By Rabbi Ellen Pildis, School Rabbi
During the week of May 21-25, The Rashi School will have the privilege of hosting a group of externs from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR). This will be the fourth Reform Day School Externship, a joint program of HUC-JIR, URJ (Union for Reform Judaism) and PARDES: Day Schools of Reform Judaism.
As one of 17 Reform Jewish day schools in North America, Rashi is a member of PARDES, whose mission is to strengthen and increase Reform day school education.
This year’s externship will bring to Rashi six rabbinical students, two cantorial students, and two education students. They will participate fully in life at Rashi – observing classes, tefillot and special programs and meeting with professional and community leaders. The externs learn the potential of the day school experience for Reform Jews from the inside out.
An important goal is for these future rabbis cantors and educators is to understand the importance of Day Schools in Reform Judaism. They will return to their HUC-JIR campuses in the fall to create a learning program for the campus-wide community about Reform day schools, share what they learned, and interest the larger Reform student community who will become leaders of the Reform movement in caring about schools such as Rashi in deeper ways. The externs will also collaborate in a positive way with day schools in their future work with congregations across the country.
We will also be welcoming to Rashi that week a delegation of leaders of the Reform movement, including Rabbi Rick Jacobs, President of the URJ, and Rashi parent Rabbi Jonah Pesner, URJ Senior Vice President, as well as leaders of the Central Conference of American Rabbis and the National Association of Temple Educators. The delegation will be at the school on Wednesday, May 23, to visit classes, meet with the externs and Rashi parents and administrators, and attend the school’s Memorial Day program. In the evening, they will join the Rashi community at the school’s Annual Dinner at the Moakley Courthouse in Boston.
We look forward to welcoming the externs and URJ leaders. It is really an exciting opportunity for Rashi to have the opportunity to showcase teaching and learning at our school.