Stephen Wise Free Synagogue, a 501(c)3 religious organization, employs full-time and part-time staff who support the values and principles of the synagogue. If you are committed to advancing Jewish life in New York City and helping others to embrace their heritage, consider joining our staff. Career opportunities for Jewish educators, nursery school teachers, administrative, facilities, and marketing staff are listed as they become available.
Early Childhood Center Director
Early childhood education thrives in New York City, where experienced educators and parents know the importance of a good pre-K education. The Early Childhood Center at Stephen Wise Free Synagogue (the ECC) is a professionally-run school, with top-notch, trained, and qualified educators; an active parent community; and a track record of graduates moving on to success in the full range of New York’s finest kindergarten and elementary school programs. It is a joyful, happy, warm place, where children thrive, and families find community and connections.
The ECC carries on Stephen Wise Free Synagogue’s long tradition of educating young children. In 1949, the synagogue opened what was then called the Nursery School and Kindergarten, where children learned through creative play in a Jewish environment. Now, nearly 70 years later, the ECC continues to educate and inspire the youngest members of the Stephen Wise community.
Serving children in 2s, 3s, 4s, and pre-K, the school has been built and led for many years by Lori Schneider, who has chosen a much-deserved retirement. Long-committed to the Reggio Emelia approach and pedagogy, the school has ample, bright, engaging facilities and is particularly known for its passionate, skilled, and long-serving faculty.
Programs are designed around all forms of a child’s growth and development: physical, emotional, social, and cognitive. Teachers practice an interdisciplinary approach to learning, where children’s interests are integrated into all areas of the curriculum. Jewish identity is an equally important part of the school’s philosophy, and teachers and administrators work to infuse Jewish values into explorations of everyday life and to find meaningful ways to celebrate Shabbat and holidays.
Jewish learning is integrated into all aspects of the ECC, with regular Friday Shabbat services, holiday celebrations, and Family Experiences at the synagogue. The children have frequent contact with the members of the clergy and consider the synagogue to be their second home. The school works to infuse the ECC with Jewish values, focusing on the “big ideas” of Judaism.
With an interim director in place for the 2018-19 school year, the ECC is searching for a new permanent director to begin July 1, 2019.
The director of the ECC reports to Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch, senior rabbi of the synagogue. There is a parents association and a teacher leadership team that advise the director. The director is a member of the senior staff of the synagogue, a group of 10 people who meet monthly. The director also meets with clergy monthly, and with the senior rabbi weekly.
As with any new leader, the director will have the flexibility to structure and populate the ECC team in a way that the director believes will achieve optimum effectiveness.
Along with more effective marketing of the school and keeping the program of the school as strong as it is, the new director will be expected to:
- Embrace Jewish values and community life, and the Reggio Emilia philosophy and its view of children as competent and capable.
- Capitalize on the strengths of the current faculty while building and sustaining a teacher team that is excellent without exception and brings energy, commitment, innovation, and freshness to the program.
- Strengthen the relationship with and mutual benefits of its collaboration with the synagogue.
- Continually tune into the hyper-competitive exmissions landscape in NYC, and be sure that the school achieves, and becomes known for, an excellent exmissions process and results.
- Find new ways to respond to parents who have limited time. Parental involvement, extended hours, and programming during closed-days all are things that should be examined in view of being user-friendly to active, working parents.
- Review programmatic and administrative policies and procedures to ensure the school is operating at its highest potential, and those policies and procedures are implemented with fidelity.
Among the many qualifications and qualities desirable in the next director are:
- A deep love, understanding, and appreciation of the value and potential of young children.
- Experience with early childhood education programs.
- Commitment to the importance of Jewish education as an essential element in perpetuating the beauty, values, culture, and importance of Judaism.
- Appreciation and welcoming of the full range of Jewish identities, practice, family structure, and culture.
- Appreciation for the principles of Reggio Emilia, its view of a child, and best-practice approaches to educating young children.
- Strong experience marketing a school and building enrollment in a competitive environment.
- A driven, passionate, hard worker with infectious high energy who leads by example.
- A desire to make the ECC the school of choice for the target audience. Someone who seeks continuous improvement and is never satisfied to rest on laurels.
- Skilled at motivating, supporting, evaluating, hiring, and holding accountable faculty and staff.
- Both leader and manager. Able to articulate and “sell” a compelling vision and be a hands-on leader who makes sure that the school is a professionally-run, customer-responsive, consistent, and fiscally-responsible enterprise.
- A charismatic “face of the school” for internal and external audiences.
- Ideally, experience with exmissions. If not, then a self-starter with a predisposition to build the kinds of relationships with elementary schools that are necessary to strengthen the exmissions process and successes.
- Proven experience working with high-expectation parents in effective ways.
- Someone who welcomes feedback about themselves and the school views them as opportunities for learning and growth.
- Financial experience and literacy to help develop and manage budgets.
- Proficiency with tools of personal and educational technology.
Interested and qualified candidates should submit electronically, in one email and as separate documents (preferably PDFs), the following materials to Skip Kotkins at :
- A cover letter expressing their interest in this particular position;
- A current résumé;
- A one-page statement of educational philosophy and practice; and
- A list of five professional references with name, phone number, and email address of each (references will not be contacted without the candidate’s permission).
Social Justice Program Associate
Stephen Wise Free Synagogue invites talented applicants to apply to join our community in the role of social justice program associate (SJPA). The SJPA will be responsible for the congregation’s social action agenda. The SJPA will report to Associate Rabbi Samantha Natov and will work in close partnership with senior staff and our members to lead three action-oriented task forces focused on the following areas: domestic civil liberties, anti-Semitism, and immigration and refugees. Additionally, the SJPA will help to oversee the Social Action Committee.
The ideal candidate will bring to this exciting role a passion for civic engagement and social justice, and an understanding that our congregation’s desire to make the world a better place is rooted in our rich religious tradition.
- Leverage the incredible energy, professional skills, and resources of our community to mobilize the aforementioned task forces.
- Develop a compelling vision for the Stephen Wise social action agenda, rooting the immediate work of three congregant-led task forces in a dynamic, multi-year social impact campaign/strategy.
- Provide regular professional leadership to congregant-led task forces to ensure the achievement of short- and long-term objectives as they relate to issues in each area: domestic civil liberties, anti-Semitism, and immigration and refugees.
- Coordinate and/or lead community education meetings, workshops and events. Examples: local and national policy briefings, volunteer and service learning programs, sponsorship of and participation in relevant rallies and protests, and missions.
- Establish meaningful and mutually beneficial relationships with community partners, including synagogues, churches, local and national advocacy organizations, government agencies, national and international social service providers, and more.
- Develop and manage opportunities for public presentations, to enhance public awareness of Stephen Wise’s social action initiatives.
- Manage regular email communication to task forces and the Stephen Wise community at large in order to maintain regular participation, resourcing and visibility.
- Minimum of 3-5 years of experience in program management. Experience organizing around the following issues is a plus: refugee and immigrant rights, voting rights, gun violence prevention, women’s reproductive rights, and efforts to fight anti-Semitism in the United States and abroad.
- Proven ability to manage internal and external stakeholders in order to advance the collective vision and aspirations of the Stephen Wise Free Synagogue congregation.
- Exceptional organizational skills.
- Excellent time management skills with proven ability to meet deadlines and achieve outcomes for multiple, simultaneous campaigns.
- Self-starter. Ability to work effectively, both independently and as a member of a team.
Bachelor’s degree required
Salary will be commensurate with the skills and experience of the selected candidate.
Full health benefits, paid vacation, and other employee benefits.
Stephen Wise Free Synagogue is a modern Reform congregation that is dedicated to worship, the study of Torah, the welfare and perpetuation of the Jewish People and the state of Israel, and repairing the world. We are inspired by the teachings of our ancient heritage as interpreted through the unique context of our own times. The principles of freedom of the pulpit, social justice and democracy that have guided the synagogue since its founding in 1907 by Rabbi Stephen Wise and continue to be a guide and inspiration.
For more information, please visit www.swfs.org