A quality Jewish day school education nourishes the roots of a strong Jewish identity, implanting core values and fertile learning while endowing youth with the wings to fly, test their limits and build a future that honors the past.
This complex and critical task is dependent upon outstanding educators. Surely, we must honor and recognize the most talented among the fine BJE teachers, administrators and specialists in nearly 40 schools. By surprising four exceptional educators with their Jewish Educator Awards before entire school communities, we proclaim very publicly that excellence in education should be rewarded. In recognizing the essential contributions that educators make to our society, we hope to encourage our next generation to consider the adventure of teaching. This connection is further reinforced through the JEA Student Essay Contest, open to middle and high school students at BJE-affiliated schools.
As we seek to attract, retain and motivate greater numbers of high caliber individuals to pursue Jewish day school education as a profession, it is imperative that we provide them with opportunities and incentives for their work to flourish. Those we honor today Mary Itri, Rabbi Usher Klein, Rabbi Baruch Kupfer and Lidia Turner are role models deserving of emulation for their intelligence, scholarship, creativity and compassion. We are truly blessed by such educators, who ground our youth with the requisite knowledge and skills for success, while instilling the ethics and values that will allow them to soar.
For more information, please read the 2012 Jewish Educator Awards press release.