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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.
|Motto||Our client is the Jewish future.|
|Membership||Jewish Community Day Schools, 120+|
|Official language||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 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 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. RAVSAK also counts schools in Mexico, the UK, Canada, South Africa and Australia among its members.
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.
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.
In 2014, RAVSAK and The Progressive Association of Reform Day Schools, held a combined conference entitled "Moving the Needle: Galvanizing Change in Our Day Schools," which gathered more than 400 day school leaders together and was covered in a variety of media.
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.
Sulam 2.0 is an elite and intensive Jewish leadership development program with an emphasis on effective approaches to Jewish day school board governance, created by RAVSAK: The Jewish Community Day School Network, in partnership with The AVI CHAI Foundation and an anonymous funder.
Sulam 2.0 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.
Head of School Professional Excellence Project (PEP)
The Head of School Professional Excellence Project (PEP) strengthens new day school directors while preserving valuable knowledge and experience from recognized leaders in the field.
The PEP program matches highly successful and experienced Jewish day school leaders (called Deans) with newly minted, wonderfully talented and highly motivated Jewish day school heads (called Fellows) for a year of one-on-one coaching and mentoring. The PEP program has the dual outcomes of preserving for the field the accumulated wisdom of some of the greatest Jewish educational leaders and of empowering, strengthening, and enriching the next generation of outstanding leaders.
• Help the HOS master the culture and behaviors of excellent leadership specific to a Jewish day school setting; • Improve the lay leader/professional leader divide that troubles many schools by creating a spirit of collaboration and common goals; • Help the HOS lead in a Jewish way by assisting him or her to craft a model of Jewish leadership most germane to the school community; • Diminish the sense of isolation that can be part of the HOS experience.
RAVSAK also offers its member schools various education programs geared toward Jewish community day school students.
Moot Beit Din
Moot Beit Din is an original and unique program implemented nationally by RAVSAK in Jewish high schools. Moot Beit Din, provides Jewish high school students the opportunity to engage competitively in an intellectual Jewish arena and be part of a growing social network of Jewish teens. Students explore the relevance of halakhah (Jewish law) and apply Jewish traditional resources to their lives and to the modern world.
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.
RAVSAK Judaic Art Contest
The RAVSAK Judaic Art Contest offers student artists the opportunity to relate their creative expression to rich Jewish content and to reflect deeply on the meaning and possibilities of Jewish art.
In partnership with the Aleph Society’s Global Day of Jewish Learning, RAVSAK presents a prestigious and impressive contest that allows students to compete and share their works with students across the country and beyond. The Art Contest is open to middle school and high school age students. The students study a text-rich and thought-provoking curriculum supplied by Global Day, discuss the material in class and arrive at their own understanding of the subject. Students then translate their interpretations into artwork. Student entries are judged by professional and well acclaimed Jewish artists.
RAVSAK Hebrew Poetry Contest
This annual contest of original Hebrew poetry from students in all RAVSAK schools provides an opportunity for students to expand their ability to express themselves in Hebrew; to increase their knowledge of Hebrew words and expressions; to be creative in the Hebrew language, and to present their creative work to leading poets and scholars.
- 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