Celebrating a Decade of Day School Collaboration

Close to 100 Jewish day school lay and professional leaders and donors from across Greater MetroWest gathered on November 17 to celebrate the 10th anniversary of our community’s unique day school collaboration and to welcome leaders of the new national day school organization, Prizmah, which developed from the merger of five individual organizations.

The event, held at the Golda Och Academy Upper School, marked a decade of extensive, integrated work among the diverse Jewish day schools. Coordinated by Jewish Federation and Jewish Community Foundation of Greater MetroWest NJ, the collaborative efforts include marketing, teacher professional development, and tuition grants, all with the goal of enhancing excellence, affordability, and long-term sustainability. The collaboration began with three schools in 2006, and now includes four schools: Golda Och Academy in West Orange, Gottesman RTW Academy in Randolph, the Jewish Educational Center (JEC) in Elizabeth, and Joseph Kushner Hebrew Academy/Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School in Livingston.

This video highlights the critical work of the Greater MetroWest Day School Initiative:

The day began with visits to each of the schools by Prizmah CEO Paul Bernstein and Chair Kathy Manning. And the day culminated in a celebration of the collaboration and of the Herskowitz Society of Greater MetroWest, which recognizes donors of $100,000 or more to a day school endowment fund.  The society is named for members of the Gottesman family, the long-time leading benefactors of the initiative. Speakers included Paula Gottesman, chair of the Greater MetroWest Day School Advisory Council of the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater MetroWest; Dov Ben-Shimon, Executive Vice President/CEO of Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ; and professional leaders from Federation and each of the schools. The presentations focused on current joint day school programs: The Quest for Teaching Excellence, a professional development program for all Jewish day school teachers; the Tuition MAX program that caps tuition at a MAXimum percentage of income for qualifying middle income families; the “SMART MOVE” campaign to promote Greater MetroWest as a destination of choice for young Jewish families from across the region; and the Greater MetroWest online Tuition Estimator. For information on any of these programs visit www.njdayschools.org

The evening was capped off with an open house at the Dr Lynne B Harrison STEM Center at Golda Och Academy, led by its benefactor, Dr Harrison, who is also a member of the Day School Advisory Council.