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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.

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.