You – yes, you – can advise Jewish education efforts | Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle

You – yes, you – can advise Jewish education efforts

MILWAUKEE – The new Education Task Force of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation is seeking to interview absolutely anyone with an interest in Jewish education, in preparation for the Task Force’s future advisory role for some Federation allocations.

Teachers, parents and others in the community are welcome to call or email Tziporah Altman-Shafer, Jewish education community planner and director for the Federation’s Coalition for Jewish Learning. Altman-Shafer will set up a face-to-face meeting that should take about an hour. Each interview includes the same set of questions about education, focusing on personal experiences and vision.

One question: Imagine you could spend $200,000 to help cultivate the next generation of people committed to the Jewish community; how would you spend the money?

Information from the interviews will eventually be used in making decisions on how annual Federation campaign dollars are allocated, after the Task Force goes through its own education boot camp. The group, made up of 12 lay leaders, is to learn about the process, like how Federation makes its outlays and what the latest best practices are in Jewish education. Later, the Task Force will make recommendations to Federation on future education allocations.

The overall goal is to find out how we can engage more Jews with the Jewish community, said Linda Bader of Shorewood, who is co-chair of the Task Force with Dan Sinykin. Even people who are not terribly engaged with Jewish education are invited to participate, so that the Task Force can find out why, Bader said.

“This is really about Jewish continuity and how we can make sure there’s a strong Jewish community in the future,” said Stephanie Wagner, the Federation vice president of communications and strategy who is partnering with Altman-Shafer on the project.

Altman-Shafer seeks to hear from anyone who may be interested, to make sure to include the community in the process. “Get in touch with me,” she urged. “As a part of this process we want to hear from as many people as possible their vision of Jewish education.”

The $200,000 to spend on any program is a potential dream, but Wagner and Altman-Shafer are quick to point out that any changes in allocations will be incremental and gradual.

“We are funding exceptional institutions right now,” Wagner said. “We will be continuing to fund great education.”

Rather than relying on past practice, the Task Force is to provide a more evaluative process for making choices, which is more similar to how funding decisions have been made outside the educational area, Wagner said.

Asked why she’s drawn to the Task Force, Bader noted her three children, ranging in age from 13 to 18.

“They have been touched in many ways by both the informal and formal Jewish education in Milwaukee,” she said. “Everything from Jewish pre-schools to camps to tzedakah projects that have gone on at Milwaukee synagogues to Shabbat dinners. It’s changed their lives. It’s had a boomerang effect on the whole Bader family.”

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How to participate

The Education Task Force of Milwaukee Jewish Federation, which held its first meeting in June, is seeking to interview people in the community about Jewish education. Contact Jewish Education Community Planner Tziporah Altman-Shafer at 414-963-2718 or  Or fill an electronic survey out at