It has helped me grow as a new Head and supported me as an experienced professional.

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have been working with RAVSAK since 2004 and it has been the best professional opportunity of my career. Getting to work with schools all across North America and wonderful colleagues on a daily basis is an experience of a lifetime!

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Having worked at RAVSAK for a little over a year, I'm impressed at the scope and breadth of services this organization provides to its constituents. Working here has been very fulfilling and by far one of the best workplaces I have ever had the pleasure to work in. The overall feelings that we're "one big family" is evident in everything that we do, and we are all so supportive of each other. It's clear that everyone here believes in what they're working for and feel invested in making sure the Jewish community succeeds.

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

I had an absolutely amazing time as part of Moot Beit Din. I had no idea what to expect, but once I got there and was able to meet so many Jewish kids from all over the country and Canada, I immediately was impressed by the planning of this program. The idea to bring students together in competition and Jewish learning is genious, and I greatly benefited from it.

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

Marc Kramer and the entire RAVSAK organization provide much needed support, guidance and encouragement to their network of Jewish day schools. We have called upon Marc to provide wisdom and advice on numerous occasions and he is consistent, thoughtful and brilliant in his responses. RAVSAK has also provided much needed--and useful--professional development to our faculty, Board and administration. With RAVSAK on your team, a Jewish day school--no matter their location--need not feel isolated.

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

I found my experience at Ravsak to be profoundly life changing. The mentors came from all different points of view and provoked my thinking outside of the box. As an observant Israeli I was brought up not to question or ananlyze Jewish text. In Ravsak I found it fascinating that the more one asks and questions, the more one learns. The Shabbatot together were the experiences of a lifetime. Davening with different melodies enriched the tefillot. Bonding together with my fellow educators from all types of backgrounds was enlightening. During the entire time, Dr.Mark Kramer was our role model. He inspired as well as led by example. On a personal note, I feel very priveleged to have been selected to participate in this outstanding program. I hightly recommend this program to anyone interested in Jewish studies and leadership. Anat Valdman Director of Student Life Reuben Gittelman Hebrew Day School

4

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

RAVSAK is a highly creative, professional educational institution which I have been associated with for the past 5 years. I have presented workshops at the leadership conferences,and planned numerous meeting with the director.

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

RAVASK helped getting our school, The Jewish Day School of the Lehigh Valley moving in a professional direction. Between have retreat featuring a speaker from RAVASK and attending the conference two years ago, our board has leaped forward from a mom and pop shop to a professionally run organization (we do have further to go). The newsletters are an additional benefit. Thanks RAVSAK.

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have worked with RAVSAK from its very first days and the baby steps that it took as an organization. During these wonderful years Ravsak and its members succeeded in establishing a WONDERFUL organization which provides support to schools, administration and communities with a great advise/support. You are doing a great job, keep it up!!! Ruth Gavish, Jewish Studies Dean American Hebrew Academy, Greensboro, NC

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

RAVSAK has established itself as the consummate "network" for Jewish day school professionals. The quality of its outreach services and its programming is consistently of the highest caliber; its professional staff provides support and insight to those relatively new to the field and to veterans alike. RAVSAK has taken a leadership role in surmounting the "turf" and denominational issues that have been and continue to be a waste of Jewish communal resources (human and financial). Sulam is one example of RAVSAK's taking the lead on an issue of importance in the community - the development of highly trained and engaged senior Jewish educational leadership throughout the country.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

I wrote a brief for a case in Jewish law, and my classmates went to Denver and argued the case. We won, but RAVSAK made the case and competition possible, which really pushed us to do the best job we could.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

I participated in the Moot Beit Din 2009, run by the Jewish Community Day School Network. My experience was life-changing, and community-changing. I felt the hands of the Jewish community joining; I met young Jews like me from all over America and Canada. This organization is a key to the future of the Jewish people, as it connects and bridges us, the youth generation, together.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

I had an amazing time at the Moot Beit Din comptetion. I was a little worried before the trip that I might feel like I wasn't experienced enough with rabbinical studies or that the majority of the participants would be more observant than I am. However, RAVSAK managed to make everyone feel comfortable. Everyone got along great and we managed to make great friends in just three days! We heard interesting speakers, had stimulating text studies, toured beautiful places in Colorado, had great tfilot, and finished the trip off with a wonderful competition.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Moot Beit Din was an amazing experiance. Besides the thought provoking question that started the whole competition about a sick person and thier donor, I learned much more than just that. Moot Beit Din brought together an international group of high schoolers, all with different backgrounds, thoughts and opinions. Besides becoming excellent competition, these new competitors turned into friends. Moot Beit Din is an amazing program that i was glad to take part of.

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

RAVSAK is an organization that bridges the distance between our small school in British Columbia and other Jewish institutions across the United States and Canada. It allows us to collaborate in an otherwise quite vacuous environment.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was a board member of one of its client schools. I called RAVSAK often to ask advice about how to handle key board issues, and always got great input. It provided training to our board specifically regarding strategic planning. It also provided training to our staff in terms of admissions, recruiting, and development. I led a task force to do a head-of-school search. RAVSAK acted as our headhunter, and helped us identify candidates as well as coached us through the interviewing process effectively. I attended its national conference, and was impressed with the professionalism and usefulness of the presenters and presentations respectively.

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

This organization has a very clear mission which I believe is essential for the advancement of Jewish community day Schools. The manner in which they go about executing their Mission is both clear and direct but non-threatening.

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am an avid supporter of RAVSAK, and especially enjoy their magazine, which is beautifully produced and filled with helpful, practical, and thoughtful information and advice.

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

They are very useful for our high school! RAVSAK was able to bring together many different schools and coordinated an experience that our students continue to talk about throughout the year. I find them an essential element in the advancement of higher education and the preservation of Jewish values.

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

RAVSAK has always been a source of wisdom as I navigate through the multi layers of "community school" life. RAVSAK is more than simply another organization, Marc Kramer makes this personal, he cares genuinely, gets involved and always listens to others concerns, problems and ideas. The great part of RAVSAK's programs and connection is that critical questions are well raised and discussed. I know this journey for me has been incredible and Marc pushes my boundaries in defining Jewish Identity and education. He is the embodiment of RAVSAK and has influenced many of us in the field.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

Although I am a highly qualified educational professional (25 years experience, doctorate, Fullbright Award, published articles, etc.) and the Head of School of a Jewish Day School I had lacked a formal Jewish education which negatively impacted on my ability to lead Jewishly. It also was an area of embarrassment for me. Under the leadership of Executive Director Marc Kramer, RAVSAK identified this need amongst many heads of Jewish Day Schools and implemented the SuLam Program. My two-year attendance in the SuLam program has grounded me in Jewish text, ethics, halacha, and rituals and practices. My school has greatly benefitted from my SuLam learning, but I too have grown as a Jewish Educational Leader, but more importantly, as a person and a Jew.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

My school send a team to the Moot Beit Din Competition wherein teams from different schools present their solution, according to Jewish Law, to a legal problem raised by a case. RAVSAK has raised money to expand the competition to include a whole weekend of educational and religious activities for this unique group of students.

6

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have always benefitted from Ravsak in the past but this year as part of their SuLaM Cohort, my experience has been life changing. I believe that their focus on supporting and investing in Day School leadership is right on target. No school leader has to work in isolation. The expansion of their upcoming conference is a wonderful way to build the power of networking and sharing in the future of Jewish education.

8

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

RAVSAK is unique among Jewish organizations because it has brought about a collaboration of Jewish Day Schools across North America and internationally. With its emphasis upon helping elementary and high school educators raise responsible, caring and committed Jews who will treasure their heritage, traditions and the state of Israel, regardless of their religious affiliation, RAVSAK provides services unmatched in the world of Jewish education. I have been blessed to have been an active member and recipient of RAVSAK's many contributions.

8

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Project Sulam, sponsored and run by Ravsak and funded by the Avi Chai Foundation, is an outstanding program that supports professional leaders of Jewish Day Schools with a breadth of Judaic learning many of us don't possess. The care and thought given by the staff at Ravsak to ensure the well being of the participants should be applauded. This program supports learning and leadership and builds a sense of community amongst the participants. Marc Kramer and his team at Ravsak deserve to be awarded for their intelligence and contributions to the field of Jewish education.

8

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have attended two Ravsak training workshops and both were exciting and invigorating. I was able to meet other Day School educators from across the country, and learn about what is happening in the Day School community outside of Florida, where I teach. Ravsak is a wonderful organization that maintains a high standard of committment to the advancement of education in the Day School Community.

8

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have been a member of RAVSAK since 1993. As head of a community day school, first in Tampa for 7 years, and now in Boca Raton for 10, I have received great support both personally, professionally, and for my institutions. Having a network of colleagues to turn to for interacttion and assistance from all over the country, offering programs for enhancing Judaic and general studies knowledge( I was in the first cohort of Project Sulam), school governance and finance are just a few of the benefits of RAVSAK that have helped me grow as a professional, and thus lead my schools to be extremely successful Jewish Day Schools. For me, I would not be the leader or learner I am today without RAVSAK and its executive, Marc Kramer. My school and I would not have had the successes we have had without RAVSAK.

8

Client Served

Rating: 5

I live in a city where we are the only Jewish Day School. At the RAVSK conference I was able to meet with similar size schools and compare how we approach Prayer in our schools. It was very helpful information that I was able to bring back to my school. Throughout the year we are able to share ideas as well.

6

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

They are very creative interms of the programs they offer. They run an excellent conference. They are responsive. Mark is one of the most insightful, creative and committed leaders in this field.

8

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Jewish Community Day Schools are the fastest growing day schools. This network brings outstanding professional development opportunities to the teachers and administrators. It's a great organization that empowers and energizes the professionals!

6

Client Served

Rating: 4

A very responsive organisation who have made great strides in developing an otherwise scattered group of schools into a cohesive whole, giving them a sense of identity, common purpose and providing thoughtful and useful central services. Their journal - 'Ha-Yidion' (roughly = 'The Information Provider' in Hebrew) has become lively, interesting and a very good stimulus to school thought.

6

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have consistently been inspired by their work and overall commitment to Jewish education. I have served as a volunteer with this organization, staff person and past professional collaboration. It amazes me how much this organziation ahs grown.

6

Client Served

Rating: 5

RAVSAK is a constant reminder to me that the "wheel" has already been invented, and they can introduce me to the "inventor" This helps to lighten the burden on an already overcrowded schedule Derek Gavshon, Acting Head of School, Tarbut V' Torah

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

We are a small day school in a small Jewish community. This network of peers has been invaluable to bringing information and tools to improve our success. Why reinvent the wheel? The sharing of creative, progressie ideas benefits all of us and strenghtens the viability of Jewish education in America.