Baruch HaBa – Welcome!

We are so glad you are exploring a career at Jewish LearningWorks, the only organization in Northern California exclusively devoted to elevating the field of Jewish education by serving educators and teachers in a multitude of settings.

We are a hub of professional learning and community, composed of a dynamic team of senior educators who design professional learning programs, and strengthen our collegial community. Together, we empower teachers and educational leaders to engage timeless Jewish wisdom that helps children and teens become critical thinkers, develop a growth mindset, and find purpose in their lives.

As you consider working with us, take a few minutes to meet the team!

We look forward to getting to know you!

Our Culture

As an organization with deep roots in the community, we are committed to building and maintaining thoughtful relationships with our organizational partners and with each other. Our culture values excellence, quality over quantity, collaboration, transparency and communal accountability. We always aim high, but we go slow to go far. At the same time we are a small team, which means we join forces to accomplish our goals, and often work in a fast-paced environment.

As a learning organization we celebrate every win, big and small, and we are committed to investing in the career development of our own professionals. As part of our team, you will gain great colleagues, a chance to continue your own learning and growth, and an opportunity to make a difference in the field of Jewish education.

You can learn more about our values, and view our anti racism commitment here.

Job postings icon

Job Postings

No job postings at this time? Subscribe to our email list to be notified about future positions, and to stay connected to our work.

Stay in touch icon

Stay in Touch

Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or read our blog.

Passion for Our Work

Jewish LearningWorks is perhaps best known for its people. Their best thinking, creativity, and hearts are stitched into our shared mission. You can get to know us better by reading some of the latest blog posts written by our staff.

What Sports Share with Jewish Life and Living

By Jenni Mangel, Jewish LearningWorks’ Director of Educational Leadership With all the excitement of this year’s summer Olympics in Paris, I’ve been reflecting on the busy and full lives of athletes and their families. To be clear: I am not an athlete. However, I always identify with the emotional human interest stories of the parents who go out of their way to make it possible for their children to compete at such high levels. It is a full family and community activity to support an athlete to reach the Olympics! My own journey as the parent of a student athlete began when my kids were three and five years old and we took them ice skating as a nice family activity. Both kids took to the ice naturally and we had fun as they learned to stay up on their feet and move away from the wall. My older child immediately wanted to go back to the rink and was soon asking questions about ice hockey. By the end of the next year he had a full hockey kit and was on his path to be a goalie. Soon, he was completely obsessed with ice hockey and has been dedicated to it ever since. At Hebrew school, one afternoon, he walked up to the program director and said, “Can we play floor hockey here?” Without missing a beat the director replied, “Sure! If you can think of a Jewish idea that we can learn by playing hockey! Let me know when you think of it.” She walked away and left him pondering. Since then our family has had many conversations about the ways in which Judaism and sports reflect one another. Although the particulars hereon are about ice hockey (definitely not a summer Olympic sport!) I know these themes and values show up in other team sports as well. So, for all you parents and educators who are looking for ways to help your athletes connect their sport of choice with rich Jewish traditions and culture, I hope my thoughts below help you as you watch volleyball, softball, soccer, basketball, and more, this summer! Setup Matters To begin a hockey game, players must be in position and respecting boundaries before the puck drops and play begins. Each person has a role and function and together, they work as a single unit to capture and control the puck. We see this type of careful placement of people and roles at the synagogue during the Torah service, for example. The Torah reader sets up at the bima, the person called for an aliya stands on one side, the person leading the service stands on the other. Each person must be in their place and has a role to fill in order for the community to engage in the core activity of reading and learning Torah. By knowing and asking people to draw on their skills and strengths we set up individuals and the community for success. Rules Matter Athletic referees move along with the play of the game to ensure play is fair and, in youth sports, fun. The rules are an [...]

Wherever You Go, We Go Together

By Jenni Mangel, Jewish LearningWorks’ Director of Educational Leadership Two important things happened in 1898. Those of you who have been following our materials closely this year might know that was the year Jewish LearningWorks was established as the Jewish Education Society (JES). JES later became the Bureau of Jewish Education and is now Jewish LearningWorks. We have enjoyed celebrating our 125 year timeline of Jewish educational leadership with all of you this year.  The other significant event of 1898 was the presence and leadership of a woman named Ray Frank on a pulpit in San Francisco, then a rough and tumble post-gold rush town of 30,000 souls. In those days public leadership roles were uncommon for women, who mostly wore long skirts, shirts with poofy sleeves and corsets. Ray Frank broke the mold by pursuing work as a journalist, education at the Hebrew Union College, and serving the community as a preacher.  Lest we forget our feminist history and the slow pace of change, it would be nearly 75 years before Sally Priesand was ordained as a reform rabbi in 1972, followed by Sandy Sasso in 1974 by the reconstructionist movement. Another decade passed before Amy Eilberg was ordained by the conservative movement in 1985 and another quarter century before Sara Hurvitz received the first authorization for formal communal leadership in the modern orthodox community in 2009, roughly 110 years after Ray Frank led the community of San Francisco. As a girl growing up in a small northern California town in the 1980s I still mostly saw men in communal leadership positions - on the pulpit and as the board chair. Adults told me all the time that women could be anything, but it still required my imagination to see myself in a significant leadership role in the community. But I was not the only little girl being taught to dream big and create action plans with which to pursue those dreams. By the time I entered the workforce in the early 2000s my peers were rabbis and we all benefited from the guidance and support of women professionals who preceded us. Over the last quarter century we have seen more women serving as board presidents, executive directors, and rabbis of our community.  Despite this rise of female voices, as of 2021, “most people working at Jewish nonprofits are women. But most CEOs of Jewish nonprofits… are men” (Leading Edge, The Gender Gap in Jewish Nonprofit Leadership). The research that Leading Edge did was limited to the experience of cis-gender women, however, they partnered with Keshet to conduct peer-led listening sessions that centered gender identity, race, disability and other identity markers in the conversation (highlights of those conversations are captured here). As we continue to work towards gender equity in communal leadership it is important that we concurrently seek equity in leadership with people of multiple marginalized identities. There is no doubt in my mind that we are moving towards diversity and inclusivity in the Jewish community, yet it is also clear to me that we still need to cultivate diverse voices in positions of Jewish leadership. Part of [...]

Ellen Lefkowitz: Becoming ECE-RJ Board President

By Ellen Lefkowitz, Jewish LearningWorks’ Senior Educator On July 1st, I will step into the role as Board President of the Early Childhood Educators of Reform Judaism (ECE-RJ). This is the professional organization for early childhood professionals for the Reform Movement, which serves almost 200 directors and associate directors in Jewish early childhood settings across North America. I am deeply proud to be a part of this organization whose mission is to ensure the continuity of our Jewish early childhood schools by elevating the professional self of our members. Not only do we provide regular professional development, we also offer our members access to the Reform Movement’s retirement plan, an online network of colleagues, an annual conference, assistance for congregations who are hiring a new early childhood professional, and a catalog of resources. This network of colleagues from across North America was my lifeline for the last decade. Being an early childhood director can be an isolating experience with the incredibly demanding responsibility of holding each and every aspect of a school community. As a new director, I had instant access to more veteran directors who could guide me through any issue that arose. During the pandemic, ECE-RJ provided countless opportunities to come together to share resources and ideas for how to keep our doors open safely. As the field of early childhood education continues to evolve and rebuild, ECE-RJ is on the forefront of advocating for our professionals. While the work is deeply rewarding and our schools are a critical entry point for families in the Jewish community, the ongoing challenges of teachers being woefully underpaid and undervalued, the high cost of tuition, providing adequate training for educators, and support for all families is a struggle. If we are able to bring more visibility to both the challenges and rewards of our field, we believe it will not only lift up our schools, it will strengthen the community as a whole and fortify us for the future. ECE-RJ is dedicated to this pursuit and I am deeply honored to be a part of an amazing group of professionals. If you would like to learn more about ECE-RJ’s work, please visit their website.

The future we don’t want to imagine

Photo by Andrii Yalanskyi | Licensed through Shutterstock By Dana Sheanin, Jewish LearningWorks’ CEO. Published originally through eJP. I once believed that I was fortunate to live in one of the most well-organized, vibrant and innovative ecosystems in the nonprofit world. When the Bay Area’s 350,000 Jews and their families seek opportunities for learning, support or belonging, they are met with a sophisticated web of synagogues, community centers, social service agencies, camps and day schools. Should they desire an alternative to these traditional ways of engagement, they can access an array of newer organizations: urban farms, startup accelerators, art and maker spaces, and meditation centers. Sadly, in conversations over the past six months with colleagues who lead these organizations one resounding theme has surfaced: We are on the verge of collapse — and during a time when adults, teens and children need us to find a way forward more than ever. Before Oct. 7, Jewish organizations had just about weathered the COVID pandemic, emerging with smaller staffs, fewer participants able to afford membership or participation fees, and depleted professionals across every setting. Before Oct. 7, we faced a clergy hiring crisis, a teacher hiring crisis and C-suite burnout, with once-committed professionals acknowledging that the high cost of urban living relative to stagnant nonprofit salaries too often makes Jewish leadership roles unsustainable. Those of us who stayed the course through the pandemic spent much of 2022–2023 doggedly working to re-engage our constituents while raising the funds needed to keep our organizations afloat. Then, of course, everything changed on Oct. 7, and we now face three new, interrelated challenges: The communities we serve are as polarized as they have ever been and connected, respectful conversation has become immensely difficult. The adults, children and teens who engage in Jewish communal life are increasingly motivated by anger and fear. The local and national philanthropies we rely on have redirected their considerable financial resources to support Israel, leaving community-based organizations scrambling to avoid staff reductions, program alterations and the exodus of both new and veteran leaders. I regularly hear influential community stakeholders, worried about the adolescent mental health crisis, express gratitude for the Jewish social service and educational programs that prioritize building teen resilience. For more than a year I have participated in an ongoing national funder conversation about how to better support early childhood education as a critical on-ramp for Jewish toddlers and their parents. Since Oct. 7, I have heard philanthropists calling attention to organizations that burn out professionals with insufficient salaries and fail to recognize how thin our talent pipeline is. And yet, as the leader of a 125-year-old Jewish educational organization addressing all of these areas, there seems to be nowhere to turn for financial support or critical partnership. There are startlingly few philanthropies supporting local organizations to enable us to weather the greatest crisis in a generation. Perhaps almost as painfully, I have not participated in any funder-led conversation about how to keep the doors of local organizations open nor how to keep the dedicated professionals still there from leaving. The situation in Israel is devastating. At the same time, when I try to imagine our community after the [...]

Embracing Our Teens’ Quest for Shleimut

By Alisha Pedowitz, Jewish LearningWorks Senior Educator Last week, I attended a fantastic session led by Rabbi Dr. Tali Zelkowicz called “Transmission and Translation: Embracing a World of Both/And,” part of Jewish LearningWorks’ ongoing training offerings for Jewish educators. In that session, I rediscovered a word I hadn’t used in a long time, and I realized it was exactly the term I needed to describe something I have been thinking a lot about in the last few weeks. It also helped me deepen my understanding of how to support mental health and wellness for Jewish adolescents. That word is “polarity.” While Tali was talking about the concept of both/and, and the goal of Jewish education to both transmit and translate wisdom, I realized this deeply Jewish concept of holding and existing within the tension between opposing values or ideas is what I have been seeking since Hamas’ October 7 terror attack on Southern Israel, and Israel’s ensuing military response in Gaza. I know from my own teenage children that many Jewish teens are grappling with this. And, from my many colleagues who serve as educators to these teens, it is what we are seeking to help them do even as we seek to do it for ourselves. Like many progressive Jews, I’ve watched communities that represent different aspects of my identity pull in opposing directions to the extremes of things that I value and believe. And in the process, I’ve felt my ability to integrate those values fracture, and have wondered which direction to lean to feel all of my grief, sorrow, and fear. I’ve wanted to rely on my values as a guide even as I hear frequent calls to abandon one value for the other, and to reject nuance, complexity, and humanity in the process. Judaism uses the word shleimut, wholeness, to name the need to feel whole, authentic, and at peace. It is from that place of shleimut that we are able to navigate a chaotic and challenging world. We must constantly do the both/and of holding, navigating, and existing within the tensions of seemingly polar opposite extremes, values, and realities. Those of us who work with adolescents know that this sense of authenticity and integration is a key component of this developmental stage. It’s why we talk about “teens having a B.S. meter.” They are striving to integrate their values, beliefs, and actions, to see themselves and be seen as authentic and true to themselves. How can we help our youth hold ALL that they value, instead  of forcing them to reject some values to uphold others? How can we help them ground themselves in a sense of shleimut while navigating the hard and scary realities of the moment? I believe that the most important thing educators can do  right now is to double down on our commitment to supporting youth well being and mental health. We need to help them turn to their inner guide to feel able to act from as many of these values—and the interactions amongst them–as possible. We need to leverage the relationships we have with them, and the framework of [...]

Is that a sukkah? And who is speaking Spanish inside?

By Liliana Peliks, Jewish LearningWorks’ Director of Marketing "Fitting in is the opposite of belonging," researcher and storyteller Brené Brown often says. It took me a minute to understand what she meant, but once it clicked, I couldn’t stop myself from finding examples in my own life, and around me.  Every year in the United States we celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month, from September 15 to October 15, and Jewish American Heritage Month in May. Both celebrations were created to recognize the contributions and influence of these communities to the history, culture, and achievements of the United States. Many families in our Bay Area community find significance on and across these calendar dates, as their Latin and Jewish identities overlap, intersect, swirl, or fuse; however we describe the experience of who we are, we affirm and celebrate being created equal, and one - not half or a quarter or anything in particular, but one worthy of joyful belonging.  As a Jewish organization nurturing and training  educators, and through them, the children of our diverse local community, we find the holiday of Sukkot and its intersection with National Hispanic Heritage Month, an ideal opportunity to learn about the values of sakranut (curiosity), hachnasat orchim (hospitality) and ahavat Yisrael (love of fellow Jews). This year, we invite you to welcome these families as your ushpizin (symbolic sukkah guests): Dr. Maya Guendelman, her husband and their three children “My family of origin and my husband's family of origin are quite alike: both are Latino, both are Jewish, and both my husband and I grew up in the East Bay as bilingual children of Spanish-speaking immigrants, fleeing from countries where civil rights were being threatened. We have similar values; we care deeply about Judaism, education, social justice, diversity, Israel, and family. We sing similar songs for Shabbat, both grew up attending the High Holidays at synagogue. We also value maintaining our Latino culture, and passing it along to our kids, through travel, teaching them Spanish, and placing importance on the needs and rights of immigrants in the US and beyond. It is unique for our 3 US-born Jewish kids to be able to celebrate Hannukah, Pesach, etc. with all four grandparents together, all speaking to them in Spanish. We also find joyful belonging through our kids’ budding friendships through programs like Bet Sefer at Temple Beth Abraham, Camp Gan Izzy, and Olamim.” Shannah Metz, her husband and their two children “I grew up in Santa Rosa as the youngest of 5 children. My father was born in Brooklyn, NY to a culturally Jewish family in a culturally Ashkenazi Jewish neighborhood and community. My mother was born in Long Island, NY to a family she proudly identified as WASP (White Anglo Saxon Protestant). They met each other a block off of Haight Street during the Summer of Love (1968), and my mother converted to Judaism because she loved the community and values. They raised us in Sonoma County, and my mom eventually became the Director of the JCF in Sonoma County for nearly 20 years, and we were active members of the Conservative congregation in [...]

A Fundamental Question in Society

And the Old Shall Be Made New

125 Years Supporting Jewish Education

Since it was established in 1898, Jewish LearningWorks has invested in teachers with the goal of advancing the kind of Jewish learning that changes lives. Today, our commitment remains to inspire the best of what the field of Jewish education has to offer, while making space for educators to develop their own creative insights and practice.

Programs such as the tikea, Shofar, and Family Education fellows, the BASIS day school Israel initiative, the Include initiative for children with special needs, and Voices for Good, are flagship leadership initiatives for which Jewish LearningWorks (known as the the Bureau of Jewish Education before 2012) has been celebrated.

As we imagine our next 125 years, we continue to invest deeply in coaching and mentoring relationships, fellowships and training. By doing so, Jewish LearningWorks is ensuring that lifelong Jewish learning is accessible to teachers in all settings, and relevant to learners of all ages.

JLW Anniversary Cake

View a timeline of organizational and community milestones co-created with Bay Area Jewish professionals.

You can also learn more about our history, top programmatic initiatives, and leadership throughout the years.