Head of School/CEO Avi Halzel received an honorary doctorate from the Jewish Theological Seminary on November 12 in New York.
Every few years, the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) — the oldest Conservative institution of higher learning — recognizes those educators who have distinguished themselves with illustrious careers through the awarding of honorary doctorates. The degree of Doctor of Pedagogy, honoris causa, is conferred by the chancellor of JTS at an academic convocation.
“I am touched and honored to have received this recognition from JTS and JEA,” said Dr. Halzel. “As a lifelong Jewish educator, I am delighted to be a part of something that brings distinction and recognition to Denver Jewish Day School.”
Receiving an honorary doctorate from JTS is a significant accomplishment and an acknowledgement of a distinguished career, and considered to be among the highest levels of recognition an educator can achieve within the Conservative Movement.
While similar ceremonies are also held with the Rabbinical Assembly and the Cantors Assembly, each group has its own style and custom of how these honors are granted. The Jewish Educators Assembly (JEA) selects from those who have been in the field of Jewish education for a minimum of 25 years, who have been members of JEA for a minimum of 15 years, who have had distinguished careers in their schools or institutions, who have made concrete and tangible contributions to the field of Jewish education beyond their own institutions, and who have earned the respect of colleagues and peers for their erudition and leadership in the field of Jewish education.
A committee composed of the current JEA president, several past presidents and the executive director carefully reviews the membership; a final list is presented to the JEA Board and voted upon confidentially before being presented to JTS. The list is then reviewed at JTS by the dean of the Davidson School of Education and the vice chancellor of the Seminary.
“We at Denver Jewish Day School know first hand of Avi’s outstanding dedication to Jewish education, and his great efforts in making our school the best of its kind,” said Irit Waldbaum, current chair of the Denver JDS Board of Trustees. “We congratulate him on this honor.”