The Covenant Foundation Announces Recipients of 2019 Covenant Award

Published: 
June 5, 2019

Source: The Covenant Foundation 

 

The Covenant Foundation has announced the names of three Jewish educators who are the 2019 recipients of the Covenant Award. Dr. Gregory Beiles, Head of School, The Toronto Heschel School and Director, The Lola Stein Institute, Toronto, Canada; Sally Grazi-Shatzkes, Registered Drama Therapist, Licensed Creative Arts Therapist, and Theater Director, Yeshivah of Flatbush, Brooklyn, New York; and Risa Strauss, Education Director, Beth Shalom Synagogue and Founding Director, Camp Gesher, The Katie and Irwin Kahn Jewish Community Center, Columbia, South Carolina, are the recipients of the Award, which is among the highest honors in the field of Jewish education.

“Each of this year’s Award recipients is deeply embedded in the work of their respective institutions, each wears multiple hats, and each learns and teaches alongside colleagues and faculty members for the betterment of their individual school communities,” said Cheryl Finkel, Chair of the Board of Directors of The Covenant Foundation and a 1999 Covenant Award recipient.

Along with the recognition that accompanies this award, recipients will each receive $36,000 and each of their institutions will receive $5,000.

DR. GREGORY BEILES is the Head of School at The Toronto Heschel School and the Director of The Lola Stein Institute. At the Toronto Heschel School, where he has worked for the past 22 years and has served as Head of School since 2014, Beiles continues to be guided by the teachings of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, and seeks to shape Jewish education as a ‘work of art’ by looking to Jewish wisdom not merely for content, but also to shape the methodologies and approaches for teaching and learning. At his school, he ensures that tikkun olam, daily acts of chesed, and ethical practices based on the weekly parsha are woven into the school’s daily curriculum. The school also nurtures intentional Jewish pluralism in which children from diverse Jewish backgrounds discover the strength of diversity within unity.

SALLY GRAZI-SHATZKES is a Registered Drama Therapist, Licensed Creative Arts Therapist, and Theater Director at Yeshivah of Flatbush. At the Yeshivah of Flatbush Joel Braverman High School, Grazi-Shatzkes is the lead drama therapist in the Witness Theater program, an innovative intergenerational program run by Selfhelp Community Services, Inc., that brings together Holocaust survivors and high school students to elicit, expose, and memorialize the moving stories of survival. By utilizing a guided drama therapy process through which group members explore issues of war, loss, and trauma, Witness Theater allows participants to also form deep and meaningful relationships that dissolve the barriers between generations. Grazi-Shatzkes also trains drama therapists to facilitate the program at multiple other locations.

RISA STRAUSS is the Education Director at Beth Shalom Synagogue and the Founding Director of Camp Gesher at The Katie and Irwin Kahn Jewish Community Center. During her tenure as Education Director, Strauss has increased enrollment and reinvigorated the Religious School through enhanced teacher training and meaningful interaction with parents, and worked to develop positive connections with adult learners and the synagogue Board through outreach and creative programming.

The Covenant Foundation and the Jewish community will honor the 2019 Award recipients on Tuesday, November 5 in New York, at the annual Covenant Awards dinner.

Read the entire announcement at the Covenant Foundation website.

Updated: Jun. 19, 2019
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