CASJE Receives Ilia Salita Excellence in Research Award for the Career Trajectories of Jewish Educators Study

May 20, 2023

Dr. Arielle Levites stands on a podium. The Salita family stands behind her. A projector screen behind Dr. Levites reads, Career Trajectories of Jewish Education in the United States"

On behalf of CASJE at George Washington University and its many partners, Dr. Arielle Levites accepted The Ilia Salita Excellence in Research Award, presented at the 2023 Jewish Funders Network (JFN) Conference, for the Career Trajectories of Jewish Educators Study. The Award celebrates the life and legacy of Ilia Salita z"l, an inspirational and beloved figure in the Jewish philanthropic world whose untimely death deprived the community of a voice of wisdom, vision, and skill. The award is inspired by Ilia's passion for informed, data-driven philanthropy and his promotion of innovative applied research in many fields. The $15,000 award, funded by Genesis Philanthropy Group and facilitated by JFN, recognizes and highlights research projects that can impact Jewish life in a direct and positive way.

CASJE expresses deep gratitude to the Genesis Philanthropy Group and the Salita family for this honor and for the vision that animates this award.

“CASJE does not produce knowledge to sit on a shelf,” Levites said in her acceptance remarks. “We work constantly to make research more accessible and useful.”

The CASJE Career Trajectories of Jewish Educators Study addressed a set of research questions central to the recruitment, retention, and development of Jewish educators in the United States. These are questions particularly well positioned to respond to what is widely perceived to be a pipeline crisis in the field today.

“It’s very moving to see applied research employed as a tribute to a life dedicated to the Jewish community,” added Levites. “Research as an enterprise is necessarily about legacy, as it seeks to foster a shared knowledge base, taking the foundations laid by past generations, adding our own contributions, and ensuring that this knowledge is positioned to benefit the future.”

Applied research relies on a multitude of partnerships and perspectives. The CASJE Career Trajectories study represents the efforts of a number of critical partners from the communities of philanthropy, research, and practice.

“We are deeply grateful to the sponsors of the study, the Jim Joseph Foundation and the William Davidson Foundation for their dedication to the proposition that research-based evidence can be a vital input in improving Jewish education,” Levites continued. “Additionally our project benefited from the expertise of a Technical Advisory Committee, made up of scholars in general education and Jewish education. Thank you to our research teams, including our friends at Rosov Consulting. And thank you to all of our practice partners: the eight communities and dozens of Jewish educational organizations who helped with data collection efforts.”

CASJE invites people to a virtual program in collaboration with JFN on Monday, April 17th to learn more about the study and its findings. Email [email protected] to receive a link to the event in the coming weeks.

Watch the recording of the award presentation: