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RAVSAK: The Jewish Community Day School Network, founded in 1987, is a New York based non-profit organization that promotes pluralistic non-denominational Jewish education, working with over 100 member schools from across North America, spanning elementary to high school level day school education. The acronym RAVSAK is transliterated from the Hebrew as Reshet Batei Sefer K'hilati'im which means Network of Jewish Community Day Schools.
|RAVSAK: The Jewish Community Day School Network|
|Motto||Our client is the Jewish future.|
|Location||New York, NY|
|Membership||Jewish Community Day Schools, 120+|
|Official languages||English and Hebrew|
|Executive Director||Dr. Marc N. Kramer|
|Main organ||Executive Committee|
- 1 History
- 2 Services
- 3 Annual Leadership Conference
- 4 HaYidion
- 5 Professional Development Programs
- 6 Educational Programs
- 7 References
- 8 External links
- 9 See also
RAVSAK was originally founded back in 1987 by a group of Heads of Schools of various community day schools who felt that they can benefit from networking with each other and sharing their ideas and experiences with one another. The name is a transliteration of a Hebrew acronym spelled רבס"ק which stands for רשת בתי ספר קהילתיים which in English translates to The Jewish Community Day School Network. By 2002, Dr. Marc N. Kramer was appointed the Executive Director and established an official headquarters in New York, NY. In 2006, Dr. Kramer was awarded the envious Covenant Award for Exceptional Jewish Educators.
Core Jewish Values
RAVSAK focuses on the following core values:
|Klal Yisrael||The unity of the Jewish People||כלל ישראל|
|Talmud Torah||A commitment to life long Jewish learning||תלמוד תורה|
|Derech Eretz||The promotion of civil discourse||דרך ארץ|
|Tzelem Elokim||The importance of the individual, each created in the Divine Image||צלם אלוקים|
|Tzionut||The centrality of Israel, Zionism and the Hebrew language||ציונות|
|Gemilut Chasadim||A commitment to teaching acts of righteousness||גמילות חסדים|
|Iyun Tefilah||The promotion of religious purposefulness and the worthiness of prayer||עיון תפילה|
RAVSAK is organized as a 501(c)(3) and is governed by a board of trustees. Elections are held every two years at our Annual Meeting, where the membership in attendance votes to accept or reject a slated Executive Committee as defined by our bylaws and as recommended by the Nominating Committee.
RAVSAK members are made up primarily made up of the 120+ Jewish Community Day Schools across the globe, primarily in North America.
In addition to serving Jewish community day schools across North America (and the globe), RAVSAK has a special category of membership for Jewish and educational organizations, consultants and companies.
RAVSAK offers a variety of services to its member schools.
RAVSAK has created a variety of Reshets (networks) where individuals working in job-alike groups (Heads of Schools, Board members, Early Childhood Educators, Judaic Studies Directors) can share questions and concerns with one another, as well as share successes and other experiences.
Beginning in October, 2012 RAVSAK begin publishing a monthly eNewsletter entitled "eRAVSAK" which shares information to its members about things going on in the field, and other topics of interest to the RAVSAK community. Past editions of eRAVSAK can be viewed here.
RAVSAK provides a job board for those looking for new positions in the Jewish community day school field.
RAVSAK Executive Director, Dr. Marc Kramer, provides consulting services to member schools.
Annual Leadership Conference
Every year since its inception, the RAVSAK network held a leadership conference of Heads of Schools, Board Members and Administrators of the associated schools in the network. Each year, the conference was held in a different city across the United States. In recent years, conferences have been held in San Francisco, Houston, and Los Angeles.
In the 2009-2010 academic year, Professional and lay leaders from Jewish day schools from across the spectrum of practice came together in a first-ever unified educational conference in the Metropolitan New York area. Jointly planned by RAVSAK: The Jewish Community Day School Network, the Institute for University-School Partnership at Yeshiva University, the Solomon Schechter Day School Association, and PARDeS: The Progressive Association of Reform Day Schools, the shared conference represents ground-breaking work in cost-effectiveness and community building among Reform, Conservative, Community and Orthodox day schools.
Since then, PEJE has joined as one of the Conference conveners.
Historically, each day school network has hosted its own annual professional development conference. Elements of duplication of service were seen as secondary to the need for each organization to serve their constituent schools. The rapid change in the economy, which has shaken the day school world to its core, inspired the heads of the various networks to collaborate in new ways, resulting in a conference model which capitalizes on knowledge-sharing and meta-issues in leadership while making possible new alliances among the schools. Conference programming will include keynote sessions by leading-edge thinkers, case studies, intensive workshops, peer-to-peer learning and network-specific meetings.
HaYidion is RAVSAK's journal of Jewish education, exploring topics of critical interest to day school leaders, advocates, families and supporters. Each quarterly issue focuses on an aspect of Jewish day school life, unpacking it from a wide variety of perspectives, offering both theoretical frameworks and pragmatic approaches.
HaYidion is read by heads of schools, Judaic directors, division principals, admissions and finance directors, development professionals, Federation and JCC directors, and lay leaders across North America and beyond. Members of RAVSAK receive a number of copies of each issue each quarter. Past issues are archived at ravsak.org on a one-quarter delay.
Professional Development Programs
RAVSAK offers professional development opportunities for both administrators and educators in schools in the network.
Project Sulam: Study, Leadership And Mentoring.
This unique and fully funded 13-month course of study is designed for heads of Jewish community day schools who are established educational leaders who have yet to have a meaningful Judaic studies experience of their own.
Project SuLaM also provides the unusual opportunity for more Judaically knowledgeable heads to serve as mentors/coaches.
Limited to 18 participants and 5 mentors/coaches from RAVSAK's North American member schools, this program will empower heads to more deeply engage in the Jewish life of the schools they lead.
- Two 12-day residential summer sessions focused on Prayer, Chumash, Jewish Ritual Practice, Jewish Ethics and Values, and Understanding Headship Through a Jewish Lens.
- Two semesters of distance learning.
- A mid-winter Shabbaton.
- Ongoing support from a peer mentor and intimate peer group.
- Funding for continuing education in Jewish studies.
- Taking what is learned and enhancing one's own professional life.
Project SuLaM is fully funded and successful participants will receive a generous honorarium upon completion of the program.
Re/Presenting the Jewish Past
Re/Presenting the Jewish Past is a pathbreaking new program designed to strengthen the teaching of Jewish history in day schools. The program is a collaboration between RAVSAK and The Network for the Teaching of Jewish History (NTJH) at NYU, and it is funded by the AVI CHAI Foundation. Re/Pre is a three-part, 15-month program in which a team of teachers from a given school work closely with graduate students (aptly named liaisons) and established scholars in order to bring fresh insights, methodologies, and curricula into the classroom. Groups of 7-12 schools comprise one cohort.
Each participating school is required to identify three or four teachers for the program. The team includes teachers of Jewish history and related areas (e.g., Bible, rabbinics, or general history), so that these other disciplines enjoy the benefits of the innovative thinking animating their history colleagues. Each summer, participants of a given cohort attend a workshop at New York University conducted by leading scholars and educators in the field of Jewish history. The workshop encourages the teams of teachers to think in innovative ways about the teaching of Jewish history in their schools.
By the end of the summer workshop, each team reports on its plans for reshaping the teaching of Jewish history during the upcoming academic year. These projects focus on heightening teacher awareness of curricular issues and themes relating to the teaching of Jewish history. They are also designed to stimulate teacher creativity and foster greater cooperation among teachers across disciplines. Doctoral students offer ongoing support for the school teams and their projects, and facilitate regular contact among participating schools.
By the end of the winter, participating school teams then reconvene for a winter retreat where they send at least one representative from each team to reconnect with the other school team representative, their liaisons as well as leading scholars and educators and discuss their progress to-date, identify and tackle obstacles and devise their next steps.
RAVSAK also offers its member schools various education programs geared toward educators and/or students.
Moot Beit Din
JCAT: Jewish Court of All Time
JCAT: Jewish Court of All Time enables students to delve into history by adopting a historical figure and acting in role, while interacting with a large cast of their peers and adults playing other characters. The program takes place mostly in a web-based forum, where students discuss cultural, social, and moral issues surrounding a fictional trial, using the voices of those characters. In doing so, JCAT provides students with an opportunity to practice historical research, deliberation, perspective-taking, genre and voice in writing, and other skills. Participants include middle-school students from different schools, who participate under the guidance of their teacher, along with university mentors taking a seminar structured around the project. Schools implement JCAT as a project within a class, whether in Judaics, English, History or another subject. The program takes place over a period of several months.
- Kelman, Stuart L., What we know about Jewish education: a handbook of today's research for tomorrow's Jewish education, Torah Aura Productions, 1992, page 66.
- Moskowitz, Nachama Skolnik, The Ultimate Jewish Teacher's Handbook, A.R.E. Publishing, 2003, page 68
- Berkman, Jacob, "Enrollment holds steady at community day schools", Jewish Telegraphic Agency, October 21, 2010
- "JEWISH COMMUNITY DAY SCHOOL NETWORK - NEW YORK, NY 10025 - 120 WEST 97TH ST - NonProfit/Tax Exempt Organization". Tax Exempt World.
- "The Covenant Foundation - Past Recipients: 2006". The Covenant Foundation.
- "RAVSAK 10 Year Report", RAVSAK, 2010
- "Project SuLaM". RAVSAK.
- "Avi Chai Strengthening Institutions". The AVI CHAI Foundation.
- Torah Umesorah-National Society for Hebrew Day Schools (the Orthodox day school association)
- Solomon Schechter Day School Association (the Conservative day school association)