Press Releases


October 27, 2006

Five Jewish Educators Surprised with $10,000 Milken Jewish Educator Awards

Milken Family Foundation's 17-year tradition honors the excellence of Jewish educators in Greater Los Angeles

Five outstanding Jewish educators in the Los Angeles area received the surprise of their lives this week when they were presented with $10,000 Milken Family Foundation Jewish Educator Awards. Foundation Executive Vice President Richard Sandler announced the recipients at surprise assemblies at each educator's school. Also joining in the ceremonies was Dr. Gil Graff, executive director of the Bureau of Jewish Education of Greater Los Angeles.

At the fifth Award notification, Lowell Milken, chairman and co-founder of the Milken Family Foundation, and Dr. David Ackerman, director of education for the Bureau of Jewish Education, made the surprise presentation. Special guests at this assembly included former Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz—currently Israel's Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Transportation and Road Safety—and Ehud Danoch, Consul General of Israel and the senior representative of the State of Israel in the southwestern United States.

The Jewish Educator Awards are presented annually to give public recognition and financial awards of $10,000 to teachers, administrators and other education professionals who have made significant contributions to excellence in education in day schools affiliated with the Bureau of Jewish Education of Greater Los Angeles.

"With these Awards, we acknowledge our debt to the men and women whose intelligence, scholarship, commitment and compassion not only help young people achieve individual success, but also help ensure the continuation of the heritage that gives meaning to that success," said Lowell Milken.

The five recipients surprised with Awards were:

  • Bluma Drebin
    Math and Chumash teacher
    Yeshiva University of Los Angeles Girls High School, Los Angeles

  • Rabbi Simcha Frankel
    Fourth grade Judaic studies teacher
    Cheder Menachem, Los Angeles

  • Tami Rosenfeld
    Fourth grade Hebrew and Judaic studies teacher
    Pressman Academy/Temple Beth Am, Los Angeles

  • Dr. Rennie Wrubel
    Head of School
    Milken Community High School, Los Angeles

  • Beverly Yachzel
    First and second grade general studies teacher
    Beth Hillel Day School, Valley Village

The Jewish Educator Awards were established in 1990 in cooperation with the Bureau of Jewish Education of Greater Los Angeles as an adjunct to the Foundation's Milken National Educator Awards program. These educators reflect the highest ideals of Jewish and secular education, fostering the lifelong pursuit of knowledge and nurturing a value system that can guide students through adulthood. Recipients also demonstrate an outstanding ability to develop Jewish children's understanding of the connections between their religion, their classroom activities and their life outside of school.

The Award recipients are selected by a committee of educators, professional and lay leaders from the Jewish community who have a long-standing concern for and involvement with education in Jewish schools. To be eligible for consideration, educators must teach a minimum of 15 hours per week at the kindergarten through 12th grade level; they must have been teaching for a minimum of seven years in a Bureau-affiliated school; and they must hold a class "A" or higher scale rating (for Judaic teachers) or a state teaching credential (for general studies teachers).

The criteria considered for the selection of Jewish Educator Award recipients include:

  • Exceptional educational talent and promise, as demonstrated by outstanding practices in the classroom, school and community;

  • Evidence of originality, dedication and capacity for leadership and self-direction;

  • Commitment to influencing policies that affect children, their families and schools;

  • Strong long-range potential for even greater contribution to children, the profession and society;

  • Distinguished achievement in developing innovative educational curricula, programs and/or teaching methods;

  • Outstanding ability to instill in students character and self-confidence;

  • Outstanding ability to develop Jewish children's understanding of the connections between their religion, their classroom activities, and their activities beyond the classroom;

  • Commitment to professional development and excellence and the continuing Judaic and/or secular study necessary for it; and

  • Personal involvement in responding to the needs of the Jewish and secular communities.

  • Criteria for administrators also include outstanding ability to attract, support and motivate committed education professionals.

Recipients are invited to attend an awards luncheon in Los Angeles to be held in December.