Eighteen Years of Innovative Jewish Education Celebrated in Commemorative Book



Glenn Rosenkrantz, 646.245.8975, glenn.rosenkrantz@gmail.com


The Covenant Foundation Honors Nearly Two Decades of Groundbreaking Programs and Trailblazing Practitioners

New York – Jan. 26, 2009 – Nearly two decades of immense innovation and impact in Jewish education are profiled and celebrated in a new book published by The Covenant Foundation.

A Covenant of Dreams: Realizing the Promise of Jewish Education, a 128-page book marking the Foundation’s 18th (“chai”) anniversary, describes in words and pictures the glorious work of those who have received Covenant Awards and grants since the organization’s establishment in 1991.

The book, edited by Diane Tickton Schuster, includes compelling images captured by famed photographer Zion Ozeri, meaningful and moving essays by awardees and grantees, and an accompanying DVD by documentary filmmaker Pearl Gluck.

“Their narratives are a multifaceted collection of stories about family influences, formative learning moments, teaching challenges and dimensions of personal and professional growth,” write Susan Crown and Barbara Goodman Manilow, of The Covenant Foundation’s founding family, in the book’s introduction. “In telling their stories, this volume charts the trajectory of Jewish educators entering a field, enriching it, and, ultimately, dreaming about its future.”

The book was conceived as an aesthetic and literary milestone at a significant anniversary for the Foundation, said Harlene Winnick Appelman, its executive director.

“This beautiful collection looks back to those honored and supported by the Foundation for their promise and the striking and everlasting impact of their work in Jewish education and community. And as a tangible source of inspiration and promise, it looks ahead, as the seeds of learning and continuity are planted and nurtured.”

The book is divided into six sections, each viewing and highlighting past awardees and grant recipients through a different prism. “Glorious Work” chronicles the myriad ways, often unpredictable, that people have entered – and continue to enter – the field of Jewish education. “A Human Enterprise” explores the issue of personal connection, the core characteristic of teaching in any venue.

“A Repertoire for Change” snapshots bold ideas, and the creativity and tenacity exhibited by those who push boundaries to implement them. “Hearts of Many Chambers” describes the shared determination of many educators to reach the disenfranchised and create community change by incorporating them into discourse and programming.

“Family Matters” explores the value of mentorship, and the parents, teachers and communities who offer young people and others direct experiences and personal guidance to root them in Jewish life and learning. Finally, “Dreams to Deeds” contains narratives about how ideals and actions transform visions of impactful education into reality.

Each year, The Covenant Foundation cites three outstanding Jewish educators as recipients of a prestigious Covenant Award. The 54 educators honored with this distinction since 1991 have a presence in the new volume and the promise and impact of their work and mission stand as a permanent inspiration.

“The institutions they have enriched, the programs they have initiated, the influence they have had on others have each been enhanced by being brought into the orbit of the Covenant Foundation,” writes Eli Evans, chairman of the Foundation’s Board of Directors, in the foreword to the book. “In ways small and large each has helped to make a Jewish renaissance imaginable.”

Grantees, also highlighted and showcased in “A Covenant of Dreams,” represent individuals who, and programs that have and continue to take creative and often trailblazing approaches to Jewish education across denominations and settings.

In his foreword, Evans describes the compelling journey of cousins Susan Crown, daughter of Lester Crown, and Barbara Goodman Manilow, daughter of Charles (Corky) Goodman, who joined in the 1980s to plant the seeds of the Covenant Foundation to reinvigorate Jewish education, push it to new extremes and harness, recognize and support new ideas to meet future challenges.

“They conceived a national strategy of trying to do something positive to reward great Jewish teachers and improve Jewish education in America. It was no surprise that the plan resonated deeply with their fathers, who were themselves deeply involved national and international leaders in Jewish life.

“When a superb Jewish educational system is in place, perhaps a decade from now, it will only be because communities and funders from across the country came together with the realization that educational excellence is the key to the Jewish future.”

Copies of A Covenant of Dreams: Realizing the Promise of Jewish Education and the accompanying video are available directly from the Covenant Foundation. To order a copy, call 212.245.3500 or email info@covenantfn.org. Excerpts are now featured at www.covenantfn.org.

The Covenant Foundation is a program of the Crown Family Foundation and the Jewish Education Service of North America (JESNA).