Less than a month after Boston Jewish day schools were awarded $45m. from anonymous donors, JTA reports (in its 'breaking news') on another seven-figure grant for Jewish day schools. This time, the UJA-Federation of New York is donating $1.8m. towards a 'Leadership Institute for Congregational School Principals,' "a joint project of the Reform movement’s Hebrew Union-Jewish Institute of Religion and the Conservative movement’s JTS. Forty Hebrew school principals at Conservative, Reform, and Reconstructionist congregational and communal schools in the New York area will be selected for a two-year program at the institute."
Clearly, years of advocacy to get Jewish education higher on the communal agenda are finally paying off. What is interesting in this case is that the grant will also help principals of congregational schools -- ie. part-time, supplementary schools, aka 'Sunday School'; one of the criticisms of the Boston grant was that such schools were left out. My source in the Jewish education sector, however, tells me that anecdotal evidence suggests that such schools are becoming more popular (perhaps due to the rising cost of Jewish day school education?) -- and perhaps even succeeding in retaining larger numbers of post-Bar Mizvah kids.
By complete coincidence, I'm going to start teaching Sunday School -- Kittah Daled -- next week, something I've wanted to do ever since I got back to the Diaspora. So -- reports from the ground soon!