Rabbi Benay Lappe - 2016 Award Recipient
Rabbi Benay Lappe, founder of Chicago’s SVARA: A Traditionally Radical Yeshiva, accepted the award from James Crown. At SVARA, Rabbi Lappe has established a learning environment where students represent the full spectrum of Jewish life and diversity. Under her leadership, enrollment at SVARA has risen from eight students in its first year, to 600 students studying in SVARA’s Beit Midrash today. Rabbi Lappe is also Senior Fellow and Director of Education at the Institute for the Next Jewish Future in Chicago, where she oversees the faculty and staff Beit Midrash and participates in its Judaism Unbound podcasts.
Ilana Ruskay-Kidd - 2016 Award Recipient
Ilana Ruskay-Kidd is the Founder and Head of School at The Shefa School in New York, a pluralistic Jewish day school that provides a Jewish environment for children with language-based learning challenges. Under her leadership, Shefa has grown exponentially in its short life, enrolling 24 students in grades 2 to 5 in its first academic year and surging to 80 students in grades 1 to 7 in the fall of 2016. With the founding of Shefa, Ruskay-Kidd has emerged as an advocate for Jewish day schools to more effectively recognize and support children with learning challenges. In the last year, she has convened over 150 professionals from more than 40 Jewish day schools in an effort to change the communal conversation on serving this population of students and their families.
Stuart Seltzer - 2009 Award Recipient
Rabbi Stuart Seltzer has served as Dean of Judaic Studies at the Shoshana S. Cardin School in Baltimore since 2007, after serving as Director of the Rosenbloom Religious School and Director of the Congregational Education Center at the Chizuk Amuno Congregation in Baltimore.