The Mintz Family Foundation for Creative Jewish Education Award for 2008 has been presented by the energetic and innovative team of Rabbi Marcia Prager and Rabbi Shawn Zevit, co-Directors of the unique “Davennen Leadership Training Institute”  (DLTI). The pan-denominational two-year retreat-based program trains individuals in the art of leadership in Jewish communal prayer. 

Now in its fifth two-year, over 200 rabbis, educators, cantors, and lay leaders, from across the world and touching all Jewish denominations, have graduated from the course, and the ripple effect of their emerging leadership has been remarkable.   Participants have expressed their joy in gaining deep understanding of the inner structure of Jewish prayer; they feel that they have found grounding in the liturgy and have become skilled in leadership through personal presence.  The creative services inspired by DLTI have spilled over into newly emerging chavurot and congregations where spiritual growth is a focus; and the traditional skills in nusach ha-t’fillah and Torah-leynen are fully integrated with creative, intimate, and inspirational services.  

In addition to being co-Directors of DLTI, our award co-recipients are well-known throughout the Reconstructionist and Renewal movements.  Rabbi Marcia Prager, of Philadelphia, PA, has been the Director and Dean of the ALEPH (Jewish Renewal) Ordination Program, since 1997, and has performed educational, liturgical, and pastoral functions as a congregational rabbi for the P’Nai Or Religious Fellowship since 1995. A graduate of SUNY Stony Brook, with a Master of Fine Arts from the Pratt Institute, Rabbi Prager was ordained as a rabbi from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, with a Master or Hebrew Letters as well.  She is also certified in Marriage and Family Therapy, from the Penn Council for Relationships, University of Pennsylvania. (See )  Rabbi Shawn Zevit, of Shaker Heights, OH, is on the faculty of the ALEPH Hashpaah (Spiritual Direction) Training Program and serves throughout the United States as a guest lecturer, Congregational Consultant, and Leadership Training Educator for the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation, with the title of Director of Outreach and Tikkun Olam.  A graduate of York University, in Toronto, he also received rabbinical ordination from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College.  Rabbi Zevit is also a prolific Jewish musician and author.  (See )
We wish Rabbis Prager and Zevit a hearty mazal tov and commend them on the outstanding success of the Davvenen Leadership Training Institute graduates.  We thank all who applied for the 2008 award and invite them and all involved in Jewish education to apply for the 2009 award.   

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