Jerusalem, Israel – Mar. 4, 2021 -  TalentEducators, an initiative dedicated to fostering new talent in Jewish Education around the world, opened applications for its 2nd cohort as well as announced plans to double the number of educators for the 2021-22 school year.

Founded in 2019, as a joint project of Israel’s Diaspora Affairs Ministry and The Jewish Agency, TalentEducators, has a goal of addressing the growing challenge of recruiting and retaining high-quality educators in Jewish education. The program’s first cohort consists of close to 40 Jewish educators, spread out across 22 cities in the US and England. The organization has now opened applications for its second cohort aiming to double the number of program participants for the 2021-22 school year. In addition to placing educators in the US and England, TalentEducators is launching with Jewish educational institutions in Canada and Scotland.

Prospective participants can apply through the TalentEducators’ website, indicating preferences for formal or informal education, location, and student ages. Once an offer is accepted, TalentEducators provides support through ongoing training and funding for professional development and mentorship. Additionally, TalentEducators provides a community of support through regular programming and interaction with the other members of the cohort. 

TalentEducators works with all educational institutions delivering Jewish content, including preschools, day schools, Jewish community centers, Hillels, supplemental schools (UK cheders), synagogues, charities, non-profit organizations, youth movements, and adult education.

“TalentEducator’s purpose is to help educators, both those who are already in the classroom and those who aren’t yet, realize their full potential while impacting the lives of their students, their colleagues, and their communities,” said Aharoni Carmel, CEO of TalentEducators.  “When we launched our first cohort last year it was with the goal of supporting and empowering educators on their journey to success as well as to help Jewish educational institutions overcome significant staffing challenges. Looking at the first year of the program, the achievements to date have far surpassed our expectations and we are excited to increase the strategic impact of TalentEducators and grow its reach.”

"We are a small school in a small Jewish community without a lot of resources to search for candidates outside our area,” said Liat Walker, Jewish Studies Coordinator, Martin J Gottlieb Jewish Day School (Jacksonville, FL). “TalentEducators matched us with a perfect candidate which we would have never found on our own."

"One of the most incredible ways TalentEducators has impacted my teaching career has been the mentor I was paired with through BetterLesson,” said Naomi Levy, Jewish Studies Teacher, Yavneh Primary School (Hertfordshire, England). “My mentor has been an absolute G-d send during the pandemic as she has given me the tools needed to teach amazing virtual live lessons using an array of different technology ideas. I can't praise TalentEducators enough for all their support and collaborative ideas for teachers in the 21st century." 

Beth Tfiloh (Baltimore, MD ) Director of Education Tzipora Schorr who is on the advisory committee of TalentEducators commented: "In a variation on the truism: we are only as happy as our least happy child, there is no question that  our schools are only as successful as their  least successful teacher. I say this not as a critic of teachers and teaching, but as a champion of the field, and as someone who has trained, nurtured, and celebrated many gifted teachers. But I have also been disheartened and distressed when I hear from our graduates how few of them are planning to go into Jewish education. I hear from my colleagues in other schools that their  greatest challenge is in recruiting and retaining good teachers.  No longer are they inundated with resumes when the current “crop” of graduates return from Israel; they are going into fields like OT, PT, Speech and Language,  technology—anything but education, since those other fields offer more prestige as well as better compensation.

In the next ten years there will be a 2 million teacher shortage in the general sector, and certainly a shortage in the Jewish sector, which we are already feeling. There are so many reasons for this, way too detailed to go into for this post. BUT—if there is an organization which is staffed by highly skilled professionals, which is sufficiently funded, and knowledgeable about the needs in the education world, prepared not only to recruit teachers but also to place them, train them, and support them, then perhaps there is a glimmer of hope for the field of Jewish education—to which I have devoted my entire professional life and passion.

I have worked closely with Aharoni Carmel, and we have had many discussions about how to solve the crisis –and it is a crisis. His vision animates TalentEducators, and his drive and passion will help this initiative to succeed.  I genuinely believe the success of our educational institutions hinges on our ability to recruit and retain talent—and TalentEducators has a concrete plan that is data-driven and accountable.

I am counting on its success, for the sake of the field, and more importantly, for the sake of our children."