October 7, 2009 – Seven teachers in Jewish educational institutions in Miami have been awarded the Teacher Excellence and Creativity Award for 2009, with an $1,800 award to be applied to a continuing education opportunity.
Four years ago Targum Shlishi initiated the Teacher Excellence and Creativity Award, which provides select Miami day school, congregational school, and early childhood teachers with the award in recognition of their contribution to promoting excellence and creativity in their respective schools. The award is administered by the Center for the Advancement of Jewish Education (CAJE) Miami, which received a $50,000, five-year grant from Targum Shlishi to promote and recognize Jewish educational leadership in the Greater Miami Jewish community.
“There are so many important reasons to show appreciation to our teachers, chief among them being to promote excellence in education and reward those educators who are doing exemplary jobs,” says Raquel Rubin, co-director of Targum Shlishi, as she explains the motivation for establishing the award. “Unfortunately, we often fail to meet the challenge of providing our children with high quality Jewish education. The awards program is a local intiative that rewards dedication and creativity. We hope it will have a ripple effect, not only motivating other educators, but that other communities will follow our lead and establish similar programs.”
“The Jewish world is facing major challenges above and beyond the crisis in Jewish education, making now a crucial time to focus on improving the quality of Jewish education and ultimately, Jewish life,” says Aryeh Rubin, founder and director of Targum Shlishi. “The dramatic, worldwide increase in anti-Semitism coupled with the unprecedented pressure that the White House is placing on Israel and the reality of the economic situation has more and more young people thinking of their values and the kind of lives they want to live. There’s a strong chance that in the next few years we’ll see an increase in young and talented educators dedicating themselves to Jewish education. This should be encouraged, as education is the cornerstone of Jewish life. It is long past time that we celebrate Jewish educators and show young people that it is a noble profession.”
The seven recipients of the 2009 awards are:
Florence Melton Adult Mini School
Rabbi Lauren Berkun
Hartman Scholar of South Florida; Florence Melton Adult Mini School, Aventura Turnberry Jewish Center
Hochberg Preparatory Day School
Rohr Middle School
Congregation Bet Breira Schimmel-Binder Religious School
Samuel Scheck Hillel Community Day School/Henrietta Scheck Middle School
Temple Beth Am Day School
About Targum Shlishi
Targum Shlishi, a Raquel and Aryeh Rubin Foundation, is dedicated to providing a range of creative solutions to problems facing Jewry today. Premised on the conviction that dynamic change and adaptation have historically been crucial to a vibrant and relevant Judaism and to the survival of its people, Targum Shlishi’s initiatives are designed to stimulate the development of new ideas and innovative strategies that will enable Jewish life, its culture, and its traditions to continue to flourish. For more information on the foundation, visit its website at www.targumshlishi.org.
The Center for the Advancement of Jewish Education (CAJE) is deeply committed to Jewish continuity and renewal through quality formal and informal Jewish education. Through its extensive network of day school, early childhood programs, congregational schools, and adult education programs, CAJE endeavors to create an exciting and meaningful Renaissance for Jewish living and learning in the Greater Miami Jewish Community. CAJE is a beneficiary agency for the Greater Miami Jewish Federation. For more information, visit its website at www.caje-miami.org.
Judith Dach, Ph.D.