On Sunday, Jan. 10, as part of the Association of Reform Jewish Educators (ARJE) annual North American conference, Alison Weikel, director of education at Temple Shir Tikva, received ARJE’s Yad B’Yad award.
The Yad B’Yad Award recognizes innovative programming and curricula. The purpose of this award is to share the achievements of ARJE members and draw attention to their exemplary contributions to Jewish education. This year’s award sought to celebrate excellence in the field and to honor an individual educator making a unique and distinct contribution to the field of Jewish education.
Alison shared: “I am overwhelmed and honored to be recognized by my inspiring colleagues in the Association for Reform Jewish Educators. The work I do at Temple Shir Tikva with an amazing professional team and supported by outstanding lay leaders is meaningful and challenging in the best possible way. Co-creating our online program this year with our outstanding teachers and responding to our learners’ needs at this particular moment in time has brought into sharp focus the unique opportunity we have as Jewish educators to hold space for our community and nurture their growth, learning and relationships.”
Alison was nominated by Micol Zimmerman Burkeman, a parent in the school and a Jewish educator who is also a member of ARJE and Temple Shir Tikva’s Rabbi Danny Burkeman. In their nomination, they stated that in just a few years, Alison has transformed the culture of the school into “one of belonging, trust and love, driven by the newly articulated values of the religious school community: belonging, tikkun olam (repairing the world), hineini (presence), curiosity, g’millut chassadim (deeds of loving kindness), community and joy.”
In presenting Alison with the award, ARJE leaders Hannah Rubin Schlansky and Tami Weisman said: “You have reminded us all that excellence can happen with hard work, kindness and passion. It is clear from what your community has shared that you are a shining example of how the learning and professional development of ARJE can help each of us to grow and push us all to be better.”
Reflecting on Alison’s award, Rabbi Danny said: “We have known for a long time how lucky we are to have Alison as our director of education. She has encouraged a culture of excellence in our school and ensured that all our students are cared for and nurtured to be their best selves. In this challenging year, when we have had to be digital, she has continued to innovate, develop new curricula and ensure that our students have a feeling of connection and belonging despite the distance.”