Chief Rabbi launches landmark study of UK’s Jewish educational system

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Chief Rabbi launches landmark study of UK’s Jewish educational system

Ephraim Mirvis calls the partnership project with the United Synagogue, PaJes and UnitED, the most "significant Jewish educational initiative in a generation"

Office of Chief Rabbi, Feb 2024
Office of Chief Rabbi, Feb 2024

Leaders of more than thirty schools gathered this week in London and Manchester for the launch of the Chief Rabbi’s Schools Review.

Also in attendance were representatives of the United Synagogue, UnitED (a project of the Ministry of Diaspora Affairs and Combatting Antisemitism in Israel) and PaJeS – who are working in partnership to deliver the. project.

The first phase of the Chief Rabbi’s Schools Review will be a landmark study of the Jewish educational ecosystem in the UK, undertaken by one of the world’s foremost Jewish educational consultants, Dr Alex Pomson of Rosov Consulting in Israel.

Dr Pomson will undertake a ‘deep dive’ into the opportunities and challenges for Jewish education at both primary and secondary level by interviewing the schools themselves as well as other organisations and individuals that operate in the wider Jewish educational landscape.

The research and the recommendations that emerge from this first phase will inform how the Jewish education system can be improved both structurally and substantively.

The second phase will be about how to implement these recommendations for the long-term benefit of the community. This ambitious endeavour will build on existing best practices within Jewish schools while engaging with stakeholders and consulting experts to consider what can be done better in order to craft a forward-looking blueprint for the future of Jewish education.

Office of Chief Rabbi, Feb 2024

The Chief Rabbi said: “There is hardly a more important mission than to instil within our children a proper understanding and deep love of their Judaism. My hope is that with this review, which could be the most significant Jewish educational initiative in a generation, we can create the very best possible environment for inspiring a generation of proud young Jews, equipped to thrive in an increasingly challenged world.”

Addressing the launch, Tamar Berman, the director of schools strategy at the United Synagogue and the project manager for the Chief Rabbi’s Schools Review, said: “Following the pandemic, between the United Synagogue and the Office of the Chief Rabbi we held individual conversations with each school.  There was appetite within the schools to take a holistic look at the Jewish education system and to consider how we can be smarter and more effective in delivering Jewish Life. The Chief Rabbi’s Schools Review is our response to these conversations.

“We are creating a framework, that will enable those who live and breach Jewish education to reflect and to share… what works and what doesn’t work and how we can improve the system both structurally and substantively… for the benefit of the students in our care.”

Yom Tov Raanan, deputy director general for Ministry of Diaspora Affairs and Combatting Antisemitism, said: “The Ministry for Diaspora Affairs and Combatting Anti-Semitism views Jewish education as a long-term commitment, aimed at establishing a strong foundation for our children, their children, and all future generations.

“It is this foundation that enables us to navigate and overcome challenges, and at the end of the day – it is this foundation of a strong Jewish Identity that is the ultimate answer to Anti-Semitism. Therefore, this project is especially important for us, as we celebrate our Jewish spirit and unity by joining together towards a new future for Jewish education in the UK.”

Hana Dorsman, chief executive officer of UnitEd, said: “I am excited that we have reached this moment – launching such a significant project, the purpose of which is to enable schools to face the challenges of Jewish education for the younger generation in England, and to deepen the value and relevance that these schools provide to Jewish children. We are proud to be part of this collaboration between various organizations that work together for the future of Jewish education.”

Rabbi David Meyer OBE, chief executive officer of PaJeS, said: “This project, is a partnership of key organisations in the UK and Israel, alI united in our determination to work with all stakeholders, and with a vision to achieve what could be a paradigm shift in the delivery of Jewish education across the United Kingdom.”

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