Jewish Resource Specialists

Empowering schools and teachers with the tools they need to deepen Jewish learning opportunities for young children and their families. 

Engaging families in Jewish life during and after their children’s preschool years is no easy task. But, in an effort to offer families a more dynamic and meaningful learning experience, Jewish preschools in the Bay Area expressed a need for an in-house expert in their Jewish Early Childhood Education programs. The Federation responded by creating the Jewish Resource Specialist program.

What does a Jewish Resource Specialist (JRS) do?

The JRS teacher is a mentor and resource for staff and parents, developing relationships at the school site, reaching out to fellow teachers and parents, and deepening Jewish learning. The JRS works with teachers on Jewish curricula and employs a variety of methods, including reflection, role modeling, scaffolding (building upon existing work), and providing resources for teachers. The JRS works with parents, connecting them to Jewish life and participation in the Jewish community. The JRS conducts formal school events, family programming, and meetings, as well as informal conversations and consultations with parents to create opportunities for parents to become more fully engaged in Jewish life.

The JRS receives funding for an additional 10 hours per week in order to serve the entire school in implementing Jewish curriculum, planning Jewish educational programs for families, and connecting parents to the broader Jewish community during and after the preschool years. Each JRS works closely with the Director of Early Childhood Education at their site, as well as the ECEI Director and the Associate Director of the Early Childhood and Family Engagement Initiative.


Originally created in 2011 with a generous grant from the Jim Joseph Foundation, the 3-year pilot JRS program was implemented at five Jewish Early Childhood Education (ECE) sites in the Bay Area and has had significant success in engaging families in Jewish life during and after the preschool years.

Learn more about how the program has evolved and expanded.


The funding for the JRS program is provided by a generous grant from the Jim Joseph Foundation, as well as in-kind funding from the Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund. Each school site has agreed to take on a larger percentage of the funding each year, so it becomes a part of its operating budget in the fourth year and beyond.

View our Frequently Asked Questions here.

See the Jewish Resource Specialist Program Year 3 evaluation.


Success in San Francisco: The Impact of Jewish Resource Specialists in Jewish Early Childhood Education

For more information, please contact:
Denise Moyes-Schnur