Westchester Reform Temple (WRT) has long been at the vanguard of Jewish life in North America, with deep ties to the Reform Movement and a history of inspiring spiritual and educational leadership. We have passionate, engaged congregants and a wonderfully talented and dedicated professional staff. We enrich our congregants’ lives through Avodah (Jewish spirituality), Talmud Torah (lifelong Jewish learning), Chavurah (community engagement), Tikkun Olam (repair of the world), and Clal Yisrael (responsibility for the Jewish People).
Following a community-wide strategic visioning process several years ago, WRT reimagined its religious school program for students in grades K-12 as the Jewish Learning Lab (JLL). The JLL’s mission is a vital one: to kindle a lifelong love of Jewish learning and living in children and youth in the WRT community. To lead this innovative and dynamic program, WRT seeks to hire a senior professional with a passion for Jewish education, clarity of vision, and excellent leadership and management skills.
The Director will play a critical role in helping the JLL to achieve its mission by designing and implementing educational programming that:
-Supports the development of a strong Jewish identity, strengthened with Hebrew language, rooted in Jewish tradition, nurtured by the study of Judaism, and guided by Jewish values.
-Creates enduring and joyful Jewish memories, bringing Torah to life and inspiring Jewish dreams.
-Celebrates both the richness of our traditions and the limitless possibilities of innovation, preparing us to
engage with the unique blessings and challenges of 21st century Judaism.
-Fosters the development of an inclusive and caring community, one that reflects the diversity of Jewish life today and is empowered to serve those in need.
-Engages the parents of students in the rich life of WRT and facilitates a desire to remain active and supportive members of the WRT community, even after the Bar/Bat Mitzvah age is attained.
The JLL strives to honor students’ diverse learning styles and to create meaningful paths for their Jewish education. A successful applicant for the Director position must embrace the “Lab ethos” of flexibility and experimentation, including a willingness and ability to assess on an ongoing basis what is working and what is not. The Director should possess moral and inspirational leadership – working effectively as part of a team and elevating others’ contributions – and be a strategic thinker. WRT also seeks a Director who is warm, embracing, and inclusive, and who would be accessible to JLL families, relating well both to students and their parents.
The Director’s responsibilities will include the following:
-Oversee the management of and long-term planning for the JLL, and collaborate with professional and lay leadership to ensure its vitality.
-Collaborate with the congregation’s clergy in aligning the vision and priorities of the lower grades (K-5), 6th and 7th grades, and WRTeen programming (grades 8-12), and partner with the clergy on relevant programming that particular clergy members direct, such as the Sharing Shabbat, B’nei Mitzvah, and Confirmation programs.
-Supervise JLL teachers, and oversee their hiring, training, and accountability for success in the classroom and in working closely with our families. (Currently, the full-time staff includes an Assistant Director, Hebrew Learning and Special Needs Director, Database & Financial Administrator, WRTeen Program Director, and four additional full-time Jewish Educators. There also are 20 part-time staff.)
-Work with the senior staff and lay leadership to hire educational and administrative staff.
-Work closely with WRT’s Executive Director to coordinate human resources, budgetary, and facility
operations for the program.
-Actively recruit new students to the JLL, including through outreach to parents in the community and engaging current parents in those outreach efforts.
-Partner with the Executive Director, JLL staff, and clergy team to meet with parents, students, and faculty members, answering their questions and addressing their concerns.
-Oversee all supplemental and family educational programming for grades K-12.
-Direct our “WRT Everywhere Initiative,” providing off-site and non-classroom learning experiences for grades K-12. (Currently, there are successful programs in Grades 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, and 12, and we are actively incubating programs for K-4 and 11th grade.)
-Promote partnerships with Jewish summer camps, Jewish youth groups, and Israel.
-Oversee all worship experiences in the lower grades in collaboration with clergy.
-Work with WRT’s Executive Director, educational and administrative staff, and key lay leaders to develop a budget for the JLL that will be submitted to the Board of Trustees for approval.
-Present periodically to the Board of Trustees about activities, programs, and updates regarding curriculum, enrollment, and budget.
-Work with the JLL’s administrative staff and temple communications personnel to oversee all JLL communications, both internal (among staff) and external (from the JLL to students, families, and the wider community).
-Work closely with the Director of WRT’s Early Childhood Center (ECC) to facilitate the continuum of education from the ECC to the JLL.
-Provide adult education as a teacher and inspire a love of Jewish learning among all ages.
The Director will report to the Senior Rabbi on issues of curriculum and education and to the Executive Director on issues of management and operations, such as human resources, budgeting, personnel, and communications.