Inside Jewish Day Schools: Leadership, Learning, and Community
Alex Pomson and Jack Wertheimer
A singular contribution to the knowledge base of Jewish education. Accounts go beyond the usual statistics and offer narratives of painful challenges and creative responses. Required reading for Jewish educators and for community members committed to educating future generations of Jewish leaders.
--Lee S. Shulman, Lee S. Shulman
Alex and Jack have opened the windows to an array of exemplary Jewish day schools, offering an inside view of how they work on good days and tough ones. A singular contribution to the knowledge base of Jewish education. Accounts go beyond the usual statistics and offer narratives of painful challenges and creative responses. Required reading for Jewish educators and for community members committed to educating future generations of Jewish leaders.
—Lee S. Shulman
Pomson and Wertheimer confront the challenges and successes of Jewish day schools in North America, and by using a sophisticated research methodology, have conducted a deep dive into Jewish schools today. For anyone interested in Jewish schools, Jewish education, or indeed Jewish life today, this book offers an unparalleled vantage point which should invariably stimulate lots of discussion and debate, and shine a light on some deep issues of concern.
—David Bryfman, CEO, The Jewish Education Project
Anyone seeking to understand the opportunities and challenges in Jewish day schools today will benefit from the virtual guided tour that Pomson and Wertheimer have finely curated. This behind-the-scenes analysis lends valuable perspective on the realities and enduring dilemmas of pursuing a mission and ideals in a Jewish school setting. Educators and lay leaders alike will be enriched by the particular cases of innovative and intentional leadership, learning and change management. Each voice in the book reveals a unique Jewish school culture with generalizable lessons for the field.
—Miriam Heller Stern, Vice Provost for Educational Strategy and National Director of the School of Education, HUC-JIR
Pomson and Wertheimer invite us to see these nine schools, and Jewish Day Schools everywhere, with new eyes. They combine expertise in educational research with a depth of curiosity, insight and human connection that bring the schools, and the people in them, to life. These refreshingly honest portrayals powerfully illustrate the similar and different ways that leadership, education, Judaism, community come together to shape the hearts and minds of our next generation.
—Rabbi Marc Baker, President and CEO, Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Boston, and former Head of School, Gann Academy
An invaluable guide to the contemporary Jewish day school in North America that is at once discerning and appreciative. The authors discover a great deal that is working well in the nine schools they profile, and explain why; they offer nuanced understanding of how changes in pedagogy, recruitment strategy, student support, board governance, institutional leadership and community outreach could help schools of every denominational variety to be more effective. One comes away convinced that leadership, vision and high quality learning are the keys to high achievement and that successful day schools are essential to the future of the Jewish community.
—Arnold Eisen, Chancellor Emeritus and Professor of Modern Jewish Studies at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America
Inside Jewish Day Schools presents a unique perspective on Jewish education in North America and the factors that contribute to successful learning within the community and within the school. But perhaps even more significantly, as one prominent Jewish educator mentioned to me, the book, with its analysis of the nine schools, presents a series of excellent case studies that can advance and improve the state of Jewish education.
The book does offer useful insight into the operations of the schools studied and their different approaches to the challenges they face. Researchers and those involved in day school education will find this aspect of the study most useful.
That’s what the reader gets from Pomson and Wertheimer. They report 'on what happens inside Jewish day schools,' asserting 'every school we studied has a profound impact on the lives of people it touches.'.. Their case is persuasive. ...Inside Jewish Day Schools is akin to a travelogue, the scenes, the settings, the missions, the amenities, and the challenges. Names, job descriptions, and stories are true. Style of leadership and quality of communication seems to determine success.
—Israel National News
In Inside Jewish Day Schools: Leadership, Learning, and Community, Pomson and Wertheimer’s in-depth studies of these different schools reveal the complex set of activities at the heart of educating young people and the topography of concerns and desires informing these institutions. Their insights reveal the complexity of “good-enough” Jewish education....[This] book ...exemplifies exactly the sort of rich and insightful scholarship necessary for nurturing vibrant, lived North American Judaism.
—Joshua Ladon, Sources: Shalom Hartman Institute
Alex Pomson, PhD, is Principal & Managing Director of Rosov Consulting Israel. Pomson is internationally regarded for his research in areas that include the life course of Jewish families, teachers’ lives and work, and Israel education. He is the co-author of Jewish Family: Identity and Self-Formation at Home (Indiana University Press) and co-editor of Jewish Day Schools, Jewish Communities: A Reconsideration and of the International Handbook of Jewish Education (Littman Library).
Jack Wertheimer is Joseph and Martha Mendelson Professor of American Jewish History, The Jewish Theological Seminary. Wertheimer is the author or editor of more than a dozen volumes, including, The New Jewish Leaders: Reshaping the American Jewish Landscape (Brandeis University Press, 2011).