Announcing Our New Mission and Core Values! :: Solomon Schechter Day School

Announcing Our New Mission and Core Values!

/ Oct 3, 2023 /
By: Rabbi Jonathan (Yoni) Berger

Announcing Our New Mission and Core Values!

As Head of School, I’m responsible for Schechter’s day-to-day operations, and for keeping our school on a constant journey towards excellence. But how do I know what kind of school to operate, and what kind of excellence to aim for? The answers ultimately come from our mission.

Every day at school, we make dozens of decisions about school priorities and general learning goals. How do we identify our goals, and how do we prioritize? The best guidance comes from our core values.

At Curriculum Night, I shared that the Board of Trustees was engaged in a process of revisiting and revising Schechter’s Mission Statement and Core Values. I’m thrilled to announce that at its September meeting, the Board approved new versions of these guiding documents! They appear below this introduction, on our website, and in the directories that will be distributed this week. In the months to come, we will also start to feature them around the building, and our students will help us find creative ways to illustrate them and bring them to life.

Both the Mission and Core Values are the products of extraordinary teamwork. At different stages in the process, they were shaped by a small task force of Trustees; by the entire board, by the administration, and by the faculty. At each stage, I shared ideas, asked questions, and worked to find the right words and overall balance. The overall process was guided by consultants that our board was able to retain through the generosity of a grant by the Jewish Community Foundation. The end product reflects my vision for Schechter—as a school, as a community, as an essential element of Greater Hartford’s future.

I hope that, when you read the new Mission and Core Values, you feel inspired! Not just in the sense of “I hope you feel really good about them”—but also inspired to think, to discuss, to ask questions, and even to argue. In general, they don’t represent revolutionary change—they describe the Schechter we know and love—but there are some important new elements and highlights. What seems new and exciting? What provokes questions? What would you like to know more about?

Over the course of the school year, I plan to write about the ideas, phrasing, and priorities in the new Mission and Core Values. I invite you to put your questions and perspectives in the comments; in addition to replying to them, I hope to incorporate them into future columns. Together—first on this webpage, and then in reality—we will bring them to life!


Schechter, a Jewish community day school, offers an exceptional, forward-thinking, student-centered education from early childhood through eighth grade.
We inspire students to love learning, celebrate Jewish life, connect to each other, and build a vibrant future for themselves and their community in a joyful, challenging, and creative environment.

Core Values

1)  Chochmah—חכמה—Wisdom
We believe true wisdom comes when we ask complex questions, consider multiple perspectives with empathy, grapple with original texts and primary sources, study the world around us, and discover personal meaning.

2)  Lev Tov—לב טוב—Good Heart
We believe that by learning to love kindness, pursue justice, treat all human beings with respect, and care for our natural world, our students develop a good heart and a strong moral compass.

3)  Kehillah—קהילה—Community
We believe in the power and beauty of our inclusive, diverse community, where students build friendships across grades, families connect to one another, and everyone can find a home.

4)  Mitzvot—מצוות—Jewish Practice
We believe in the power of mindful, meaningful, joyful Jewish practice. Some mitzvot can connect us to our fellow human beings; others can connect us to the divine. All offer opportunities to add holiness to our lives.

5)  K’lal Yisrael—כלל ישראל—Unity of the Jewish People
We believe in the unity of the Jewish people and celebrate the variety of beliefs, ethnicities, and traditions that exist at Schechter and in Jewish communities worldwide. We treasure Israel and the Hebrew language as threads that connect the Jewish people to each other, to our past, and to our future.

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