19 Av, 5773
This blog is devoted to health, including social health.
One of the best ways to protect the health of any society is to treat its teachers well. Promoting teacher-thus- student excellence is the key to producing functional, content members of society.
The wider world has the Pearson Teaching Award, the Teachers of Physics Award and so on. What of the Jewish world? Read on!
Dozens of Jewish organizations and institutions devote themselves to the question of how to best educate Jewish community members of the future. These young generations must be inspired to become active members and leaders in the Jewish world. Some organizations identify with a particular Jewish stream or philosophy while other institutions promote a specific educational mode or framework for Jewish learning.
The larger Jewish leadership seems to be focusing on Jewish education in its entirety. Some groups, however, have decided to focus on individual Jewish educators whose creative and effective teaching and role-modeling can make a big difference in a young person's life. The inspiration, motivation and desire to identify Jewishly that an effective teacher imparts to his or her student can, hopefully, create a desire on the part of the student to emulate this special educator. This is seen most specifically in regard to the student's future commitment to the Jewish religion, culture and community.
In order to address the importance of effective Jewish educators in creating a high quality Jewish educational framework in the diaspora the Milken Family Foundation (MFF) has established a Jewish Education Award. The Award was created to acknowledge the efforts of outstanding educators and to honor these individuals for their work, their professional leadership, their community involvement and their support of their students and students' families.
Lowell Milken a long time player in the education field believes that a Jewish Day School education is the best way to nourish a child's Jewish identity. Day school education guides a young Jewish student to develop strong Jewish values and remain faithful to his or her Jewish heritage. MFF has embarked on a project that publicly honors some of the talented and dedicated educators who work tirelessly to make Jewish education an exciting and engaging experience for students and families. The Award aims to strengthen the Jewish Day School movement by recognizing the contributions that superior Jewish educators make to the Jewish community.
Award recipients include teachers, teaching specialists and administrators who work in Jewish Day School system. The MFF Jewish Educator's Award has been presented to educational professionals from more than 40 schools nationwide. This coveted award recognizes the recipient's scholarship, creativity and compassion in their teaching.
"Teachers are evaluated based on their educational practices in the classroom as well their relationship with their student's families and with the larger Jewish community. The award recognizes the educator's originality in educational methods and leadership skills which then influence policies that affect their school's children, families and community.
Each year a group of educators are chosen to receive the Milken Educators Award. They are selected by a committee of professional educators and lay community leaders. Recipients must teach in a Board of Jewish Education-affiliated school in their city at the K-12 level. Honorees receive $15,000 together with the acknowledgement of the Milken Family Foundation and their own communities."
Award recipients come from throughout the United States. One of the first recipients was (now my neighbor in Israel) teacher Shira Smiles from Yeshiva University of Los Angeles Girls High School. She was honored in 1998 for her work with her students and their families. Shira now lives in Ramat Beit Shemesh outside of Jerusalem and continues to share her knowledge with her neighbors and other women through her weekly classes. She has also written a book, Torah Tapestries: Bereshis, with special insights into the 1st book of the Chumash.
Smiles' book explores a variety of themes including human culpability for evil, the imagery and meaning of light, maturity and righteous olam asiya and more.
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Nominate a book you like for an award. Here's how. And this is how to nominate books with Jewish content for awards.