June 5, 2008
Briefs: Jewish educators award scholarships, State accredits Jewish teacher training
Nine students from Los Angeles Unified School District schools each received a $2,000 scholarship from the Association of Jewish Educators (AJE), a group of Jewish teachers and administrators at Los Angeles public schools.
At a May 18 brunch, the group handed out six scholarships to high-performing Jewish students who were involved in the Jewish community.
The winners were: Zara Atanelov, Taft High School; Max Cecil, Cleveland High; Lili Pariser, Cleveland High; Arielle Turner, Narbonne High; Michaela Sola, Hamilton High Music Academy; and Lauren Zalman, Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies.
In addition, the AJE has teamed up with its counterparts in the black, Latino and Asian communities to award Human Relations Multi-Cultural Awards to deserving students. Those scholarships, also for $2,000, went to Briana Ford, Carson High School; Alma Martinez, King Drew Medical Magnet; and Djamilia Niazalieva, Hollywood High.
More than 300 people attended the annual brunch, including LAUSD board member Julie Korenstein.
"I applaud these high school seniors for their commitment to their Jewish heritage and maintaining excellent grades," Korenstein said. "Being active in your community is just as important as maintaining good grades."
Since its inception, the scholarship program has provided more than $250,000 in scholarships.
For more information on the Association of Jewish Educators, contact Stu Bernstein at (310) 459-0022 or e-mail email@example.com.
-- Julie Gruenbaum Fax, Education Editor
State Accredits Jewish Teacher Training
After six years of training soon-to-be-teachers, the Los Angeles campus of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) has earned the ability to grant state teaching credentials.
Instead of going through the 13-month teacher training program and then having to apply for a California teaching credential, attendees of Day School Leadership through Teaching (DeLeT), a program of the Rhea Hirsch School of Education at HUC-JIR, can earn credentials in multiple subject areas for grades K-8.
The program helps teachers-in-training learn how to implement best practices in classrooms throughout North America. Partnered with Brandeis University in Boston, HUC-JIR's DeLeT program recruits educators with a zest for learning for a yearlong fellowship that includes a mentored internship at a Jewish day school in Los Angeles or the San Francisco Bay Area.
During DeLeT training, teachers learn current methods and how to incorporate Jewish values and ideas into general studies.
This is the first time any Jewish institution in California has been authorized to give state accreditation, said Michael Zeldin, director of the Rhea Hirsch School of Education.
"We want to create a new kind of teacher who will be mindful of general and Judaic studies, who can incorporate and infuse all subjects of teaching. It takes a unique teacher to help students explore their Jewish self-identity, and it doesn't matter if he or she is a math, science or language teacher -- it's all integrated," said Rivka Ben-Daniel, the program's education director.
For more information on the DeLeT program visit http://www.huc.edu.
-- Celia Soudry, Contributing Writer
Van Nuys High Valedictorian
Van Nuys High School named Cherise Meyerson its valedictorian. The top student in her graduating class of 503 students, Meyerson -- who had a record of perfect attendance over her 12 years in school -- is president of Van Nuys' Jewish Student Union, a weekly club with Jewish events and discussion topics. She is also president of the school's National Honor Society chapter, captain of the Science Bowl team and the highest individual scorer in Van Nuys history in the Academic Decathlon competition. Meyerson will attend UCLA in the fall as a Regents Scholar.
New Millions for Day Schools
The Bureau of Jewish Education (BJE), a beneficiary of The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, helped Jewish day schools bring in more than $3 million this year from new donors and foundations.
The Jewish Funders Network challenged schools to find new donors of $25,000 or more through its MATCH grant program. The Network, backed by the AVI CHAI Foundation and the Partnership for Excellence in Jewish Education, matched new-donor money 50 cents to the dollar.
Fourteen Jewish schools earned those matching funds this year, bringing in a total of more than $1.3 million. Four years ago, the first time the grant was offered, only two area schools qualified. With the help of Miriam Prum-Hess, heading up the BJE's new department for day school operations, schools received training and guidance in finding grants and nurturing new donors.
That approach also paid off with the Department of Homeland Security, which awarded close to $2 million to 14 Los Angeles Jewish schools in 2007. The funds pay for security infrastructure, such as cameras or fences. The BJE conducted joint training sessions with The Federation, and a total of 23 Jewish institutions received Homeland Security grants.
For additional information, visit http://www.bjela.org/.
Irvine School Donates 6,000 Books
Students at Tarbut V'Torah Community Day School teamed up with Access Books, a nonprofit organization, to donate over 6,000 books to a new charter school, Orange County Educational Arts Academy, during a community book drive this spring.
Leighann Pennington, the sixth-grade language arts and social studies teacher, facilitated the program at Tarbut V'Torah, a school in Irvine that promotes values of tikkun olam (repair the world) to students from kindergarten through 12th grade.
Along with donating books to the library, Tarbut V'Torah students bonded with peers who attend Orange County Educational Arts Academy, mingling, cataloging books and painting murals together.
Founded in 1999, Access Books has worked with over 100 schools and donated more than 1.2 million books to several libraries.
"This project really helped my students take on important leadership roles," Pennington said. "It was very inspiring to see the students interact with each other during the book drive. We are so proud to be a part of building the Orange County Educational Arts Academy."
For more information, visit