Recognition and Awards
As part of the ARJE’s commitment to advocating for the field of Jewish education, the Association presents a number of awards to practitioners whose work exemplifies best practices.
Past Awards and Recognition:
Yad B’Yad Award
The Yad B’Yad Award, established in 2010, recognizes innovative programming and curricula. The purpose of this award is to share the achievements of our members and draw attention to their exemplary contributions to Jewish education. Each award winner receives a yad in recognition.
2020-21 Excellence in Jewish Education
Alison Weikel, Director of Education, Temple Shir Tikva, Wayland, MA.
During her first few years at her current position, Alison has constantly pushed herself and her community, striving towards excellence in every moment. While the application for this nominee was submitted by Micol Zimmerman and Rabbi Danny Burkeman, it also came with words from other synagogue colleagues and Religious School parents. Alison “set a goal of transforming the school into a place of belonging and community” when she took the job a few years ago. The goal she chose was seen as a bit too lofty for the first few years, and that was before a pandemic. However, she has “turned a culture of mistrust and discontent into one of belonging, trust and love.”
As one of her colleagues wrote, “To Alison, excellence is not a number. Excellence is to never do anything thoughtlessly. Her mindfulness and compassion touch all who are lucky enough to work with her and know her.” One of the parents in Alison’s community noted, “...it is incredibly clear to me that every single moment in my children’s learning at TST’s Religious School is a pedagogical choice. Alison maintains a commitment to vision that is beyond compare, and she does it all while making sure everyone feels engaged, valued and supported…” Alison - you have reminded us all that excellence can happen with hard work, kindness and passion. It is clear from what your community has shared that you are a shining example of how the learning and professional development of the ARJE can help each of us to grow and push us all to be better.
2019-20 Change Processes
This year's Yad B'Yad award asked educators to think about how they were able to synthesize and utilize the learning at last year's annual gathering, The Nachshon Effect: Facing the Sea of Change.
Jay Rapoport: Director of Lifelong Learning, Temple Sholom, Chicago, IL
Jay noted four particular sessions that made a big impact on him and his work. He shared how he used the wisdom from keynote speaker, Tom Rosenberg, President and CEO of the American Camp Association, to help in recruitment around camp. He was able to have record enrollment because he reframed the way he thought about Jewish summer camps. Jay also shared how he was inspired by presenter Michelle Shapiro Abraham to find new ways to engage his teens within different arms of the synagogue and begin having them sit on various adult committees. Jay continued trying new things when he made changes to his Hebrew curriculum by listening carefully to the ideas presented by our colleagues Kathy Schwartz and Stacy Rigler - adding Jewish Life Vocabulary, Hebrew Through Movement, and other elements into his program's Hebrew curriculum. Finally, Jay shared that listening to Lisa Langer's presentation about "how we talk about Congregational Education" reminded him that it is important to think about how we tell the story of Jewish education and to involve others in this work. Jay has even used his voice to lift up another colleague at his synagogue and have him join us at the annual gathering this year!
2017-18 Radical Thinking
This year’s Yad B’Yad Award asks us to consider radical thinking in Jewish education and how we can be disruptors in our own field in order to respond to some of the big questions and dilemmas in Jewish education.
Congregation B’nai Jeshrun- Short Hills, NJ
Camp Harlam- Kunkletown, PA
2016-17 Intentional Leadership
Rabbi Nicki Greninger, Director of Education, Temple Isaiah, Lafayette, CA
Program: Rabbi Greninger describes Temple Isaiah as having a clear vision for Jewish education, which includes the statement, “we seek to instill in our children and families a commitment to and excitement about Jewish life and Jewish peoplehood.” They work to fulfill this vision in many different ways (including an innovative “track” program for our religious school, a pioneering approach to Hebrew education, and more), but for the purpose of the Yad b’Yad award, Nicki highlighted one recent achievement – the Chanukah Flash Mob!
For More Information: Rabbi Nicki Greninger email@example.com
2015-16 Innovative Approaches to Youth and/or Teen Mental Health
Rabbi Suzie Jacobson, Education Director Temple Israel, Boston, MA
Approach/Program: An innovative and successful approach to Temple Israel’s mandatory Monday evening 8th grade class, that allows the students a place to bring their struggles and questions, their hopes and their fears to their Temple community. Inspired by an “Our Whole Lives” training provided by the Universalist Unitarian Organization, Rabbi Jacobson stated, “I believe that before any teen can learn Torah, Jewish History or Prayer, they need to feel like their Jewish community and their Rabbi cares about who they are and what they need.” Rabbi Jacobson wants to credit the work and support of Mike Fishbein, Director of Teen Education at Temple Israel.
For More Information: www.tisrael.org or Suzie Jacobson firstname.lastname@example.org
2014-15 An Innovative Program and/or Approach to Jewish Education
Lori Green, Education Director Temple Sholom in Broomall, Broomall, PA
Approach/Program: “Rimon” at Temple Sholom in Broomall has re-imagined and re-invented complimentary religious education. With a strong focus on voice and choice for our students and parents and community-building they are enjoying great success in the second year of the program.
For More Information: www.temple-sholom.org or Lori Green email@example.com.
2013-14 An Innovative Approach to Integrating Israel into the Curriculum
Dana Prottas RJE, Lower School and Hebrew School Director, Mt. Zion Temple, St. Paul, MN
Program: “Israel-in-a-Box” provided each teacher with a box chock full of goodies related to Israel: a map, a flag, a picture of the state emblem, artifacts, etc. Each teacher led the class in an exploration of Israel through these ‘goodies’.
For More Information: Dana Prottas firstname.lastname@example.org
2012-13 An Innovative Approach to Student Learning
The award went to two educators:
Rabbi Nicki Greninger, Director of Education, Temple Isaiah, Lafayette, CA
Program: “Track Based Religious School” which is designed to meet the needs of different learners and their interests.
For More Information: email@example.com.
Kate Milgrom, Education Director at Temple Emanu El, Orange Village, OH
Program: “Kitah Kadimah” which embraces Project Based Learning
For More Information: firstname.lastname@example.org.
2011-12 Exceptional Professional Learning for Educational Staff
Marla Wolf, Director of Religious School on behalf of the education team at Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple, Beachwood, OH
Program: “Teacher Training for Middle School Teachers” that included mentors, study and group planning of lesson plans
For More Information: email@example.com.
2010-11: Outstanding Teen Engagement Programming
Barrett Harr, as Director of High School and Youth Programs on behalf of the education team at Temple Shalom, Dallas, TX
Program: “Next Dor” high school curriculum that bridged formal and informal education by being a credit based program for 8th – 12th graders, that included options for social action programs, independent study and service attendance.
For More Information: firstname.lastname@example.org (Barrett current position is NFTY-MI Regional Director of Youth Engagement)
Honoring the ARJE Educator
Distinguished Educators Award
The Distinguished Educator Award honors educators who exemplify the values of ARJE and make significant contributions to Reform Jewish education, in all its forms.
2019-20 – Boulder, CO
Dr. Lesley Litman, RJE
Jo-Ellen Unger, RJE
2018-19 – Washington, D.C.
Saul Kaiserman, RJE
Rabbi Stacy Rigler, RJE
2017-18 – Seattle
Nachama Skolnik Moskowitz, RJE
2016-17 – St. Louis
Rabbi Steven Rau, RJE
Joan Carr, RJE
2015-16 – Yom Iyun Day of Learning
Beth Ellen Young, RJE
2014-15 – Philadelphia
Rabbi Joseph Eiduson, RJE
Deborah Niederman, RJE
Ira Wise, RJE
2013-14 – Chicago
Dr. Michael Zeldin, RJE
2011-12 – San Antonio
Melanie Cole Goldberg, RJE
Dr. Alan Levin
2010-11 – Seattle
Dr. Jeff Kondritzer
Dr. Anne Lidsky, RJ
2009-10 – Alexandria
Sandy Robbins, RJE
2008-09 – Nashville
Robin Eisenberg, RJE
Rabbi Stan Schickler, RJE
2007-08 – Boulder
Vanessa Ehrlich, RJE
Ron Leff, RJE
Sorel Goldberg Loeb
Fred Marcus, z”l
Sharon Morton, RJE
2006-07 – Kansas City
Dr. Roberta Goodman, RJE
Rabbi Jan Katzew, RJE
Dr. Toby Kurzband, z”l
Lori Sagarin, RJE
2005-06 – Newport Beach
Lisa Lieberman Barzilai, RJE
Mindy Davids, RJE
Rabbi Barry Diamond, RJE
Max Frankel, FRE, RJE, z”l
Lynda Gutcheon, RJE
Dr. Zena Sulkes, RJE, z”l
Julie Vanek, RJE
2004-05 – New York
Lisa Goldstein, RJE
Constance Reiter, RJE
Lesley Silverstone, RJE
Jewish Educational Leadership Award
The ARJE has created this award to recognize outstanding Leaders in Jewish Education whose lifetime work has contributed greatly to the ARJE and furthered the field of Jewish education overall.
2021 - Rabbi Bruce Raff, RJE
2015 - Rabbi Samuel K. Joseph, PhD, RJE
Rebecca Gratz Award
Rebecca Gratz founded the first Sunday school in Philadelphia in the 1830s, which led to the congregational school so closely associated with the growth of Reform movement. The Rebecca Gratz Award is presented to a member of the ARJE whose commitment, expertise and contribution to congregational education serve as a model of excellence for all in the ARJE, the Reform movement, and throughout North America.
2015 - Robin Eisenberg, RJE
Milestone awards are presented to ARJE educators who will reach 13, 18, 25, 30, 36, 40 or 50 years as an educational leader, and those who are about to retire after at least 18 years in a leadership position in Jewish education.
Mazel Tov to the following educators for their Milestone Achievement in 2019-20:
|Diane Berg, RJE||Temple Beth El||Huntington, NY||Retirement|
|Joan Carr, RJE||Behrman House Publishers||Springfield, NJ||Retirement|
|Marcia Cohen||Congregation Or Shalom||Vernon Hills, IL||25 years|
|Lori Daitch||Sha'arei Am The Santa Monica Synagogue||Santa Monica, CA||18 years|
|Rabbi Samuel K. Joseph, PhD, RJE||HUC-JIR||Cincinnati, OH||Retirement|
|Patti Kahn||Temple Sinai||Summit, NJ||40 years|
|Dr. Anne Lidsky, RJE||Temple Jeremiah||Northfield, IL||40 years|
|Lori B. Sagarin, RJE||Temple Beth Israel||Skokie, IL||36 years|