The Social Justice Vision at Stephen S. Wise Temple

Our congregation will see Social Justice as a calling that derives from our sense of God and the imperative of Jewish Tradition. The Stephen S. Wise Temple community will use our influence, power and compassion to be a force for positive, meaningful and effective change in the quality of life on behalf of all the citizens of Los Angeles and the world.


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Thanksgiving Message: Giving thanks through Open Doors

What does Thanksgiving mean to those whose lives are full of opportunity and what does it mean in a society where the doors are closed for so many?  Listen to Rabbi Stern's perspective here:
Thanksgiving 2011 Shabbat Message

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Seromon, Friday, Nov. 11th: Jewish Business Ethics and the American Financial System -- A brief reflection on conflicting values.

Rabbi Stern spoke about the challenge that Jewish Business Ethics present to the operative values that drive the American Financial System.  He referred to an article written by two business professors from CUNY.  You can access that here.

He also mentioned that this is what motivates him to support the Responsible Banking Ordinance sponsored by Richard Alarcon in the LA City Council and endorsed by clergy throughout the city organized by LA Voice.  You can see a summary of the ordinance here.

View the sermon at the Stephen S. Wise Vimeo Site by clicking here.  

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Don't Hold Us Back!

A coalition of civil rights, parent and community organizations will demand that UTLA and LAUSD negotiate a new contract within 30 days at the School Board meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 18th


For too long, the community has waited for LAUSD and UTLA to negotiate a new contract that puts the needs of students first. Our children cannot wait any longer. The district and union must embrace policy changes that empower principals and teachers to improve education for students in their schools; ensure teachers are evaluated fairly; and allow teachers to be paid based on their actual performance. Parents’ right to choose the best school for their children must be protected. Failed policies like the “must-hire” list should be replaced. Every child deserves a quality public school education! Teachers want it, students deserve it, and parents expect it.


Sunday, October 2, 2011

High Holy Days, 5772 (2011) The Money Culture and Finding the Soul of Money

 Rabbi Stern's High Holy Day Sermon Video

The video above is one version of the sermon as presented, the version that you heard might have been slightly different.  Feel free to respond to what you heard or the version above.  Additionally, a text version is available here

Here are guidelines for comment submission.  All comments will be monitored before publication on this web page.
  • This dialogue, above all, should be respectful and courteous, though a healthy debate and dialogue about the ideas is encouraged.  
  • Rabbi Stern will not respond unless specifically asked by a comment to do so.  This is the time for the listeners of the sermon to speak. 
  • All comments must have respondent's first name and last initial in order to be published. This will encourage respectful dialogue and productive conversation.
  • If comments are deemed by the moderator to be unproductive to thoughtful conversation, the submitter will be asked to resubmit a more appropriate version.  If you do not see your comment posted it is likely that it was delayed for this reason. Please email for feedback about your submission.  
The phrase "The Soul of Money" is inspired by a book by the same name: The Soul of Money: Reclaiming the Wealth of Our Inner Resources by Lynne Twist and Teresa Barker (Oct 17, 2006).  There is also a Soul of Money Institute learn more here

 You may submit your comments and responses to the sermon by clicking the send comment icon below. REMEMBER: You must type your first name and last initial before submitting your comment as the last line of your text. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Martin Luther King on the Relationship between Politics and Religion

Much has been written in the Jewish Journal (click here) these past few weeks about the place of political sermons on bimas.  Rabbi Stern also wrote a response (click here, scroll down) The Social Justice Committee believes that issues of grave concern to the community must be addressed in a respectful and non-partisan way.  The words from Martin Luther King below provide an essential rationale.

   …any religion that professes to be concerned about the souls of men and is not concerned about the economic conditions that damn the soul, the social conditions that corrupt men, and the city governments that cripple them, is a dry, dead, do-nothing religion in need of new blood. For it overlooks the basic fact that man is a biological being with a physical body. This must stand as a principle in any doctrine of man.    -- Martin Luther King, Jr., The Measure of a Man, Minneapolis: Fortress Press (1959), p. 12

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Why Stephen S. Wise is Advocating for Education! It's a Jewish Issue!
July 26, 2011

Bill Boyarsky: LAUSD reaches out to middle class

New LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy. Photo courtesy LAUSD
New LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy. Photo courtesy LAUSD
Los Angeles’ new school superintendent, John Deasy, says one of his top goals is to persuade middle-class families, including Jewish parents, to return to the Los Angeles public schools. “It’s one of the major projects I have to deliver,” he said.
I interviewed Deasy last week in his office on the 24th floor of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) headquarters, just west of downtown Los Angeles.
Deasy has been superintendent since January. Before taking the LAUSD job, he was deputy director of education for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a major supporter of charter schools. Charters are publicly funded but are run with considerable independence; they also often receive substantial private funds and operate outside of union contracts. Deasy also has served as superintendent of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District and the Prince George’s County public schools in Maryland.
It was our first meeting. He — or a member of his staff — had checked me out, and he had read my articles on education. Most important for readers of The Jewish Journal, he was on top of the middle-class issue.
He told me he’s been talking with parents about getting private-school students to enroll in public schools, including those on the Westside and in the West Valley, home to many Jewish families. “People are saying they want to come back, but come back with confidence,” he said. “And that’s my obligation. And I think some are coming back because of the huge economic pressures, which are not going to get better soon. And so, while they may be forced back economically, we want them to feel welcomed and comfortable that the decision … can actually better the lives of their sons and daughters.”
Deasy said school board member Steve Zimmer, who represents much of the Westside, sparked the back-to-public schools effort. He said Zimmer was supported in this by Tamar Galatzan, who represents the West Valley. Both are Jewish.
“I have a whole team on this,” Deasy said. “And we’re going to spend some money to incubate programs that are highly attractive for parents to come back to. At the same time, I am … improving the district, so, as students come through these programs, they will continue to matriculate to better and better public schools.”
He said the program would be presented to the Board of Education in autumn.
Elevating the back-to-the-public-school campaign to a top district priority would be a change. It’s been going on for a few years on some campuses, but has depended on the interest of principals and parent groups. Operating with the intensity of a political campaign in some areas, it has worked. “This is about organizing — listening, communicating … [going] to churches, synagogues, neighborhood councils, door to door,” Zimmer told me when I interviewed him a while back.
Parents dealing with LAUSD face a bewildering number of choices, including traditional public schools, magnets, charters and pilot schools, the last of which offer a blend of charter and traditional approaches. 
“I would acknowledge that now we make choice difficult for parents,” Deasy said. “We want to make it much easier. … Parents shouldn’t have to figure out the system. We are developing a portal [on the LAUSD Web site], which lays all this out. We want parents not to search but to be fed information. And, of course, [the site will be] in all of our six predominant languages, so that what you are left with is to make a choice, not to wonder how to find something. It is one-stop shopping, how to register, how to transfer, how to learn about choices, how to understand college applications, how to fill out a financial-aid form, immunization rules, counseling and support, after-school options.  Up to this point, it has been hit or miss, or, worse, fractured information.”
A major obstacle facing Deasy is the teachers union, United Teachers Los Angeles. The union is opposed to charters, test-oriented teacher evaluations and any easing of seniority rules that would make it easier to fire teachers. All these steps are favored by LAUSD’s critics, who consider them reforms. Deasy’s time as an executive of the charter-supporting Gates foundation makes the union suspicious of him.
The union has a new president, Warren Fletcher, who succeeded the combative A.J. Duffy. Deasy said he and Fletcher “are working on building a strong relationship together. We both have enormous responsibilities on our shoulders, and we both don’t want to make mistakes in our first year. I have met him a number of times now,” Deasy added. “He wants to do the right thing by his membership and students, and so do I. … How we disagree will be the hallmark of our relationship, that it will be a respectful and productive disagreement when it occurs, and a very respectful and productive collaboration when it occurs.”
If that miracle happens, it will change the theatrics of the Los Angeles public-school debate. With the shouting toned down, perhaps the two sides can then get down to substance, and the district can be made into something attractive to all Los Angeles, to become, as Deasy said, “Best in the West; No. 1 in the nation.”
© Copyright 2011 Tribe Media Corp.
All rights reserved. is hosted by Homepage design by Koret Communications.
Widgets by Mijits. Site construction by Hop Studios.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

For the Sake of Peace: The Quality of LA’s Public Schools is a Jewish Issue

By Rabbi Ron Stern

In Morristown, New Jersey, where I grew up, nearly every child in town went to a public school.  At our High School I became best friends with "Stitch" Mackenzie. He hailed from an African-American single parent home in the solidly blue collar section of town where small homes with small yards lined the streets.  I, on the other hand, lived in a house designed and built by my parents on an immense plot of land where the closest home was barely visible through the trees.   Stitch and I might have come from vastly different backgrounds and experienced very different upbringings, yet because of Morristown High School we found each other and all those other differences lost their significance. We became fast friends. 
Our High School was a well-funded, effective, jewel of our town that brought almost all the eligible students of every religion, color and ethnicity together for sports, appropriate college preparatory classes for the college bound as well as technical classes for those heading straight to work.  Morristown High School enabled me to attend the college of my choice and continue my life in the style that my parents had given me.  But most importantly, it enabled Stitch to rise beyond his own roots and attend another publically funded educational institution: Penn State University.  Where might Stitch have ended up if our High School wasn’t the quality institution that it was?
For the last 22 years, Los Angeles has been my home.  A far cry from the small town where I grew up, but no less a city that has captured my heart and commitment. Los Angeles contains an ethnic diversity that makes Morristown look like a slice of white bread, and that makes for an astoundingly interesting and multi-colored fabric of a city. And yet, this great city lacks something essential for a city of any size that I easily experienced in Morristown, NJ.
It is a sense of shared Civic Responsibility.  In Los Angeles, though we are interconnected by a vast network of roads, freeways and even public transportation, there is very little sense from one neighborhood to the next that ultimately the welfare of our entire city rests upon the wellbeing of all of its neighborhoods.  Though we elect a common mayor, utilize a common police force and share many resources with citizens of our city throughout this vast region of 470 square miles, essentially, our primary concerns are focused on the few square miles that constitute our own neighborhood.  What goes on across town or across the Valley in the various ethnic enclaves is of little concern for us unless, of course, we fear that it may endanger our pristine neighborhoods. 
Nowhere is this provincialism more apparent than in the quality of our public schools.  While the public schools in Encino, Northridge, Brentwood and West LA are among the best in the district, the schools in Pacoima, Boyle Heights, Hollywood, Van Nuys and Eagle Rock are among the worst.  And other than a few “tsk, tsks” we in the wealthier parts of town are ok with that. 
Tragically, the Jewish community has embraced this lowest common denominator of civic responsibility with enthusiasm.  With some notable exceptions, Jews in our city have opted out of any activism on behalf of our city’s public schools.  As a result, we are vastly over represented in proportion to our numbers in the private schools.  Where we have chosen to invest in public schools we have devoted our incredible organizing skills and resources to our own neighborhood public schools.  Transforming them, as we move into the "good" neighborhoods, into virtual private schools where the principals are responsive to our needs and the teachers are supported and effective. 
As I said, there are notable exceptions to this massive opting out of the Jewish community and of Jewish communal institutions.  The Eli Broad foundation and the Milken Family Foundation, to name a couple of the better known foundations, with obvious Jewish roots are deeply committed to improving our schools.  LAUSD board members Steve Zimmer and Tamar Galatzan, both have connections that extend deeply into the Jewish community.  Jews are on the boards of vital organizations such as Para Los Niños and the Fulfillment Fund which was founded by UCLA physician Gary Gitnick.  In addition there are thousands of Jewish teachers and administrators who are on the frontlines working throughout our city to bring their commitment and skill to all the children of our city. 
However, the efforts of these noble few experience success despite inherent and unavoidable shortcomings.   Essentially, the challenge is one of scale.  The Fulfillment Fund’s ability to make college a reality for more than 200 high school seniors is incredible, but LAUSD graduates tens of thousands of students each year.  When the Milken Family Foundation reaches dozens of teachers with its Educator Awards it is doing wonderful work to recognize the hard efforts of these teachers, but there are thousands of additional teachers who need in-service training and resources to do their jobs more effectively.  Only public dollars and publically funded programs and initiatives are able to reach the scale that is needed to affect the quality of education throughout the district.
So, while many Jews as individuals are involved in initiatives that focus on public education throughout our city, there is an absence of activism from Jewish communal institutions.  This silence is profoundly unfortunate, because our disengagement from public advocacy for improvements in the quality of education for all of the students of Los Angeles ultimately hurts all of us in this vast, great city.  There is no need to point fingers at particular institutions that have remained silent because I don't have enough fingers and it is nearly universal.  I want to be clear though that when I say Jewish institutions I really do mean ALL Jewish institutions from synagogues to museums, from the Federation to the Board of Rabbis. 
Our organizations must be engaged in serious conversations about how we can mobilize our members and supporters to speak out and demand improvements in our schools from public officials.  I know of only two Jewish institutions engaged in advocacy for public education: Temple Isaiah and my own synagogue, Stephen S. Wise Temple.  Our work for public education is endorsed by our board despite the fact that we have our own private school system—the two are not mutually exclusive.
Over the course of my work to coordinate the advocacy for public education at my synagogue I have come across a text by the noted Medieval Scholar Moses Maimonides that speaks as much truth today as it did in the 12th century when he wrote it in the Mishneh Torah: 
Even regarding the non-Jew, our Sages have commanded us to visit their sick and to bury their dead alongside the Jewish dead, and to feed their poor amongst the Jewish poor, because of ways-of-peace (mipnei darchei shalom). Behold the verse says, “God is good to all and His compassion is on all of his creatures.” (Psalms 145:9) And it says, “Her [the Torah’s] ways are ways of pleasantness and all of its paths are peace.” (Proverbs 3:17)
Maimonides is making three points, quite powerfully, in this text.  The first and most obvious is that the peace (read wholeness, wellbeing) of a community depends upon the Jewish community's capacity to provide the essential services of community to all its citizens (public schools were unheard of then, but if they were, rest assured they would have been on Maimonides' list).  The second is that inasmuch as we are extensions of God's presence on earth, our embodiment of God's goodness requires that we extend our compassion to all.  Finally, Maimonides provides the last text from Proverbs reminding us that the ways of Torah are ways of peace, implying that for us to fulfill the essence of Torah in our actions we must extend its blessings to non-Jews as well as Jews.  Torah exists for the entire world, not for the Jews alone.  This is a remarkable statement by a sage living in a world where religious stratifications were deep, immutable and sometimes explosive. 
Ultimately, the moral argument that Maimonides makes in his time is the same one that must be made in ours.  The "ways of peace" require a commitment from the Jewish community for the kind of leadership that will make that peace possible.  Peace is not merely the absence of hostility.  Peace -- Shalom -- requires a vision of community where the greatest single institution that teaches the values of our community and enables the practitioners of those values to sustain themselves and their families is supported.  Public schools are the path to peace for LA and the institutions of the Jewish community must be in the forefront among those pursuing it. 

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Words from the past: Jewish engagement in the wellbeing of our World

Mipnei Darchei Shalom -- Why Jews must be committed to the wellbeing of our entire community.   A reminder from the Teachings of Maimonides.  D'var Torah presented on Friday, July 1st in anticipation of July 4th.

Friday, June 24, 2011

There's Strength In Numbers and in Networks

In the Jewish tradition it is often said that someone "makes Shabbes for him/herself" when that person fails to collaborate effectively with others in the community.  We on the Education Advocacy Team at Stephen S. Wise Temple recognize that the effectiveness of our advocacy is directly dependent on the networking that we achieve with other organizations.   We have partnered with a number of organizations who share our commitment to the cause of meaningful Education Reform.
1) PICO California and LA Voice -- PICO California is heavily involved in advocating for a state budget that reflects the best of what our state can be and can become.  See their website here
2) Educate our State -- a grass roots organization of parents from across our great state speaking out for change in our schools.  Visit their site here
3) The Parents' Association at Lanai Road Elementary School.  See their website here.  The parents at Lanai are among the most active in the state working for reform.  They are developing an advocacy program -- stay tuned for more news.
4) In addition, we continue to keep the lines of communication open with our School Board members Steve Zimmer and Tamar Galatzan.
5) A few of us joined with clergy and laypeople at a PICO California at a rally on the Capital Steps in Sacramento to lobby for a budget that protects the vital services our state provides including education.
6) We also visited Assemblyman Cameron Smyth's office in Santa Clarita to let him know that maintaining current revenue levels is essential for California's budgeting.

7) See this video to hear the students and parents of Milikan Middle school raise their voices for continued funding levels for Education.  This one's a little dramatic, but it makes the point! Click here.
8) Send a letter to your legislative representatives to protect higher level education funding.  Click here.

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Latest Activity on the Budget Battle -- The PICO California Clergy Letter

 The following was sent to me by Zach Hoover (Exec Dir of PICO LA).  It describes the efforts by PICO to advocate for our legislators to provide solutions not obstacles.  The Board of Rabbis (as you can see below) has endorsed the clergy letter which you can see at the web site referenced in Zach's note. 

Dear clergy and religious leaders,
> As you know, the state budget crisis threatens our schools, elderly, and poor. It also threatens resources for some of your local organizing campaigns (violence reduction, housing, health care, etc.). As PICO CA, we are striving to amplify the voice of clergy and religious (nuns) across the state who believe that our leadership ought to be doing something differently for all of our sake. At this website you will find a clergy sign-on letter. Please add your name. Please invite your friends who are clergy / religious leaders to add their names. They only need to live in CA, not be part of a PICO organization. All are welcome. The goal is 2000 signatures, I believe.
> Kudos to Rabbi Ron Stern who successfully got the endorsement of the 300 member board of SoCal rabbis for the letter and is doing outreach within his circle to gather individual signatures from that membership. This can be a simple, powerful way to connect others to our work as LA Voice. Let me know if you need any support on this.
> Lastly, there is an action in Sacramento planned for June 14th. Over 500 people turned out for an Action in a Modesto swing vote district last night. A few of you are planning on attending already. The Sacramento Action is to raise the volume more and pressure on our state leaders to resolve the crisis (details in the letter online). A few of you are planning on attending already. This is for clergy and lay leaders. Additionally, there may be a small delegation that day of high level clergy to meet with the Governor and leaders of the Senate and Assembly (both parties). This would mean bishops, regional, or denominational leaders, high leadership Rabbis and Imams--let me know who might be appropriate representatives you think we could invite together. Details on this are forthcoming.
> Below, for more info, please read the current plan on impacting the crisis and positioning our organizations to shape the fiscal future of California in the coming 18 months.

Clergy Outreach: In order to broaden clergy relationships and deepen our presence within the critical swing districts of the central valley, our brothers and sisters in the Central Valley have asked that clergy leaders outside of the region reach out to their denominational colleagues in Lodi, Modesto, Ceres, Stockton, Fresno, Bakersfield, and Merced. The goal of this outreach is twofold: to encourage and invite new clergy to sign on to the clergy letter and to invite them to attend an upcoming event in Sacramento as a way of introducing them to PICO and our local PICO federations in the Central Valley. The Central Valley will remain a critical vote area for the foreseeable future.
            Tuesday, June 14: Faith rally in Sacramento 

Campaign for California Worship Services: To lift up a strong and united faith voice and to build turnout for the June 14 faith action in Sacramento we encourage every PICO congregation in California to highlight our response to the state budget crisis during worship services the weekend of June 4 and 5. This would also be a key time to sign up people to participate in our June 14th action.  Pulpit and bulletin announcements will be forthcoming. (Let me know if you want to do something like this so we can work on any material you need).

Clergy Leadership on longer term Tax & Fiscal Reform: Participation in this short-term state revenue campaign and our Faith Action on the 14th of June will lay the foundation for our future collective work on tax & fiscal policy reform within California. We would like to identify a team of clergy to play a leadership role on the 14th and eventually within our longer term work on tax & fiscal policy in California. We ask that you invite 1-2 clergy who may have an interest in creating solutions to our state's structural problems to represent your federation for our June 14th action. (Ryan is currently participating on these calls, but there is room for more).
One final note—we are being very intentional about reaching out to clergy and faith-based organizations around the state to join sign on to the clergy letter. We view this as a document of California's broad faith community and to that end will be contacting Gamaliel and IAF about partnering with us on this.  If you have local relationships with other faith-based organizations that are not part of PICO (organizing or otherwise), we encourage you to do the same.

Min. Zachary Hoover
Executive Director, LA Voice
an affiliate of the PICO National Network

Friday, May 13, 2011


Dear Advocate for CA Educational Reform:
We’re sending you this email because you’ve expressed interest in advocating for meaningful change in our local public school system or been a part of our Social Justice work. As you’ve read in some of our previous correspondences, our core committee continues to research the vital issues affecting education reform. Our challenge, and this should come as no surprise given the difficulty of this problem, is that the sands are constantly shifting. Whether it’s a change in LAUSD leadership or the budget crisis facing the state no sooner do we move forward on an issue when circumstances change and the parameters shift. This doesn’t mean that nothing can be done and when an opportunity arises our overall commitment to advocacy on behalf of our kids remains firm. That is the purpose of this email: an opportunity for action!
First the background: Governor Brown has proposed extending the current state tax revenue levels beyond July 2011's expiration date. This would allow the state budget to maintain current amounts of funding for public education as well as other services. If those levels are not maintained, major cuts in education are guaranteed. This will most likely be devastating to school districts throughout the state not to mention our colleges and universities.
Two partner organizations have reached out to us and have requested our support to help them as they fight to keep state revenues for education at existing levels:
FIRST:  The teachers of Lanai Elementary are participating in an UTLA sponsored demonstration on May 13th. Click here. While we are not advocating for or against support of UTLA, many of us are parents of children who have benefited from the dedication of teachers at Lanai, 35% of whom have received notices that they will be laid off next year. This is an opportunity to support teachers and raise our voices for adequate school funding.  Continuing the state revenue levels would avoid many if not all of these layoffs.  The Lanai flyer is attached to this mailing it includes all the details.
SECOND:  Educate our State will be holding a rally at Milikan (not Milken!) Middle School on May 24th as part of their state-wide day of action. Click here for more information. We’ve met with the local leadership of Educate our State and believe that they are an important non-partisan advocacy group for education reform. Details about this rally continue to develop, you can see the latest information on the Educate our State website. 
This is a chance for action and an opportunity to speak out to the press and our legislators about our passion to provide for the education of our children. We’d like to bring a contingent from our congregation group to both of the rallies.
Sorry if you’ve received duplicates of this email, we’ve cast a wide net to call attention to this important issue.
Thanks for taking the time to give this your consideration! We’ll see you there!
Rabbi Ron Stern, Sharon Almany, Laurie Bahar and the Education Advocacy Group of Stephen S. Wise Temple

Monday, March 21, 2011

Post Listening Sessions: An Education Reform Update

Two different Listening Sessions were held during the month of February at Stephen S. Wise Temple. While our congregant’s concerns regarding education in Los Angeles are quite serious, we were pleased by the participation. The individual stories we heard were interesting, often depressing, and occasionally heart-wrenching. By being there though, our community showed its interest in bettering the public education situation in our city. A few common themes emerged:

o Middle school transition issues
o Lack of parent involvement at the middle school level
o Schools losing music, art and library funding
o Teacher effectiveness issues
o Concerns over ear-marked funding. Specifically, money raised by middle and high school “student stores.”

Where do we go from here?

Our Leadership Team has met again and is conducting further research into State Ed Code and LAUSD restrictions surrounding the use of Student Store and Associate Student Body (ASB) funds. As expressed by many, middle schools are desperately short of necessary resources and supplies. At the same time, it seems that any number of middle and high schools have a significant pot of money sitting in accounts unavailable for necessities because this money is so heavily ear-marked. Our Team is looking into the possibility of easing restrictions on these funds in order to make them available to be spent at the discretion of a school’s Principal to address important issues specific to each school.

We do not have the power to increase budgets but if we could help free up money for our schools, we’d feel impactful. Additionally, by tackling this issue, we’re tackling an issue that effects middle-schools – where are members see the greatest need.

On a final important note, our Social Justice Education Reform work is also about strengthening our congregation. As such, if you would like to host a listening session at your home with your friends from the Temple, please contact Sharon Almany or Laurie Bahar. Involving more congregants will help add to our common story as we work together to improve public schools.

Other questions or ideas? Please feel free to be in touch with us. Regardless, we thank you again for your interest and will continue to keep you updated as our work continues.

Sharon Almany, Laurie Bahar & Jennifer Smith

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

You're Invited! Stephen S. Wise Temple Education Reform: Listening Sessions

We are taking this opportunity to reach out and let you know where we are at in our Education Reform efforts. Since our event in October, our group has been busy with additional research meetings and monitoring the changes occurring within LAUSD, as well as learning about education reform efforts state and nationwide. As we are all aware, Education Reform is a critical issue in our city, inspiring attention from a variety of advocacy groups. Our group is currently reaching out to various organizations to learn more about their efforts, to be heard, and potentially join forces.

At our October event, we focused on the two main themes of Local Budget Control (also referred to as Transparent Budgeting) and Teacher Effectiveness. Now we want to hear from YOU… hear your personal story!

Since having the chance to hear from experts and listen to research findings, we now want the opportunity to hear why you are passionate about Education Reform in our city. We will be holding Listening Sessions with those of you who attended our October event - or those of you who couldn't make it but are interested - to hear your individual stories, build relationships between individuals who care about this issue, and link local stories to larger issues. We are offering two different Listening Session times:

February 15th at 9:30 am OR February 23rd at 7:00 pm with the request that you will attend one session. You may RSVP to with your name, email, and selected Listening Session to attend.

As we learn more from you about your passions and dreams to improve our schools as well as enhance opportunities for our youth, we will strive to unite this energy with the work being done by others in our community. Our voices, and ultimately our impact, may be greater if we can integrate our efforts. So, thank you for your interest in improving our city’s schools. Whether you currently have children in our public schools, you’d like to in the future, or you’re just an interested, civic-minded person concerned about the future of our great city, we welcome your input and encourage your involvement.

Sharon Almany
Laurie Bahar
Jennifer Smith

United Way Education Summit

We wanted to share a great opportunity with those of you that are passionate about Education Reform in our city...

United Way of Greater Los Angeles presents their 2011 Education Summit
Tuesday, March 22, 8:00 am to 2:00 pm at the Los Angeles Convention Center

Register now at

Registration fee is $75
($60 if registering before February 4)
Includes breakfast, lunch and parking
Tables available for purchase.
For more information Contact Kimberly Dillon
at or call 213.808.6245.