Announcing edJEWprize: Teen ELI Talks Student Contest

eli and schechter

Announcing edJEWprize: Teen ELI Talks Student Contest. The edJEWprize: Teen ELI Contest is for middle and high school students in 6th-12th grades.

Co-sponsored by ELI Talks and the Schechter Day School Network, the Teen ELI Contest seeks to inspire and reward students and schools who embrace passion, curiosity, 21st century learning and Jewish seeking.

The Concept:

ELI talks are ‘inspired Jewish ideas’ addressing Jewish engagement (E), literacy (L), and identity (I) with Israel and peoplehood at the core. Similar to mini-TED Talks, schools are encouraged to adopt and adapt the proven pedagogy for preparing and delivering an “ELI talk” for middle and high school students. Developing a Teen ELI talk, with all the skill-building that process entails, serves as a powerful method of instilling a sense of Jewish pride and confidence. Participants benefit from a meaningful experience. Schools benefit from sharing their students’ powerful stories.

The Process:

We have prepared and attached guides for “Coaches” and for “Speakers.” While students are welcome to create talks on their own, we recommend that you assign at least one faculty person to serve as “coach” for however many students wish to participate in order to ensure a quality experience. The guides provide the criteria for creating a 5-minute Teen ELI Talk.

Any student wishing to participate in the contest will be required to upload their talk to YouTube (via a personal or school account) and submit the link to no later than April 3rd, 2015. A proposed timeline for talk preparation is included in the Coaches’ Guide.

Judges will include past ELI speakers, Jewish educators, and experts in online video. Winning submissions will be announced by May, 2015.

Submissions will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Originality of the “inspired Jewish idea”
  • Adherence to the E-L-I format (see the Coaches’ Guide for more on this) and five-minute time limit
  • Quality and creativity of speaker’s delivery

While videos must have clear visuals and sound, overall quality of the video will not be a deciding factor.

Winning videos and their associated schools will be highlighted on ELI talks and Schechter Network social media channels, and in an article on eJewishPhilanthropy. The winning students will be featured in an ELI on Air videocast and on the ELI talks website. One outstanding student may be chosen to have their talk professionally produced at the next ELI talks filming.

If you have any questions, you are encouraged to contact Ilisa Cappell, Associate Executive Director, Schechter Day School Network, at

Coaches Guide

Speakers Guide


#GivingTuesday December 2nd, 2014!

blue bannerWe are excited to participate in #GivingTuesday!  Communities around the world celebrate and encourage giving after Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Charities, families, businesses, community centers, and students come together for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity and to give.

 We ask you to join this movement by donating to Schechter Day School Network today!

 And, if you are on social media, you can show your support of SDSN by using hashtag #SchechterImpact

to join the conversation and to tell us how Schechter has impacted YOU.

Share your stories!

P.S. Want to know more about the Schechter Impact? Read more here!

Schechter Network: November Newsletter

Click this link to get the most up-to date info on what the Schechter Network has been up to November. This issue includes:

  • Information about our latest edJEWcon Cleveland hosted at Gross Schechter Day School
  • Registration is open for the NAJDSC Conference in 2015!
  • a spotlight on Lander-Grinspoon Academy
  • Information about #GivingTuesday

…and much more!

Schechter Network Summer Newsletter

Click this link to get the most up-to date info on what the Schechter Network has been up to this summer. This issue includes:

  • A welcome from the new Executive Director of the Schechter Network, Jon Mitmacher;
  • a webinar for professional development on our new education platform, Eduplanet21;
  • Information about the NAJDSC Conference in 2015;
  • Photos and exciting news from different Schechter Schools around the US;

…and much more!

Schechter Network and the Jewish Montessori Society Announce a New Partnership

Press Release






 Jewish Montessori Schools Become Schechter Network Affiliates; Collaboration Between Networks



CONTACT: Alisha Goodman, Director of Development 646-519-9211


NEW YORK, JULY 24, 2014 – The Schechter Day School Network (SDSN) and the Jewish Montessori Society (JMS) are excited to announce a new strategic partnership, enabling schools in the two networks to collaborate and share resources. Effective immediately, JMS’ member schools will become Affiliate schools of SDSN.

Educators in both networks will immediately feel the benefits.  As Affiliate schools in the Schechter Network, JMS educators will have the opportunity to connect with one another and to participate in high-quality professional development through Eduplanet21, SDSN’s virtual platform for professional development. JMS will also be able to add course content to the platform, enabling all educators within both networks to take these new courses. Additionally, SDSN schools now have access to more expertise in the Montessori approach, which is a great complement to early childhood resources already available through USCJ. We also look forward to learning and collaborating with day schools and colleagues from all networks at the North American Jewish Day School Conference 2015 in Philadelphia, PA.

“We are thrilled to enter into a strategic alignment with the Jewish Montessori Network.  This is a great opportunity for Schechter schools and Jewish Montessori schools to connect, collaborate and learn from each other.  We are confident this relationship will bear important fruit for the field in the months ahead,” said Jon Mitzmacher, Executive Director of the Schechter Day School Network.

Ami Petter-Lipstein, Executive Director of the Jewish Montessori Society, shared her excitement. “The Jewish Montessori Society is thrilled to embark on this exciting new journey with our friends at the Schechter Network. From the first conversation with Jon Mitzmacher and Program Director Ilisa Cappell, it was clear that they shared our vision of “every child learning lishma,” a world where Jewish children encounter Jewish education with joy, passion and enchantment.  We are confident that this new relationship will be a terrific complement to the incredible work that our schools will continue to do.”

SDSN was founded in 1965 as the Solomon Schechter Day School Association and represents schools spanning K-12 across North America. JMS was formed in 2011, with several communities in the process of planning new Jewish Montessori programs for fall 2015.


About the Schechter Day School Network

The Schechter Day School Network advances educational excellence and collaboration among Jewish day schools that share its dual commitment to tradition and modernity. The Network serves the needs of its community of schools for connection, innovative Jewish programs, professional development, and advocacy.

About the Jewish Montessori Society

The Jewish Montessori Society is the catalyst and backbone of the global Jewish Montessori movement. Through community-building, thought leadership and capacity building, JMS expands awareness of and access to Jewish Montessori education. JMS works to create a world where every Jewish child is “learning lishma,” encountering Jewish education with joy, passion and enchantment.



Why I Hosted Two EdCamps

Shira Leibowitz, the Head of School at The Solomon Schechter School of Queens in New York, offers insight into what hosting an EDcamp conference entails.  Click here to read her wonderful article!