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Jewish Educators Gain Resource As Service Opens an ‘online Shop’

The Jewish Education Service of North America has opened an “online shop” of teaching materials for Jewish day school educators.

The Sosland Online Jewish Education Resource Center is a new section of the organization’s burgeoning Web site, the building block for what the organization hopes will grow into a “one-stop shop” for Jewish day-school educators, said Steven Kraus, JESNA’s director of school support and development.

“We wanted to put the important information people asked us for in one easy place to find,” Kraus said.

The virtual center, a storehouse of links to Jewish day-school online resources, was built with the aid of a $1 million grant from the Sosland Foundation of Kansas City, Mo.

JESNA’s overall site at www.jesna.org and the new Sosland Resource Center are aimed at helping Jewish day- school professionals develop and plan teaching programs, Kraus said.

The main site spans six areas, including congregational and communal education; research and evaluation; educator recruitment and development; media and technology; and day schools and youth.

That means users of the site will be able to find information on everything from where to find local day schools — which Kraus said he is frequently asked — to information on day-school advocacy and marketing.

In fact, many of the resources on the Sosland section of the site were included because of questions people asked JESNA, he said.

“We’re going to build it based on what people tell us is important to them,” he said.

Ultimately, Kraus hopes to make the site truly interactive, with chat, video and other Web tools.

The Sosland Foundation is a private philanthropic foundation. Blanche Sosland, a vice chair of JESNA’s board, welcomed the new Web shop’s launch.

“We continue to be impressed with JESNA’s ability to provide cutting-edge educational tools for Jewish educators,” she said.

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