The Covenant Foundation gave out its annual Covenant Awards for innovative Jewish educators Sunday night at the Marriot Hotel in Washington, D.C., where the Jewish Federations of North America held its annual General Assembly. Dr. Erica Brown, Scholar-in-Residence at the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington and Director of Adult Education at the Partnership for Jewish Life and Learning; Rabbi Stuart Seltzer, Dean of Judaic Studies at the Shoshana S. Cardin School in Baltimore; and Nili Simhai, Director of the Teva Learning Center in New York are the 2009 awardees. Each of the recipients will receive $36,00 as well as $5,000 for their institutions.
Brown, Scholar-in-Residence at the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington and Director of Adult Education at the Partnership for Jewish Life and Learning, a partner agency of the federation, has made and continues to make a deep and continuing impact leading community-wide programs of adult Jewish learning and leadership development. She is the author of Inspired Jewish Leadership: Practical Approaches to Building Strong Communities (Jewish Lights Publishing, 2008), the basis for Jewish leadership-building curricula throughout the country.
Seltzer has served as Dean of Judaic Studies at the Shoshana S. Cardin School in Baltimore since 2007, after serving as Director of the Rosenbloom Religious School and Director of the Congregational Education Center at the Chizuk Amuno Congregation in Baltimore. As an educator in synagogues and day schools, he has conducted pioneering and inspiring work integrating the arts into Judaic studies, developing an astounding array of family educational programs, and creating partnerships with Jewish community leaders and visiting educators to highly enrich educational experiences.
Simhai has served for the last decade as director of the Teva Learning Center in New York, a prestigious Jewish environmental educational institute that works with Jewish day schools, congregational schools, synagogues, camps, youth groups and other Jewish organizations and institutions to marry environmental and Jewish values. Considered an authority and leader of the Jewish environmental education movement, she has trained and counseled hundreds of educators in the pedagogy of Jewish environmental education through seminars and other gatherings, has grown the Teva Learning Center exponentially, and has put environmental sensibilities and programs squarely in the middle of Jewish educational programming and outreach.