Congregation Or Shalom welcomes all who embrace Judaism and want to explore opportunities for meaningful spiritual, cultural and social engagement. Through shared experiences, Congregation Or Shalom fosters lasting relationships that connect us as an extended family.
We are an inclusive and diverse community that respects individual expressions of belief and practice. Interfaith families are warmly welcomed. Together, we continually discover how Judaism enriches our lives and helps us make the world a better place.
Learners’ Jewish Journeys (J 2) at Or Shalom
At Or Shalom we guide our learners’ Jewish Journeys (J 2) by nurturing and inspiring, as they build spiritual resilience and community connections needed to navigate the world of today and tomorrow.
Through learning in a joyful, inspirational and supportive environment, Or Shalom learners experience Judaism as personal, relevant and engaging.
Strategies to Accomplish Mission and Vision
The J 2 philosophy provides choices and opportunities which deepen our learners’ Jewish Journeys by:
Inspiring big questions, wrestling with ideas, problems and solutions that allow them to grow, even when faced with failure.
Guiding them to apply Jewish values to the ambiguities and complexities of our learners’ immediate concerns.
Nurturing self-confidence to navigate an increasingly volatile world.
Connecting us through community, shared language, history and values.
Our nine CANDLES: The tenets of J2 Teaching and Learning
Choose: Expressing one’s Jewish Journey through choice in the learning process through multiple learning experiences.
Ask: Asking big questions to expand our understanding.
Wrestle: Wrestling with the values of Judaism to ground our moral compass.
Connect: Connecting ourselves to a supportive, nurturing community that fosters a sense of belonging.
Repair: Forging a better world through acts of Tikkun Olam (healing our world), Tzedakah (justice) and Chesed/G’milut Chasadim (acts of loving kindness) while gaining the confidence to do so.
Identify: Identifying and Sharing language, rituals, tefilah (prayer), history, stories and traditions to bind us in a relationship with one another, and with our people, through our shared culture.
Live: Applying middot (Jewish values) to identify problems and seek solutions that help us live in and navigate the VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous) world.
Reflect: Ongoing documentation and reflection of each learner’s J 2 to ensure the learning is visible and memorializes moments of intellectual, moral and Judaic understanding.
The Shamash Candle is the learner: The individual creates brighter light with each of these candles, and each of these candles brightens the light of the learner.
Introduction to the Role of Director of Education at Congregation Or Shalom, Vernon Hills, Illinois
The Director of Education at Congregation Or Shalom in Vernon Hills, Illinois, under the leadership of Rabbi Ari Margolis, will be future-focused and embrace our mission, vision, and tenets for Jewish learning that have been thoughtfully designed over the past four years. The director will demonstrate the intelligence, skills, habits, attitudes and drive to successfully lead learning journeys in a PreK-12 Jewish learning environment in an ever-changing world.
The qualities we are seeking in a candidate are based upon mindsets. Mindsets are deeply held beliefs, attitudes and assumptions we create about who we are and how the world works.
If the mindsets the Or Shalom community embraces are aligned with your values, we would be honored to accept your application.
“What do I seek from you? I seek no more than that you love one another and honor one another; and that you have yirah (awe and fear) for one another.” -Tanna de Bei Eliyahu Rabbah 26:6
The Education Director models what it means to have a Relational Mindset by demonstrating joy, optimism, openness, inclusivity, genuine caring, empathy and a communal spirit by:
Valuing each child’s individuality, unique gifts and creating opportunities for all children to find their passions and thrive.
Facilitating meetings with each family to actively listen and learn about their hopes.
Facilitating meetings with each teacher and team of teachers to listen, learn and set joint goals.
Helping all students feel connected to other students and Or Shalom, recognizing that some may need more connecting experiences.
Establishing ongoing focus groups with students to brainstorm, listen, learn, ideate and design.
Partnering with the education committee and the VP of Education to plan, implement and reflect on all learning experiences.
Sharing responsibilities with others to be inclusive and to build the capacity of others.
Bringing an active voice and a spirit of collaboration to senior leadership meetings and staff meetings.
Planning all events with relational activities as a tenet that is always incorporated. It is the underpinning of our beliefs.
Supporting, with commitment, all joint decisions.
Asking for support when needed and giving support to colleagues, without being asked.
Solving problems through a human-centered lens, meeting the needs of the students and the members, supporting their voices and offering choices.
Requesting ongoing feedback from all stakeholder groups.
This prepares us to bounce back from challenges and prepares us to succeed in a world full of unknowns, as reflected in a growth mindset. “The righteous person falls seven times, and yet rises up again.” – Proverbs 24:16
The Education Director models a Resilient Mindset by:
Building a nimble organization that constantly weaves in sustainability and resilience to better serve our members.
Demonstrating language and actions that turn problems into opportunities.
Viewing yourself as a “work in progress” and looking forward with optimism and openness.
Pushing the boundaries of your comfort zone.
Modeling curiosity, experimentation, and tapping into your own intrinsic motivation.
Constantly refreshing skill sets, at a speed that is faster than ever before.
Navigating tension by appreciating its value and realizing that people bring different views, life experiences and visions, and working to bring all involved to a place of deeper understanding.
Believing that diversity needs to include all types of differences.
Adapting an iterative mindset, asking better questions, practicing self-reflection and compassion.
Finding joy and having fun!
Modeling the power of building on the ideas of others and/or helping to generate options to nudge people to work together.
Finding work energizing and appreciating the fast pace.
Leadership is doing the right things. Leadership sets direction to produce positive change, the experience of which will not always be predictable or orderly. Leadership aligns people around a shared vision and invites others to discover themselves on the journey, which often disturbs the way people are organized. Leadership motivates so that people feel purpose, belonging, autonomy and inspiration. “Leadership demands two kinds of courage: the strength to take a risk, and the humility to admit when a risk fails.” – Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, commentary of Vayikra.
The Education Director models a Leadership Mindset
Envisioning, with clergy, senior leadership, the education committee, and at times the Board of Directors, Jewish milestones in the life of a child, pre-K through high school graduation and what the milestones will look like, sound like and feel like each year so that each unique group of learners and families can discover why these moments matter.
Empowering others to lead.
Understanding that change requires momentum and moderation at different points in the journey.
Experimenting with new ideas.
Demonstrating courage, which means taking that first step,
without knowing whether or not you are going to be successful.
Encouraging people to come up with radical new approaches, potentially scaling the new model to a point where it can dramatically influence the current organization.
Hiring people with different backgrounds, perspectives and experiences who believe in, and can activate the vision, mission and tenets of Or Shalom’s educational programming.
Developing professional learning that is future-focused, ongoing and supports inquiry, design, and student-centered instruction.
Setting goals as a staff, as well as with individual teachers and monitoring those goals through ongoing formative and summative assessments throughout the year.
Asking the question, “Does this moment call on me to manage or to lead?”
Management is doing things right. Management organizes people to enable them to work effectively and efficiently. “For the task is too heavy for you; you cannot do it alone . . . [let] them share the burden with you. . . you will be able to bear up; and all these people too will go home unwearied.” - Yitro from Exodus 18:18,23
The Education Director models and implements strong Management Mindset skills by:
Facilitating plans, scheduling and developing budgets to achieve predictable and orderly results.
Solving problems to assist others in their daily work.
Delegating, with support, when appropriate.
Thinking through scenarios from start to finish, visualizing each detail that needs to be completed.
Being the first in the room and the last to leave at an event that was under your purview, whenever possible.
Setting the stage with clarity and understanding so that others can carry out the various functions.
Developing written materials regarding, but not limited to: registration, tuition, budgeting, board reports, enrollment, communication, safety procedures, marketing, staffing needs and celebrations.
A Learning Leader Mindset
Learning Leaders dedicate themselves to a lifetime of learning. They find new inspiration and insights through their continuous thirst to learn. They make inquiry, investigation and professional curiosity a way of life. Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.
The Education Director models and implements a Learning Leader Mindset by:
Asking intelligent questions.
Distinguishing easy solutions from the impactful ones.
Honing personal leadership skills for a future that will require new approaches.
Assessing what is important and focusing on learning it quickly.
Valuing life-long learning as a continuing educational process and making a plan for personal and professional growth.
Major Responsibilities of the position of Or Shalom Education Director
This list includes the major responsibilities related to the position. The responsibilities will be ever-changing, based upon needs, wants and future-focused planning.
The full-time Or Shalom Education Director will plan, organize, administer and supervise the operations of all aspects of our pre-K-12 Jewish Journeys (J 2) Religious School and help actively recruit new families.
Day to Day Operations:
Oversees all aspects of day-to-day programming
with intentionality, confidence, calm, joy and focus on the learners and families we serve.
Demonstrates the qualities of a highly organized, self-starter who is able to manage multiple projects concurrently.
Exhibits the capacity to be flexible regarding when and where events are scheduled to meet the needs of Or Shalom’s students and families.
Develops, implements and manages the budget and the daily, weekly, quarterly and yearly logistics needed to implement the J 2 religious school each and every week.
Ensures a welcoming, safe and clean environment for students.
Maintains a climate that attracts, keeps and motivates a diverse and highly qualified staff.
Sets goals with teachers and students and monitors them regularly in partnership with the teachers and students/families.
Thinks creatively in all areas; including, but not limited to logistics, budget, communication, professional learning, hiring, and classroom management.
Balances opportunities for online, experiential and in-person learning.
Monitors and regularly assesses each teacher’s ongoing performance using a clearly defined rubric based upon the implementation of our vision, mission, tenets and CANDLES.
Remains current on all new crisis and emergency protocols, based upon Lake County Health Information, Vernon Hills Police and Fire, URJ, etc.
Documents and stores student artifacts in an electronic portfolio that will chronicle the journey of each learner PreK-12.
Applies for grants that will enhance the J 2 religious school, health, safety and welfare.
Creates a protocol for monitoring and assessing student success using various aspects of Onward Hebrew.
Facilitates the robust Madrichim program and other youth programs, with the support of the youth program advisor(s).
Focuses on what is best for each child.
Bases decisions on their congruence with our J 2 vision, mission, tenets and CANDLES.
Researches new resources and techniques to improve teaching and learning.
Interviews and hires all personnel for the J 2 model.
Demonstrates excellent oral and written communication skills, including media fluency.
Manages all J 2 communications through all relevant channels and creates a communication schedule to ensure that this occurs.
Develops creative marketing strategies to promote the J 2 religious school.
Proofreads all communication sent by teachers, J 2 committees, youth groups and students.
Writes education reports for board meetings.
Communicates with the Education Committee chairperson bi-weekly, and with the entire committee monthly.
Chronicles J 2 events through photos, videos, etc.
Writes for the Shofar (Or Shalom’s update to congregants) regularly and invites guest authors.
Leads with kindness in all interactions.
Partners with the J 2 Education Committee as it tests new ideas, gives feedback and develops members as J 2 ambassadors.
Attends and actively participates in senior staff meetings, Education Committee Meetings and monthly Board of Directors’ meetings, and job alike meetings with area Congregation Education Directors.
Supports the work of all committees, emphasizing Social Action.
Coordinates many of the tasks and learning experiences needed to prepare children for B’nai Mitzvah and Confirmation.
Facilitates, with clergy and staff. the planning and implementation of children/family services throughout the year, Yom HaShoah, etc.
Plans for the Purim Carnival and other student-related events with various committees.
Organizes and facilitates J 2 events and partners with other committees or outside groups to facilitate community events.
Attends conferences to gain knowledge on current educational trends.
Sends out articles, podcasts, etc. that are relevant to staff and families.
Facilitates ongoing staff meetings, which focus on professional learning, teacher interests and specific needs.
Medical and Disability Insurance
Professional dues and conference budget