Strategic Direction | Details, Background and Frequently Asked Questions

Jewish LearningWorks | Strategic Direction
Details, Background and Frequently Asked Questions

Recognizing that Jewish life and community are profoundly changing, Jewish LearningWorks underwent an inclusive strategic planning process in 2017– to reassess our purpose, strategies, as well as our operating and revenue model in light of those changes. We met with a cross section of stakeholders across our community, engaged in deep discussions with our staff and convened a task force to speak on behalf of groups they represent.

Strategic Direction

What communal educational needs did this process identify?

Educational leaders seek enhanced support for teachers and help in teaching Jewish values during confusing and challenging times. Parents are asking for continued and expanded parent/family learning opportunities. Book-lovers want continuing library programs and services.

What were articulated as Jewish LearningWorks’ strengths?

Educators from community schools and synagogues told us they highly value the professional development that Jewish LearningWorks has provided. They  also appreciate our ability to respond rapidly and effectively to help educators deal with crises.

Parents and family educators value our Holiday@Home handbooks and the Kesher concierge program. Library patrons appreciate literature-based educational and family outreach programs along with the library’s circulation and reference services.

Overall, our stakeholders urged us to continue investing in the next generation by empowering educators and parents and supporting Northern California’s only Jewish Community Library.  

How will the work change?

While we will continue to support educators and families, the way we support them has changed  in a few important ways.

Our Professional Learning Team offers a robust menu of fellowships, seminars, workshops, mentorships, curricula, and educational resources to empower teachers and educational leaders to more effectively serve their students.  In response to our learnings from the first annual Bay Area Teacher/Educator Survey, we are reaching educators through high-touch concierge style outreach methods, creating specialized tracks and learning plans to fit needs and availability. In everything we do, our aim is to empower educators with knowledge, skills, and tools to help their students flourish as human beings and as Jews.

Our Family Learning Team continues to build out our suite of printable @Home Guides for parents and operates our Kesher Concierge programs in the South Peninsula and in Marin County. In addition to making connections among families and offering a monthly e-roundup of everything Jewish for families, Kesher will be convening holiday and Shabbat programs to empower parents to learn by doing. Our Family Education work will focus on empowering parents to create and sustain Jewish life and learning that enriches their families.

Our Jewish Community Library continues to serve Jewish book-lovers and Jewish-Book lovers through the largest Jewish lending library in Northern California and our two curated satellite pushcarts.  Thousands of books, CD’s, movies and periodicals are plucked from the shelves by learners of all ages and we produce hundreds of well-attended public programs each year.  We continue to receive rave reviews for our events which include lectures, book groups, film classes, family story time and much more.

We advance Jewish learning that enables students to deepen their impact on their families, their communities, and the world. We measure our work by the degree to which we succeed in helping teachers and parents create learning experiences that enrich the lives of students and their families.  


Other Big Changes

How will you keep this work accessible?
With gratitude to our community of foundations, philanthropies and donors, we are able to keep our programs affordable for educators working in an increasingly expensive community. Most of our programs are highly subsidised and some of our programs are offered completely free of charge.

We have also moved our main headquarters from the Richmond District, to 44 Page Street - a smaller location more accessible to public transportation.

We have leased the buildings we own to Stratford School – a highly regarded private Preschool-12 institute.Stratford has committed to investing several million dollars into our property which will increase its value well into the future, enabling Jewish LearningWorks to further sustain and grow valuable educational services for our community.

Is Jewish LearningWorks financially independent and no longer in need of  donor support?

We continue to rely on donor support, for which we remain extremely grateful.  The revenue from the lease will replace the operating support we had received from the San Francisco Jewish Community Federation, but the majority of our funding continues to come from individual donors who care about Jewish education, from foundations who support specific educational programs, and from earned income – fees that schools and educators pay for our services. And, we continue to receive grants from the Jewish Community Federation for specific programs. The lease will help us cover basic administrative costs, enabling philanthropic donations to more directly support educational initiatives.

How can I learn more?

Contact us at with questions about our strategic plan, our new programs to serve the community, our real estate deal or our anticipated move.