The Jewish Education Olde Thyme Radio Hour: “Matterness” w/Allison Fine

There is one truth about our schools that is universal regardless of the size, age, or location – it is never boring to be a Jewish day school!  A related corollary is that there never seems to be a down or calm period anymore.  There is a season for each activity and it can sometimes feel like you are racing from one peak to the next, with no time to breathe between.  (Unless the weather conspires to shut you down!  However, school closures create their own unique pressures as so many of you are presently experiencing.)  As soon as you successfully launch your year, you are already focused on recruiting and retaining families for the next.  As soon as you close one campaign, next year’s campaign readies to begin.  As soon as your board begins to function at high capacity, it becomes time to cultivate new members.  As soon as you hire your last staff person and close your professional development calendar, the work of evaluation and planning the next year’s calendar launches.

And so on.

It can be a real challenge even finding an hour to read, to think, or engage in conversation with colleagues about big picture issues.  That is why it is such a pleasure for me to share this podcast with my friend and gifted educator Rabbi Marc Baker and to work on it with the good folks at ELI Talks.  It is our opportunity to take that hour to discuss important issues of the day and to engage others in the conversation.  We opened this second podcast with a discussion of the challenges extended snow days present to schools and whether they can become opportunities to challenge the traditional model of schools with bounded times and spaces.  But our main focus was our very first guest, author Allison Fine, and a conversation about her new book, “Matterness,” and its implications for the field.

It is not a #humblebrag to suggest that we would do this podcast with no audience. Truthfully, we aren’t even sure what kind of audience we have!  We genuinely appreciate the gift of time the podcast gives us to learn and discuss and we hope that those who are listening (or watching after the fact) enjoy the conversation half as much as we do.

As always, you are welcome to share your feedback as commentary on this blog or on the ELI Talks YouTube page!


Here are the links to the two blog posts Marc discussed in our intro:

Here is the video I discussed during our interview (shout out to Silvia Tolisano who shared it with me):

Author: Jon Mitzmacher

Dr. Jon Mitzmacher is the Head of the Ottawa Jewish Community School. Jon has recently begun his rabbinical school journey at the Academy for Jewish Religion and is thrilled to have joined the faculty of the Day School Leadership Training Institute (DSLTI) as a mentor for Cohort 12. He was most recently the VP of Innovation for Prizmah: Center for Jewish Day Schools.  He is the former Executive Director of the Schechter Day School Network.  He is also the former head of the Martin J. Gottlieb Day School, a K-8 Solomon Schechter, located in Jacksonville, FL, and part of the Jacksonville Jewish Center.  He was the founding head of the Solomon Schechter Day School of Las Vegas.  Jon has worked in all aspects of Jewish Education from camping to congregations and everything in between.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.