Full-Time Director of Youth Education & Family Engagement
If you’re an Out-of-the-Box Educator — or a recent Master’s grad with great education ideas — and you want to team-up with a forward-looking synagogue to excite and nurture our children in 21st century Jewish practice, we want to hear from you!
You know the picture: Families busier than ever with work, school, and an unlimited choice of activities. Technology, with its 24/7 accessibility offers fabulous opportunities for learning, but is also a significant risk for distraction. Religious school, once accepted as a natural part of every Jewish child’s education and development, now one of many activities that parents juggle and determine where (and if!) it fits on the priority list.
Yes, we get it. But we’re a congregation with a professional-lay team that looks at challenges as opportunities. Our innovative approach to synagogue life is captured in our insignia. We’re Beth El Temple of West Hartford, CT, a Conservative congregation where people can truly Be: Be Engaged. Be Inspired. Be Challenged. Be Joyful. Be Fulfilled. Beth El: Community You Can Believe In!
Research developed as part of our Education-for-the-Future Strategic Plan found this: Our families want their children to be nurtured, excited and engaged in Jewish learning. They want to build strong relationships with our rabbis and cantor, our staff, and our entire congregation. They want Beth El to be a second home. Our goal is to partner with our parents on their child’s Jewish educational journey, inspiring our kids to embrace Jewish values as a meaningful part of their lives.
The Successful Candidate:
You are passionate about Jewish education and the future of vibrant Judaism living in America. You have a Master’s Degree in Jewish Education (or a comparable degree) or you are a successful school administrator in another field who wants to try something new. You MAY have experience in synagogue religious school administration. You are a master educator who conveys enthusiasm through teaching and mentoring.
You are up-to-date on the latest trends in Jewish and/or secular education, bringing creative ideas to engage our children and families in Jewish learning and practice. You are thoughtful in your approach to educating the entire modern Jewish family including those who are interfaith, LGBTQ, divorced, single parents, or have chosen Judaism.
You’re a great listener and internalize in your own actions the habits of heart, mind and practice that are critical to successful teaching and learning. You are invigorated by experimenting and taking chances. You are aware of the accommodations and modifications necessary for differentiated instruction and care deeply about creating safe and meaningful lessons for all of our children.
You appreciate the value of Jewish camping, have experience in youth groups (USY, for instance), or were a leader in Hillel, and you are ready to foster a similar sense of community among our families. You believe in the magic of Shabbat, the power of Havdalah around the lake at camp or the connections that can be fostered at a Shabbat meal, and can help us recreate those special experiences.
You are self-directed and you work well with others. You are excited to collaborate with our teachers, clergy team and passionate volunteers to create a memorable learning experience for the children and families of Beth El Temple.
We are looking for the right candidate for the position. If that’s you, we’ll work together to fashion hours, vacation, and benefits.
Our Director of Youth Education and Family Engagement is responsible for our religious school as well as partnering with our synagogue, teachers, and volunteer teams to develop and nurture our children and their families from birth through our college outreach program: our early childhood program, our day school families, Kadima/USY/teens/camping, our college outreach, and appropriate Shabbat and holiday programs.
Expand and implement our school’s strategic plan. Together with teachers, clergy, and lay leaders, create a collaborative atmosphere to ensure that the school’s vision becomes a reality.
Grow our religious school curricula using new learning approaches and a variety of tools, technologies and methodologies to address the educational needs of all learners and their families.
Develop a culture of post-b’nai mitzvah engagement that encourages our children and families to continue on a pathway to lifelong Jewish learning
Oversee the operations of a weekday and Saturday/Sunday school (nursery to grade 7), including Shabbat and holiday programming.
Maintain open lines of communication with school families by sharing curricular goals and updates.
Write and oversee the Education budget, working with the Education Committee and Beth El’s Executive Director, allocating resources based on the strategic plan and school vision.
Serve as camp liaison for families who desire Jewish camping experiences for children.
Create and encourage strong connections with our synagogue community as well as with other Jewish institutions – including other synagogue schools – to provide opportunities for our students to participate in programs that bring together larger groups of children and families.
Partner with our Parent Action Group to build our community of religious school families through special programs.
Nurture and challenge: teachers, to explore and implement – individually and as part of teaching teams – innovative ways to connect with students and parents; students, to develop Jewish literacy, embrace Jewish ritual acts and behaviors, adopt the ethics of Jewish living through mitzvot, and understand the importance of Kehilla, the community within the synagogue, the classroom, the local Jewish community, and the State of Israel; and families to embrace lifelong Jewish learning, providing the skills and experiences that guide them to meaningful and powerful Jewish encounters.
You will be supervised by our Rabbinic Director of Lifelong Learning and Community Engagement, and you will work with the Education Committee, which reports to the Board of Trustees.
We are offering competitive salary and benefits.
How to Apply
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