Brandeis Teaching Program Reaps $5.2 Million Foundation Grant

The Jim Joseph Foundation, established to support programs that help young people pursue ongoing Jewish learning and live vibrant Jewish lives, has given a three-year, $5.2 million grant to the DeLeT teacher education program at Brandeis University and Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles. The grant expands upon a relationship between DeLeT and the San Francisco–based foundation that began two years ago.

DeLeT — which derives its name from the Hebrew word for “door” — takes an innovative approach to the training of Jewish day-school teachers, integrating rigorous graduate coursework with yearlong immersive field experiences in partner schools under the guidance of experienced teachers. Philanthropist Laura Lauder founded the program in 2000 in response to a looming shortage of well-educated, highly qualified Jewish day-school teachers.

To date, DeLeT has prepared more than 130 teachers working in some 40 Jewish day schools across the United States. Typically, such teaching posts are especially demanding in that they require instruction both in general academic subjects and in Jewish history, religion, ethics, tradition and culture.

To help practitioners meet such high expectations, DeLeT offers “an intense, transformative experience that is both personal and professional,” says Sharon Feiman-Nemser, Mandel Professor of Jewish Education and director of the Mandel Center for Studies in Jewish Education, which administers the DeLeT program at Brandeis in cooperation with the university’s education program. “The Jim Joseph Foundation has systematically sought out partners in every arena of Jewish education as it pursues its mission of creating compelling learning experiences for young Jews, and we’re honored and proud to be among those partners.”

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