Ellen Lefkowitz is the Director of the Temple Sinai Preschool in Oakland.
I grew up as a typical Reform Jew in a one-synagogue town. In high school I went on a NFTY trip that blew my mind. There were SO MANY JEWS!!! In college I was involved in Hillel at UC Santa Barbara and studied at Hebrew University. After college I chanced into an job opportunity at the Peninsula JCC, went to Hebrew Union College for a Master's degree and have been building my career in Jewish education ever since.
I’ve known Jewish LearningWorks for years and did a number of trainings back when it was the BJE. I’ve always believed in the agency. They’ve offered many programs that met my evolving needs over my 20+ year career.
Our staff has benefited greatly from David Neufeld’s work with special needs inclusion. He’s helped to guide us in supporting many different kinds of learners and their families in our community. We strive to be inclusive and we also want to be sure we are doing right by a child and a family. His support has been phenomenal. We would use as many hours and minutes of his time as we could get.
Most recently I participated in the launch of Voices for Good, a salon series for established female leaders. I felt honored to be included with such solid, smart women. I’m at a point in my career where I’m trying to be reflective. It’s all going by so quickly.
In the years to come I am hopeful that Early Childhood Education will regain traction as a funding priority in the community. JLW’s past ECE support made a huge impact on the field but there is still much work to be done. The Inclusion day of learning is a great start, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg. I believe in the Jewish LearningWorks staff. The quality is there! It’s exciting to see JLW thrive.