Essential? Yes. Jewish Education

Covid-19’s effect on the delivery of education continues to generate a great deal of expert professional commentary.

Arielle Levites, Managing Director of the Consortium for Applied Studies in Jewish Education, (CASJE) and Alex Pomson, Principal and Managing Director at Rosov Consulting, a mission-driven company that works with funders and grantees to inform and improve Jewish education and engagement, earlier this month contributed to the growing literature. They published an article on the eJewishPhilanthropy website entitled “How Essential is Jewish Education? COVID-19 Brings Some Clarity”.

Levites and Pomson offer certain conclusions from a recently released report by CASJE, conducted by Rosov Consulting, that studied patterns in career trajectories among Jewish educators.  The “report conveys how the labor market in certain sectors of Jewish education has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Through the lens of what the authors describe as the movement of “human capital” within careers in education, the authors provide some interesting observations.

“One key observation is the special status afforded to Jewish educational programs deemed essential and even the novelty of the very concept of essential as a framework for categorizing programs. Those sectors that provide services that people cannot do without, in particular childcare and day school education, seem to be emerging from the present moment in better shape than others. They have responded to the moment vigorously, although exactly what business models will prove sustainable for the early childhood sector is uncertain.

“These two essential programs, early childhood and day school, are core providers of education (both general and Jewish) and of care for children.”

Among the reasons these programs are deemed “essential” is that they enable parents to function each day with the minimal disruption to their previously “normal” lives. To be sure, this reason makes a great deal of sense. But we, of course, believe Jewish education to be essential for reasons that are far more encompassing than to help facilitate the relatively smooth running of a home and household.

Jewish education is essential because it is only through education that the promise of Judaism’s eternity will be fulfilled.

The full article is available at:

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Important reminder

There is still time to move the provincial government to act fairly in distributing federally funded Covid relief funds for the benefit of all of Ontario’s school children.

Next month Ontario will disburse the second tranche of some $400 million from the federal government designed to help make our schools Covid safe. Independent schools received none of the monies from the first federal allocation even though the funding Ontario received was based upon a formula that included all school-aged children.

GAJE joins with Teach-On, the Jewish representative, and other groups, in a coalition of like-minded members attempting to convince the government to act fairly without discrimination. Please call or send an e-mail to your MPP, Premier Ford and Education Minister Lecce pleading with them to distribute funds for the sake of children in independent schools too.

For more information on this important effort, please visit the site:

Supporting Students campaign (www.supportingstudents.ca)

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Be safe. Be well.

Shabbat shalom.

GAJE, Dec. 25, 2020

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