Rita Weintraub, a preschool teacher at Moriah Early Childhood Center, was presented with the Sue Pinsky Award for Excellence in Jewish Education on May 30 in recognition of her exemplary accomplishments in early childhood Jewish education.
"Rita has a magnetic presence, bringing a nurturing and creative energy to her Jewish classroom community," wrote colleague Cherene Radis in her nomination of Weintraub for the prestigious award. "She lives with her Jewish values at the forefront, and as a result, her classroom is a kehilah , its own community within our larger school community. Rita fundamentally understands how children learn, and fuels their curiosity to explore, think, make connections, problem solve and live their Judaism joyously."
The celebratory event was hosted by JUF's Education division, formerly the Community Foundation for Jewish Education. More than 150 educators and supporters of Jewish early childhood education gathered at Ida Crown Jewish Academy to celebrate their collective accomplishments, especially in the area of professional development.
"As Jews, passing on our values to the next generation is central to carrying on our culture and community," said Sue Pinsky, the award's namesake and a celebrated former educator herself. "Teachers help us make this possible. We trust them to shape and care for the minds and hearts of our children-and today, we thank them and celebrate them."
Sue's son Mark and his wife, Lisa, share in Sue's support of exceptional educators. They established the Sue Pinsky Award for Excellence in Jewish Education in her honor to recognize dynamic, inspiring Jewish teachers whose enthusiasm and caring help students develop a lifetime love of learning and Judaism. They created an endowment fund through the Jewish United Fund's Agency Endowment Program to ensure that this award will be given in perpetuity.
Weintraub has many leadership roles in at Moriah, and is a mentor to a fellow in the Chicago Teachers Project. She is also a participant in the new cross-community Learning Exchange between Colorado and Chicago, and has been a part of a national documentation initiative piloted by The Jewish Theological Seminary in New York.