HAYIDION The Prizmah Journal


Reshet Roundup: The Force of Others

by Debra Shaffer Seeman Issue: Catalyzing Resources Prizmah

As Shawn Achor, Harvard University happiness researcher and author of Big Potential, pointed out, “When George Lucas wrote the script to the billion dollar Star Wars franchise, the most iconic line in movie history—‘May the Force be with you’—was not in it. Instead, the earliest versions read, ‘May the Force of Others be with you.’” George Lucas spoke of something powerful in that original version, but it was something that was overruled by the society that “has become overly focused on the ‘power of alone’ versus ‘the power of one made stronger by others.’” The book of Ecclesiastes, which we just read on Sukkot, reminds us that "A threefold cord is not readily broken." The strength of each individual cord becomes amplified in its intertwined grasp.

Whether you’re drawn to the insight of Ecclesiastes or the wisdom of George Lucas, the message is a similar one. Here at Prizmah, helping you to make the connections that will make you stronger is at the center of our work. We are committed to helping you deepen your connections with colleagues, forge new collaborations with peers, and crosspollinate ideas with educators from around North America.

The Prizmah Network has been built to provide space for self-organizing groups, action-oriented collaborations, peer-to-peer conversations and more. While some of our efforts aim to create fieldwide connections, others invest in the interests of particular groups. In this, our third year of the Prizmah, we are deepening our knowledge of schools and their unique regional trends so that we can foster meaningful connections between members of the field and the resources they need to thrive.

To that end, the Prizmah team is working in partnership with a range of organizations and leaders in order to support schools on the individual, whole school, communal-regional and fieldwide levels.

Prizmah’s peer-to-peer professional development Reshet groups host vibrant conversations and crucial sharing of perspectives and policies.

Personal relationships between school stakeholders and Prizmah team members ensure that we know how to best support your work.

In addition to supporting leaders through customized school-by-school commitments, Prizmah is moving the day school conversation forward at the community level. In coordination with Jewish Federations of North America and local Jewish organizations, Prizmah is designing community-wide approaches to school leadership collaborations, teacher pipelines, alternative tuition models, endowment building and professional development.

The JDS Collaborative forges partnerships among school leaders interested in addressing similar challenges through action-oriented facilitated cohorts.

Prizmah convenings will connect stakeholders from schools in small communities, development professionals, board members, yeshiva day school professionals and day school leaders across the field at the biennial Prizmah Conference.

The creation of a Knowledge Center will provide access to a comprehensive repository of reports, videos, articles and other useful material related to Jewish day schools.

Prizmah’s research agenda looks to identify critical trends in professional and lay leadership that can enable us to provide strategic support and guidance for strengthening day schools.

At the heart of our work are the relationships that we have with each and every one of you. With the new Jewish year upon us, I’d like to ensure that we at Prizmah are helping to make the connections that will make you stronger. And, as they say in the old country, May the Force of Others be with you.

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Catalyzing Resources

This issue looks at ways that Jewish day schools find creative ways to increase and maximize their resources. In the first section, authors explore the partnerships that day schools forge with organizations in their community and beyond, to help raise money, foster teacher development, support students and cultivate relationships. Articles in the second section look at ways that schools work with the resources that exist within the school. We hope that the issue inspires you with fresh ideas for catalyzing resources at your school.

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