Helen Diller Family Award for Excellence in Jewish Education


Established in January 2001 as an initiative of the Helen Diller Family Foundation and the Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund, the Helen Diller Family Award for Excellence in Jewish Education recognizes and honors educational professionals engaged with pre-collegiate Jewish learning who have made an extraordinary impact on the youth of our community. Award categories include early childhood, day school, congregational and supplementary, and Jewish communal and experiential. An award of $10,000 will be given to an educator in each category, and each awardee's institution will also receive $2,500. Read personal stories of some of our recipients.

Nomination guidelines, procedures, and forms

Deadline: Monday, February 10, 2020



  • The award is intended to honor Jewish educational professionals working directly with pre-collegiate age learners. Administrators, principals, and others whose primary responsibility involves educational leadership and supervising direct staff do not qualify. Hands-on work (either in-person or virtual) with these learners must exceed other professional responsibilities, encompassing a majority of the nominee’s responsibilities.
  • Nominees must exemplify excellence in Jewish education and must currently be a professional in a program of pre-collegiate Jewish education within the Bay Area.
  • Nominees must be at least 18 years old when nominated.
  • Nominees must have worked in the field of Jewish education for a minimum of three years. They need not be Jewish but must transmit Jewish knowledge and values. Nominations are encouraged from all Jewish religious streams and Jewish communal spaces.
  • Nominees in each of these categories should work as follows:
    • Early Childhood: Eligible professionals work in an organization, school, or space that engages pre-elementary school-age children or their families.
    • Day School: Eligible professionals work in a full day Jewish school with students in grades as young as Kindergarten and up to 12th grade.
    • Congregational and Supplementary: Eligible professionals work with school-aged learners and/or families in an ongoing, part-time program. These programs can include a congregational school, afterschool program, a supplementary program, or a youth group. These ongoing programs are not limited to those that take place in a classroom.
    • Jewish Communal and Experiential: Eligible professionals work with learners and/or families through immersive experiences, multiple limited programs, or multiple one-time events. This includes camps, communal organizational programming, congregations, museums, farms, and others.
  • Educators are eligible to be nominated for up to three years in a row.
  • A nominator may nominate up to one person per category for a Diller Education Award each year. Nominators should choose the category or categories that best fit(s) the program(s) they oversee or in which they are involved.
  • If you are unclear how your organization’s unique programs fit into one of the above categories, please reach out to Dena Stein or by phone to 415.512.6235.

Nomination procedure

  • Nominators may be a candidate's current or former supervisor, school principal, program director, agency/organization director, past or present colleague, or past or present learner or the learner’s family. If the nominator is not the direct supervisor, the direct supervisor or other administrators from the educator’s sponsoring organization must provide a letter of recommendation to proceed. The nominator’s statement should describe a nominee's accomplishments and explain why the nominee merits a Diller Award. Nominators may submit the Nominator’s Form online or by mail.
  • The nominator or the nominee’s direct supervisor is requested to notify the candidate of his or her nomination and to give the candidate a Nominee's Print Form or direct the nominee to the Nominee’s Online Form. This form requests biographical information, including statements of motivation and purpose.
  • The nominator is also asked to solicit two letters of support for the nominee. Letter of Support Forms should be completed by parents, current or former colleagues, current or former learners, or members of the community who have worked directly with the nominee. Nominators should not request both letters from the same group. Letters of support should give concrete examples of a nominee's effectiveness and impact on students inside and/or outside the classroom. Letters of support may be submitted online.
  • The nominator may submit the application online. A complete application consists of:
  • Nominators are responsible for making sure that the completed application has been submitted by Monday, February 10, 2020.

Selection procedure

  • All applications will be reviewed by the Helen Diller Awards for Excellence in Jewish Education Selection Committee, comprised of educators and lay leaders from the Jewish community who have a long-standing interest and involvement in Jewish education.
  • During the review process, additional information may be requested.
  • A final determination will be made in late spring, and award recipients will be honored at a Jewish community event.
  • Please address questions to Dena Stein or by phone at 415.512.6235.