May 4, 2009 — With the economic crisis exacerbating an already serious predicament in keeping Jewish day school education affordable, Yeshiva University’s Institute for University-School Partnership, a division of the Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration, is taking a major step towards ensuring the long-term viability of day schools. The Institute recently appointed Harry Bloom, a seasoned business professional, as director of planning and performance improvement to lead the development of practical, research-based solutions to cut costs, increase fundraising and improve board governance, while promoting educational quality.
Bloom brings 25 years of management experience in the for-profit world, combined with a decade of experience working with the Partnership for Excellence in Jewish Education (PEJE).
“Bloom’s recruitment signals our commitment to helping schools remain financially strong while maintaining the quality Jewish education our children deserve.” Dr. Scott J. Goldberg, director of the Institute, said.
Bloom has been a lead consultant for the Institute since its inception in 2007, working with several schools in North America and speaking at Institute conferences on governance and leadership, strategy, marketing and branding, fundraising, student recruitment and financial management. His new role will expand his work with schools and communities to include leading national policy and planning in these areas.
Bloom has worked for Procter & Gamble, McKinsey & Company, General Electric and BOSE Corporation. As a consultant at PEJE, he coached school professional and lay leaders and designed programs to pool schools’ purchasing power to benefit from economies of scale and share knowledge of best practices in leadership and governance. He is a frequent speaker at conferences for the various day school networks, a consultant to many day schools, and a veteran fundraiser.
“This is a real opportunity to help schools and communities pull through this crisis,” said Bloom, who also teaches as an adjunct professor at Azrieli. “We are committed to making education more affordable but we will not sacrifice the quality of that education. We must build a stronger day school movement for our children’s children.”
Starting in the fall of 2008, Bloom helped formulate the Institute’s vision in the area of school affordability and lay the groundwork for the creation of the YU School Affordability Team, an interdisciplinary group of YU administration, faculty, and staff, and professionals and lay leaders from across North America who advise on this vision and its implementation.
One of the schools that has benefited greatly from Bloom’s expertise in strategic and financial planning is Ida Crown Jewish Academy in Chicago. “No doubt, by hiring Harry full time the Institute is now especially equipped to lead the charge on improving the quality of Jewish education while ensuring its sustainability,” said Rabbi Leonard Matanky, dean of Ida Crown and the associate superintendent of the Associated Talmud Torahs of Chicago.
Bloom has also worked closely with Eli Shapiro, the Affordability Team’s regional coordinator for the Five Towns and Far Rockaway, to provide guidance to local schools and religious leaders representing the full spectrum of Judaism. With Bloom now full-time at the Institute, he will offer in-depth consultations, including detailed financial analysis, operational reviews and scenario modeling to find ways to save costs and keep education affordable.
The Institute’s educational partners said they were looking forward to working with Bloom. “Having Harry at the Institute adds an exciting dimension and gives us a unique opportunity to deepen the bonds and the nature of our partnership with Yeshiva University,” said Rabbi Joshua Elkin, executive director of PEJE.
Mark Kramer, executive director of RAVSAK: The Community Day School Network, concurred: “This move to bring Harry Bloom on board in this critically important role at the Institute will further strengthen our ability to work synergistically together.”
“There is no quick fix for the rising costs of Jewish day school education,” Goldberg said. “We will tailor our approach to schools’ local situations while informing national policies and recommendations for schools throughout the country. Harry provides the Institute the capacity to provide such services.”