Denominational day school groups collaborating
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Denominational day school groups collaborating

Another sign of positive change pushed by new economic realities is afoot in the day school movement.

In January, four major umbrella groups for Jewish day schools from each denomination will hold a joint professional development conference in the New York area.

Participants will include members of Ravsak, the umbrella organization for Jewish community day schools; the Conservative movement’s Solomon Schechter schools; the Reform movement’s Pardes; and the Modern Orthodox Institute for University-School Partnership of Yeshiva University. Among the items to be discussed: better use of technology, the changing nature of education, new models of professional development and business models for the new economy.

Essentially the groups are expanding Ravsak’s annual conference to save costs and collaborate. Though each denomination will have some space to talk about its own religious issues, it is very much one conference, according to Ravsak Executive Director Mark Kramer.

"This is a vision of collaboration that is at once about being smart with dollars because we have to be, but the recession has also given us permission to remember that all of us are klal Yisrael," Kramer said. "If everyone in the Jewish community puts our oars in the water and rows in the same direction, we will get through this."