Jewish Educator Awards for Early Childhood, Day School and Religious School educators

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.

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.

Lainer Awards

In 1997, the late Simha and Sara Lainer, long-time supporters of Jewish education, established annual awards recognizing exemplary Jewish educators in early childhood and Part-Time Jewish education (Religious Schools). Up to three awards, including prizes of $2,500, are presented to distinguished educators in both educational settings.  Early Childhood Lainer award winners receive their recognition at annual professional development conferences, before hundreds of colleagues.  Religious School Lainer award winners receive their recognition during an assembly at their school, and in front of the school’s/synagogues board.

Smotrich Awards

The Smotrich Family Foundation Grant was established by brothers Marvin and Thomas Smotrich, in memory of their parents, the late Bee and Sam Smotrich, who embodied exceptional commitment to Jewish life, love of Jewish learning and devotion to the education of children.   “What If” grant recipients are awarded $1500 to implement a special project within their school where they imagined “What if…they had $1500 to imagine the project of their dreams?”. In 2024 there were two "What If" grant recipients. Click here to read more.