A Covenant of Dreams: Real­iz­ing the Promise of Jew­ish Education

Diane Tick­ton Schus­ter, ed; Zion Ozeri, pho­tographs; Pearl Gluck, filmaker
  • Review
By – January 3, 2012
Among Jew­ish com­mu­nal pro­fes­sion­als, there is no greater hon­or than receiv­ing a Covenant Award for excel­lence in Jew­ish edu­ca­tion. Nom­i­nat­ed by col­leagues and vet­ted by a rig­or­ous exam­i­na­tion of a life­time of achieve­ment on the front lines of the field by the lead­ers of the Covenant Foun­da­tion, the fifty-four edu­ca­tors who have been select­ed dur­ing the first eigh­teen years of the pro­gram rep­re­sent the very best prac­ti­tion­ers from across North Amer­i­ca. Serv­ing all types of Jew­ish edu­ca­tion­al set­tings in all denom­i­na­tions of Judaism, the sto­ries, moti­va­tions, and aspi­ra­tions of the Covenant Award win­ners are now col­lect­ed in a new book, A Covenant of Dreams

Edit­ed by Diane Tick­ton Schus­ter with pho­tographs by Zion Ozeri and a doc­u­men­tary DVD by film­mak­er Pearl Gluck, A Covenant of Dreams cel­e­brates Jew­ish edu­ca­tion in an unusu­al for­mat. Seek­ing to uncov­er the com­mon char­ac­ter­is­tics of an uncom­mon group,” the book presents brief insights from the Covenant awardees detail­ing why they chose to enter the field, what they do to cre­ate per­son­al con­nec­tions with their stu­dents, when they have pushed bound­aries with bold new ideas, how they val­ue inclu­siv­i­ty, where men­tors have played a role in their devel­op­ment, and what they dream for the future of Jew­ish edu­ca­tion. Illus­trat­ed by pho­tos and enhanced by a DVD of the edu­ca­tors in action, this beau­ti­ful cof­fee-table book is inspi­ra­tional read­ing for any pro­fes­sion­al or lay leader who seeks mod­els of excel­lence in the field. 

In this slim vol­ume Har­lene Win­nick Appel­man, Exec­u­tive Direc­tor atCovenant Foun­da­tion, and her team have done far more than cat­a­logue the achieve­ments of fifty-four Jew­ish edu­ca­tors. They take seri­ous­ly the man­date set out by Susan Crown and Bar­bara Good­man Manilow — the vision­ary fun­ders from the Crown fam­i­ly who estab­lished this extra­or­di­nary foun­da­tion: to real­ize the promise of Jew­ish edu­ca­tion to inspire, teach, and deep­en Jew­ish knowl­edge, iden­ti­ty, and com­mit­ment. A Covenant of Dreams is a tes­ta­ment to their unwa­ver­ing ded­i­ca­tion to ele­vat­ing and cel­e­brat­ing this vital work. This book is avail­able for the cost of ship­ping and handling.
Ron Wolf­son, Ph.D., is Fin­ger­hut Pro­fes­sor of Edu­ca­tion at the Amer­i­can Jew­ish Uni­ver­si­ty in Los Ange­les. He is the author of The Spir­i­tu­al­i­ty of Wel­com­ing: How to Trans­form Your Con­gre­ga­tion into a Sacred Com­mu­ni­ty and God’s To-Do List: 103 Ways to Be an Angel and Do God’s Work on Earth (both Jew­ish Lights Pub­lish­ing). Ron is also co-founder and pres­i­dent of Syn­a­gogue 3000, a nation­al insti­tute for cat­alyz­ing excel­lence in syn­a­gogue life.

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