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Building Jewish Education

Jewish Educator Awards

All too often, educators – who are so vital to the learning experiences of students – are not recognized for the significant work that they do. Through the generosity of several community philanthropists, BJE is able to recognize excellence in Jewish education by honoring exemplary educators.

Awards in Part-time Jewish Education

Smotrich Awards

In 2002, Dr. Marvin & Mehry and Thom & Iris Smotrich established the Smotrich Family Foundation Award of Merit for excellence in teaching in Religious schools (part-time, complementary schools).  The Smotrich Award recognizes one "up and coming" teachers in the field.  Teachers who teach a minimum of 3 hours a week (K-12), who have taught a minimum of two years in a BJE affiliated school, but no more than four years, are eligible.  This program offers annual awards of $1,000 each to two educators based on their demonstrated excellence as teachers.  The school employing the award winning educator will receive $500 in honor of their teacher.

Download Smotrich Religious School Nomination form

Lainer Awards

In 1997, the late Simha and Sara Lainer, long-time supporters of Jewish education, established annual awards recognizing exemplary and experienced Jewish teachers in part-time Jewish education. 

To qualify for consideration, a teacher must have taught a minimum of five years at a BJE affiliated school, teaching a minimum of three hours per week (K-12).  Recipients receive an award of $2,500 each. 

Lainer Religious School Nomination form

Awards in Day School Jewish Education

Milken Jewish Educator Awards

Since 1990, the Milken Family Foundation has annually sponsored Jewish Educator Awards, spotlighting outstanding day school educators at BJE-accredited schools. Each year, four educators receive the prestigious awards, including prizes of $15,000 each, at a luncheon hosted by the Milken Family Foundation.

Grinspoon Awards

Early childhood educators who receive the Lainer Award are also nominated for the prestigious national Grinspoon Award for Excellence in Jewish Education. Local award recipients receive a $500 stipend and participate in a national community of practice of Grinspoon-Steinhardt award-winning educators.



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