Since its founding in 1825, B’nai Jeshurun (BJ), a non-affiliated synagogue on the Upper West Side, has been at the forefront of the American Jewish experience. As it approaches its third century, our vision remains focused on the spiritual work of transformation and on the creation of a Jewish path that is authentic, profound, and helps all members of the community seek and live their purpose to the fullest.
BJ’s spiritual leaders, Rabbis Rolando Matalon, Felicia Sol, and Rebecca Weintraub, and Hazzan Ari Priven, as well as BJ’s nearly 1,800 member families, share a vision of a diverse, dynamic, and inclusive community that offers many paths to Jewish religious life while supporting one another in their spiritual quests. BJ is committed to honoring tradition while re-imagining and innovating its practices and programs to create a vibrant, contemporary, and relevant Jewish life for all who seek it.
We are excited to welcome a new Director of Family Life and Learning.
The Director of Family Life and Learning (the “Director”) has overall responsibility for BJ’s formal and informal education and community-building programs for children, young adults from birth through college, and their families. The position reports to Rabbi Felicia Sol.
The Director will be a visionary leader and educator responsible for transforming BJ’s approach to youth and family life and education and its integration into the larger BJ community. The Director will be part of the BJ community and a presence on Shabbat and holidays.
We seek to build a synagogue community for the diversity of Jewish families today, fostering connection and raising the big questions of life, while providing Jewish education, resources, and guidance to wrestle with and respond to those questions. We want to challenge families and children to lead lives of service and purpose that help create a more just, peaceful, and dignified world. We desire to build a Shabbat-centered family community that imbues the day with joy, learning, renewal, and transformation and brings alive the rhythms of the Jewish calendar. We are committed to integrating families with children in preschool, day school, and Hebrew school, and teens fully into our Family Life and Learning programs and into the life of the BJ community as a whole.
The Director will be part of senior program leadership and will be responsible for the following:
1) Vision Setting, Strategic Planning, and Leadership
- Work with BJ’s rabbinic team to establish and develop consensus for the institutional vision, mission, and philosophy of family and youth education.
- Establish a multi-year plan to implement that vision, including assessment of areas of weakness and potential growth and development of new initiatives.
- Set departmental agenda, goals, and criteria for measuring success in implementing the plan.
- Establish programmatic, administrative, and operational priorities; and a timeline for their implementation.
- Collaborate with other BJ staff in areas such as Israel engagement, hesed and tzedek activities, and prayer and spirituality (including music).
- Develop opportunities for collaboration and leadership among staff, faculty, parents, lay leaders, and students; cultivate leadership in these groups.
- Develop structures for assessment and feedback among constituents, including focus groups and surveys.
- Set, foster, and model an accountable, high-morale, and positive environment.
2) Finance, Administration, and Operations
- Develop the annual budget for the department and supervise all expenditures.
- Coordinate departmental calendar and scheduling of specific programs.
- Develop content for the website and other communications materials and supervise their distribution, including an active social media presence.
- Coordinate with Development staff and rabbis on specific fundraising opportunities for Family Life and Learning.
3) Hiring, Training, and Evaluation
- Lead, motivate, and evaluate a high-performance Family Life and Learning team.
- Recruit and retain qualified professionals for full-time staff and teaching positions. Design and implement professional development, including performance reviews, ongoing staff training and mentoring, faculty meetings, and departmental retreats.
- Oversee team building, conflict management, and problem-solving.
4) Family Support and Management
- Recruit and retain students and families.
- Build relationships with and between students, their families, and professional staff. Identify and respond to individual needs and interests of students and families and create opportunities for connection, achievement, and greater involvement.
- Evaluate student progress and achievement.
- Identify special needs and develop and implement interventions and accommodations.
- Communicate with parents about program goals, curricula, initiatives, and innovations, and provide mechanisms for feedback and evaluation.
- Collaborate with volunteer parent advisory committees on programming, new initiatives, and opportunities for parental and family involvement.
5) Curriculum Development and Learning Culture
- Collaborate with spiritual leaders to design and implement family and educational prayer experiences and services.
- Ensure alignment between institutional vision and priorities, program goals, and activities for all school, youth, parent, and family programs.
- Foster and supervise the development of an integrated, consistent, and innovative curriculum and materials.
- Design and implement program evaluation and assessment, including benchmarks for success.
6) Advancing the Field
- Develop relationships with colleagues to keep abreast of best practices and innovative programming and to build collaborative partnerships.
- Keep up-to-date on new research and trends in the education field to promote innovation.
- Serve as a lead educator in the field through speaking at conferences, publishing articles, and being a mentor to those in the field and within the BJ community.
- We seek a rabbi or lead educator who is devoting their career to family and youth education; who is enthusiastic, accessible, and a skilled teacher and leader; and who can communicate with and be responsive to adults and children alike.
- The successful applicant will be comfortable with change, willing to experiment with different kinds of educational programs and experiences, and strongly self-evaluative.
- The Director will possess the organizational and personal skills to manage a large budget and to supervise, manage, and support full-time staff, a large number of part-time faculty, and a committed corps of volunteers.
- We are seeking a community builder and team player who fosters a collaborative environment. Partnership is essential across the board, both between lay people and staff and within the staff itself.
- The Director will have strong oral and written presentation skills and a presence that inspires confidence in parents, lay leaders, and colleagues.
- A Master’s Degree in Jewish education, education, or a similar advanced degree, along with proven successful experience in a synagogue or similar setting, is required.
This is a full-time, exempt position, with a competitive salary range of $130,000–$160,000, based on experience level.
BJ offers medical, dental, and vision insurance policies, as well as vacation and sick days, over 20 paid (national and Jewish) holidays, a 403b retirement plan, and many other benefits.
Hours may be irregular and while there may be some opportunity for remote work, the incumbent will be expected to be on site regularly, to oversee the Department and will need to exercise great flexibility and demonstrate regular visibility within the Kadima community and with parents, particularly at holiday time and at key junctures throughout the school year.
Please submit a resume and a two-to-three-page vision statement for your work as the Director of Family Life and Learning to Human Resources at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line, “Director of Family Life and Learning.”
Equal Opportunity Employment
B’nai Jeshurun is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion in recognition of its values, commitment to social justice, and responsibility to its spiritual leaders and staff, congregants, and the communities within which it lives and works. It strongly encourages applications from people of color, persons with disabilities, women, veterans, immigrants, and LGBTQ+ applicants.