From the Board Chair: Great Opportunities; Working Together

I became board chair of Prizmah on July 1. At that time, day schools and yeshivot across North America had recently ended a school year like none other, and they were already looking ahead to what some called the “new normal,” where the idea that Covid would “end” near term was seeming less and less realistic.

It was the best time to take on the leadership of an organization that is all about Jewish education and the promise that day schools hold for building the next generation of active community members and leaders. Thanks to my predecessors in the chair position, Prizmah is well on its way to fulfilling the vision of its founders. Prizmah believes, unabashedly, that the future is bright for our schools, especially if we all remain committed and continue to work together.

The spirit of optimism with which I enter my leadership tenure comes directly from what I have seen and heard about in the schools themselves. The old sense of competition that too many schools felt towards each other has been replaced with a realization that collaboration equips schools to face and overcome many challenges stronger, even challenges as enormous as a global pandemic. The value of Prizmah’s network has never been more highly valued.

Three years ago, I retired from practicing mergers and acquisition law at a major international law firm. My motivation was personal: I wanted, among other things, to be able to devote energy to charitable endeavors and, in particular, the cause of Jewish education. Having now served on the Prizmah board for a number of years, I feel that the network-based approach will unlock the potential for stronger and more stable schools. In M&A law, we often talk about win-win situations, when both parties benefit from a deal. Prizmah creates win-win opportunities for day schools, which, hopefully, will ultimately lead to stronger Jewish communities.

As I begin my tenure, I would like to extend two invitations. One, to schools that have not yet joined Prizmah’s network, now is the perfect time. By becoming part of Prizmah, by being willing to share your experience, you open up the door to gain immeasurably from the experiences of schools both similar and different from your own. Two, for schools already in the network, please share more. Share your challenges and successes via a Reshet group, share and discuss best practices with your peers, participate in Prizmah’s surveys and, through Prizmah, in DASL (Data and Analysis for School Leadership). Even more personally, please share with us what else Prizmah can do to increase our value-add.

Finally, I recommend that you take advantage of the many gatherings that Prizmah organizes, on topics central to the day school mission. Our highlights for this school year include the Head of School Retreat and the Day School Investor Summit, both key events taking place in February 2022.

We at Prizmah look forward to enhancing our working relationships with day school leaders and investors as we continue our efforts to build a strong Prizmah that supports our precious schools. Things are looking up—enrollment growth is reversing a decades-old trend; schools are collaborating more than ever before; momentum is building on solving the affordability challenge; and many more people are aware of just how deeply excellence and affordability are linked. There has never been a better time to believe in Jewish day schools. Please help us make our collective dreams come true.

Author
David Friedman
Issue
Organizational Memory
Published: Fall 2021