HAYIDION The Prizmah Journal

From the Desk of Bathea James, RAVSAK President

by Bathea James Issue: Teaching Hebrew

Dear Chevre,
I hope that you are well and your preparations for the close of the school year are not too burdensome. My wishes for a most successful year end.
RAVSAK has historically been focused on the advancement of community day school education in the US and Canada. This year, we had the good fortune of welcoming our first Mexican Jewish day school as a new member. As we begin our preparations for the year end, we find that the work of RAVSAK is reaching beyond North America and across the Anglo-Jewish world.

On a recent trip to South Africa in March this year, I had the pleasure of discussing what we do with the Head of the South African Board of Jewish Education, Rabbi Craig Kacev. The board was established in 1928 to provide a common framework for the many institutions in which students could receive a thorough Jewish Education. Their focus is on excellence in Jewish and secular studies with the aim of ensuring that every Jewish child who wants a Jewish education gets one, and that they reach their maximum potential. Their offices are on the magnificent campus of the Kind David School, Linksfield in Johannesburg. I had the privilege of working there prior to my immigration to America. We discussed successes, challenges and common concerns- we all face the realities of limited resources, big dreams and few people to do the work that needs to be done. It is our hope to soon partner with the South African Board of Jewish Education in our shared interests.

As I reported earlier this year, we are working with JCOSS, London’s first Jewish community day high school. After an extended wait, they have just received word of government approval for funding and planning for the new school and campus has begun in earnest. RAVSAK will work closely with JCOSS as we welcome them, too, into our growing network.

Dr. Marc Kramer, our Executive Director, continues to consult with a small group of Jewish schools in Australia as they explore the possibilities and struggles that come with operating across and beyond denominational lines.

Closer to home, we have had the good fortune of thinking together with the leadership of NAAJHS (North American Association of Jewish High Schools) about ways to synchronize and share our work. We will also welcome the Reform day school network, PARDeS to our conference this coming January in Los Angeles.

As we continue to work on our strategic planning and have the pleasure of interacting with so many talented individuals, it has become clear to us that collective wisdom and partnership with all our constituents is crucial for RAVSAK’s future survival and expansion.

With this in mind, I am writing to ask for your help. In keeping with best practices of sound organizational structure, RAVSAK is in the process of developing or expanding our governance model. We are seeking fellow educators and lay board members who have the capacity and desire to help lead the industry of Jewish community day school education at the national and international levels.

Board of Trustees

This lay board will guide RAVSAK in an advisory capacity ensuring we adhere to best practices, help us in identifying the needs of our member’s lay boards, as well as assisting RAVSAK in either finding or providing the financial backing to maintain and expand present services and staff. We are seeking individuals who have “made a difference” in their local communities and are prepared to take what they know and what they do to the national scene. If you are interested, please call Dr. Marc Kramer at 212-665-1320

Judaic Advisory Council

This committee will be comprised of Judaic Directors who will meet via conference call several times a year as well as in person at our annual meeting. They will be responsible for providing input on all Judaic related topics such as ideas for new initiatives, conference presentation topics and speakers, identifying gaps in RAVSAK’s service to Judaic heads, and helping us ensure excellence in Judaic and Hebrew studies for our school membership. If you are interested in serving on this committee, please call Lynn Raviv at 205-567-8587

Executive Committee This committee directs and supervises the current organization. If you have any ideas for new board members who are willing to work throughout the year in helping us fulfill our mission, please call me at 520-5754098.

I thank you all in advance for seriously considering national leadership roles through RAVSAK. Let’s hope the vision that we all share of preparing our future Jewish leaders continues to sustain us.


Bathea James

Bathea James is the President of RAVSAK. Bathea can be reached at bathea@msn.com

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