Yeshiva University News » Jim Joseph Foundation

On Four CJF Winter Missions Around the World, YU Students Get Closer Look at Jewish Leadership

More than 90 Yeshiva University students spent this winter break engaged in the hands-on study of—and contribution to—vastly different Jewish communities around the world.


A student on the CJF’s “Counterpoint Israel: Winter Camp” mission teaches English at an educational camp in Kiryat Gat.

As participants on winter missions organized by YU’s Center for the Jewish Future, students traveled to Kharkov and Sumy in the Ukraine; Kiryat Malachi, Kiryat Gat and Dimona in Negev region of Israel; areas of New York that were heavily damaged by Hurricane Sandy; and cities across the Midwestern United States to make an impact and hone their leadership skills.

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Ilana Turetsky: How Online Learning Enriches the Teaching and Learning Experience

The upcoming summer semester will mark my fourth semester teaching online courses at Azrieli Graduate School. I have found the experience to be enriching, broadening, and stimulating. While some may envision online teaching as a direct transfer from the live classroom to the virtual setting, I perceive online teaching as a categorically different enterprise. Allow me to share three brief thoughts on my experiences teaching online, highlighting some of the unique features that I believe online learning affords. Read the rest of this entry…


Inter-Institutional Collaboration Between HUC-JIR, JTS and YU Offers Opportunity for More Innovation

To cultivate creativity and knowledge-sharing surrounding the effective use of educational technology in Jewish higher education, Hebrew Union College– Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR), the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) and Yeshiva University (YU) have launched an inter-institutional eLearning Faculty Fellowship. On May 7, the 20 faculty members of Cohort 1 participated in the first of five live sessions to learn strategies, tools and approaches for using educational technologies to improve student engagement and learning. All five live sessions and five additional online workshops will be created and led by the Columbia Center for New Media Teaching and Learning (CCNMTL) at Columbia University. Read the rest of this entry…


School Partnership Master’s Program to Provide Scholarships for Five Towns Educators

Yeshiva University’s Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration is launching a new program this fall as part of its School Partnership Master’s Program. The initiative offers classes over five semesters to educators who wish to pursue a master’s degree in Jewish education while continuing in their teaching careers. The inaugural cohort is comprised of 16 participants, who currently teach at yeshiva day schools in the Five Towns and other areas of New York’s Long Island.

“I felt that this would be a fantastic opportunity to participate in graduate-level studies in Jewish education at the acclaimed Azrieli School of Jewish Education while still being able to continue in my current position as a rebbe,” said participant Rabbi Yossi Bennett ’98YUHSB, a 12th grade Judaic studies teacher at Mesivta Ateres Yaakov in Lawrence, NY. “I feel that a degree from Azrieli will open many new doors for me in the field, both in the education and administration areas, in addition to educating, equipping and preparing me for new challenges to come.”

The program builds upon existing relationships with these schools that were developed through Azrieli’s Institute for University-School Partnership. Participants of the program will receive full scholarships, supported by Azrieli and the Jim Joseph Foundation, as well as the local yeshivas. To foster a sense of unity among the area yeshivas, a different school will host the weekly classes each semester.

“This program fits in with Azrieli’s general mission, which is a deep and abiding commitment to harbatzas [spreading of] Torah, using the most modern techniques and technologies,” explained Dr. David Schnall, dean of Azrieli. “We have a very interesting mix of people and backgrounds, those with strong credentials who have been teaching for many years, and those who are new to the field.”

The program will include coursework in cognition, educational psychology, models of teaching, classroom management and curriculum assessment, accompanied by programs given at Azrieli. These include an orientation on professional development and workshops on using a Smart Board and other technology. Classes will be taught by Azrieli faculty, with fall semester courses led by Dr. Rona Novick, director of the Fanya Gottesfeld Heller Doctoral Program and Dr. Chaim Feuerman, the Golda Koschitzky Chair in Jewish Education and chair of the Mendheim Student Teaching and Administrative Internship Program.

Each participant will also be observed and supervised in a classroom setting while they teach. In addition, they will take classes on differentiated instruction, which offer strategies and techniques to enable teachers to meet the needs of more students more of the time.

“We want our graduates to be aware of student differences and the various types of learning, and how to respond to and accommodate a mix of students,” said Dr. Jeffrey Glanz, director of the master’s program at Azrieli.

Close to 20 schools were asked to nominate two teachers, and the nominees then applied and were chosen by Azrieli faculty, based on their admissions essays.

Participating teachers come from Yeshiva Darchei Torah, Hebrew Academy of the Five Towns and Rockaways (HAFTR), Hebrew Academy of Long Beach (HALB), Hebrew Academy of Nassau County (HANC), Mesivta Ateres Yaakov, Yeshiva of South Shore, Yeshiva Ketana of Long Island and Torah Academy for Girls (TAG).

Next year, Azrieli hopes to expand the program to educators in other communities. Long Island was chosen as a starting point, because “we have a long relationship there and it is an intense educational community with a large concentration of yeshivot that we feel would best benefit,” said Glanz.


May 24, 2010 — On the heels of a $4 million grant to Yeshiva University last September, the San Francisco-based Jim Joseph Foundation announced today that it is making a new $11 million grant to bring its overall investment in YU’s training and credentialing of Jewish educators to a historic $15 million over the next four years. With new grants in the same amount to The Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) and Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC), the Foundation has now committed a total of $45 million to increase the number of credentialed future Jewish educators and improve the quality of professional preparation and Jewish education they receive.

The initial grant last fall marked the beginning of what the Foundation envisioned would be a multi-year investment and a partnership with the three institutions. “The investment in these training institutions directly addresses the future of Jewish education and is a partnership that will greatly advance this cause,” says Foundation President Al Levitt. “We care deeply about the future of Jewish life in this country. This partnership should have a significant impact on the number of future Jewish educators and the skills they will bring to their professions. With the help of these grants, we know the institutions can reach their full potential and produce teachers who continue to positively shape the lives of Jewish youth.”

At Yeshiva University, the funding provides both financial aid for students pursuing education degrees or certification in programs that prepare them to work with Jewish youth and young adults, as well as support for enhanced programs designed to attract more educators to the field. These programs include a new full-time master’s degree in Jewish education, a certificate in experiential Jewish education, advanced training and certification for classroom teachers in technology and differentiated instruction, and a robust investment in the induction and support of new teachers. Additionally, the grant supports recruitment efforts that include experiential learning missions for undergraduate students and a new, full-time Jewish Education and Recruitment Manager to attract and guide future Jewish educators toward training opportunities at YU in formal and experiential education.

In addition to the grant’s impact on YU’s ability to deliver the best training to an increased number of students, the announcement of a $45 million grant makes a bold statement to the community in support of Jewish education. “We are humbled by both the challenge and the profound sense of purpose that this historic investment represents,” notes Richard Joel, President of Yeshiva University. “The Jim Joseph Foundation’s continued investment and partnership ensures that the community’s focus remains laser-like on the centrality of Jewish education.”

The grants also present a unique opportunity for collaboration and partnership between and among the Foundation and the three institutions. As part of the grants to all three institutions, funding has been carved out for the exploration and implementation of new technologies for distance learning that will make training and credentialing possible for students unable to take coursework on campus. The three institutions will work to foster best practices in the field, and they have committed, where possible, to collaborate on projects to ensure creative new directions to the education of future Jewish educators.

Since its establishment in 2006, the Jim Joseph Foundation has made grants totaling nearly a quarter of a billion dollars to an array of institutions and organizations that support Jewish learning.

“The Jim Joseph Foundation is confident that partnering with these institutions is an effective way to impact the next generation of Jews,” adds Executive Director Chip Edelsberg. The foundation’s first four years of grant making represent significant investments in both established institutions and newer organizations – indicative of JJF’s commitment to support Jewish youth and young adults in myriad educational settings. JJF Directors deeply value preparing, credentialing and developing professional educators. The Board also generously supports organizations that enable individuals to have immersive Jewish learning experiences. The Foundation believes this approach to its philanthropy will help to create multiple pathways to a vibrant Jewish future.”


Sep 8, 2009 — Our sages teach that “the very world rests on the breath of children in the schoolhouse.”
Yet, without the finest quality teachers providing the “oxygen” – knowledge, skills, love of learning – that world rests on a shaky foundation.

To help ensure a solid and secure foundation, the San Francisco-based Jim Joseph Foundation has awarded Yeshiva University an initial $4 million grant to produce a significantly larger cadre of the best trained Jewish educators to work with Jewish youth and young adults. The grant, to be administered over the next five years, will develop The Jim Joseph Foundation Jewish Educator Continuum at YU, a university-wide initiative to create and nurture exceptional new Jewish educators. With both this and future grants from JJF, Yeshiva will identify myriad entry points to dramatically expand its capacity to train the very best young people for careers in both formal and informal Jewish education.

JJF’s commitment to further increase the number of future educators and to improve the quality of professional preparation and Jewish education they receive extends beyond YU’s walls. In a bold move, it has made similar multimillion dollar grants to The Jewish Theological Seminary and Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. Indeed, the grants represent a $12 million initial investment JJF is making in these three institutions to propel forward the common purpose of advancing Jewish life through Jewish education.

Initially, the grants will be used by each school as financial aid for students pursuing education degrees or certification in programs of both formal and experiential Jewish education, and to assist each institution in planning new and enhanced programs that, with JJF support, will attract more educators to the field.

The grants will provide $700,000 to each institution for each of the next five academic years for such scholarships. The remaining grant funds will be divided among the institutions – $563,000 for YU, $221,900 for JTS, and $212,110 for HUC – to be used in the 2009/2010 academic year for planning purposes and innovative programs that will both seed and sustain the field.

“The Jim Joseph Foundation is confident these three institutions will produce highly qualified educators who will inspire a next generation of young Jews to value Jewish learning,” said Executive Director Chip Edelsberg. “The promise of this initiative is that it will enrich students in their respective programs of study, strengthen each individual institution, and enable us to infuse the field with talented educators whose collective good work will positively impact the world of Jewish education.”

To leverage its investment and to facilitate increased cooperation, JJF will convene a steering committee comprised of the leadership of the three institutions. This group will monitor progress of the grant implementation and plan for additional initiatives that will be pursued with JJF’s support. Together, the institutions will work to foster best practices and identify areas of potential collaboration, the first of which will be the analysis and implementation of distance learning technology at each school.

YU President Richard M. Joel sees JJF’s investment as a rising tide that will lift the capacity of the entire Jewish community. “The future of Jewish life depends on a Jewish people who know and own their story,” he remarked. “The Jim Joseph Foundation’s extraordinary ongoing investment ensures that the best and the brightest are equipped to educate our children and to advance Jewish life. More than that, these four institutions can become a powerful advocacy voice to remind and encourage the Jewish community of the centrality of Jewish knowledge to Jewish life, and the essential nature of quality Jewish education to the advancement of the Jewish people.”

Yeshiva will apply the JJF grant to both its graduate and undergraduate schools. The Center for the Jewish Future’s Eimatai Leadership Development Project and tuition scholarships for students in the Stern College for Women Jewish Educators Project will create both formal and informal entry points into Jewish education for Yeshiva University’s undergraduates. Additionally, the Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration will utilize funds to expand scholarship support, launch distance learning courses, and offer, for the first time, a certificate program in experiential Jewish Education. The grant will also assist in awarding stipends and scholarships to students enrolling in the new Master of Arts in Biblical and Talmudic Interpretation at Stern College for Women.

Reflecting YU’s desire to both seed and sustain the field, Azrieli’s Institute for University-School Partnership is also exploring mechanisms to launch and expand both continuing education and new teacher induction.

“To create more, better trained Jewish educators, mentoring, guidance and learning cannot end at graduation,” commented Dr. Scott Goldberg, Director of the Institute. “We see the Institute’s role as maximizing both Yeshiva’s and Jim Joseph’s investment in our students by providing serious new teacher induction and vehicles for ongoing training so that teachers remain in the field and continue to grow.”

“Our commitment is to Jewish education, and the partnership now established with these three institutions through these grants should contribute greatly to advancing this cause,” said JJF President Al Levitt. “It is an exciting development for all who care about improving the quality of Jewish life. We’re simply playing our role in helping these institutions, and the educators they educate, reach their full potential and positively shape the lives of Jewish youth.”