What Is a Partner?

What Is a Partner?

ShalomLearning has used the word partner in our organizational culture from the beginning. It has come to mean a great deal to us and those associated with our growth. When you are a part of the ShalomLearning community, you are a ShalomLearning partner.

Our partners include:

  • Creators and thinkers sharing ideas for new programs;
  • Collaborating organizations;
  • Schools and institutions using ShalomLearning programs;
  • Federations, foundations, and donors who support our work;
  • Editors, contributors, teachers, and other supporters of our approach to Jewish education

I came to ShalomLearning over five years ago after more than 20 years of working as a teacher, family educator, and education director in synagogue schools. When I joined the ShalomLearning team, I immediately knew the organization was committed to sharing ideas and building relationships. As a ShalomLearning teacher, curriculum contributor, team member, and director, I had a voice as part of a team. That voice and collaboration have led to numerous other ShalomLearning partnerships, including NewCAJE, The Lookstein Center at Bar Ilan University, The Association for Reform Jewish Educators (ARJE), and our newest conversations and collaborations with the National Museum of American Jewish History and the Union for Reform Judaism. Creating relationships and partnerships with these organizations have opened up new opportunities for ShalomLearning schools to bring more to their communities, families, and students: more content, more access, more training, professional development, and more affordability.

From an educational perspective, the most valuable partners in the ShalomLearning community are the congregational schools and organizations using our curriculum. When a school leader chooses to work with ShalomLearning, the institution receives so much more than a product.  ShalomLearning builds relationships that extend beyond a simple transaction. We share resources, provide training, connect as peers and professionals through our community of practice, and support each other’s success. We have a shared goal of providing a meaningful and relevant Jewish education that enables students to connect Jewish values to their everyday lives, supports their community participation, and inspires them to continued Jewish learning.

As noted earlier, my experience becoming a member of the ShalomLearning team was highlighted by being given a voice and having a genuine sense of being heard, from my initial role as an online teacher to my new role as Chief Learning Officer. Not every idea or interest was acted upon, but it was heard. We do the same for our ShalomLearning partner schools. We not only let teachers and administrators know that we welcome feedback and input, but we actively (kind of voraciously) pursue it. Our teachers and directors have a direct line to provide feedback which is always acknowledged. The addition of a Relationship Manager to our team has helped with follow-up on feedback and managing items that require immediate action.  But listening to and responding to feedback is the responsibility of the entire ShalomLearning team. One voice or many on a topic doesn’t make a difference. Each one is acknowledged. It is in our culture. Serving and meeting the needs of our partners is embedded in our DNA.

The ShalomLearning curriculum is digital.  A team of editors reviews and enhances it annually.  ShalomLearning selects these writers, teachers, game creators, content specialists from our teachers who have used and loved our curriculum.  They expressed feedback at one point, established relationships, shared their talent, and became part of the team, likewise with our training staff. These dedicated and enthusiastic teachers give of their time and experience to mentor new ShalomLearning educators, not only sharing the how-to of teaching using our curricula but welcoming them into the ShalomLearning community as a partner.

You can apply this stakeholder-centric model to your school or organization and benefit from the relationships built when internal and external customers become partners.

  • Seek feedback, positive and negative
  • Listen and respond
  • Value input and provide opportunities for people to contribute to the organization
  • Run your business with the success of your partners and the goals of their students at the top of your to-do list

This is the foundation of a ShalomLearning partnership, the ability to have a voice, to know it is considered, and see the results leading to the success of ShalomLearning schools and our organization.   We appreciate the opportunity to partner with synagogues, schools, and educators in contributing to the future of the Jewish people, Klal Yisrael.

About Heidi Lovitz

Heidi Lovitz is an educator, education administrator, and curriculum developer dedicated to innovating Jewish education. Her experience includes Family Educator at Congregation Beth Elohim in Acton, MA for over 15 years, the Director of Jewish Life and Learning at Camp Tevya in Brookline, NH for 15 years, and Director of Education and Programming at Temple Beth Abraham in Nashua, NH. Heidi was one of the founding leaders of the Havayah program connecting teens from Boston, Haifa and Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine. Heidi holds a BA in communication studies from the University of Massachusetts and is pursing a Master of Jewish Education at Hebrew College. Heidi enjoys theatre, music, reading, gardening, biking and hiking. Heidi lives in Westford, Massachusetts with her husband Peter and has two adult children.