Yeshiva University is proud to announce a $5 million gift from philanthropist Anita Zucker of Charleston, South Carolina, to establish the Anita Zucker Program for Jewish Early Childhood Educators. The generous gift will provide scholarships for qualified Yeshiva University undergraduate students who wish to pursue careers in Jewish early childhood education. It will also fund:

  1. Sponsorship for students to the NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children) Annual Conference, which gathers together early childhood educators from around the globe to connect, collaborate and learn.
  2. A peer-reviewed annual Journal of Early Childhood Jewish Education to promote high quality scholarship and inquiry into early childhood Jewish education.
  3. Research Fellows from YU graduate schools who partner with the Center to conduct early childhood education (ECE) research as part of their advanced academic study.
Rabbi Dr. Ari Berman, President of Yeshiva University

“We are grateful for the extraordinary vision and generosity of our dear friend Anita Zucker, whose recent gift will have a profound impact on generations of Jewish children,” said Rabbi Dr. Ari Berman, President of Yeshiva University. “Anita’s commitment to early childhood and Jewish education has inspired me and shaped our thinking of the future. Her gift will have a multigenerational impact, ensuring that our children receive the highest quality of instruction during a critical phase of their growth and cognitive development.”

“Jewish early childhood education is a transformative experience for both young children and their families. It is the foundation for lifelong learning and engagement and can create a powerful bond to both Judaism and the Jewish community,” Mrs. Zucker explained. “I am proud to be able to contribute to the advancement of such an important program at Yeshiva University and to the field as a whole.”

Studies have shown the dramatic impact of Jewish early childhood education, which not only touches young students, but also entire families. Whether through a day school, a synagogue or a JCC, it is, for many families, the formal entry into the Jewish community. Research by CASJE (Collaborative for Applied Studies in Jewish Education) found that for most families, Jewish early childhood education and engagement increases Jewish practice and involvement.

It is with this understanding and a passionate commitment to professionalize the field and incentivize prospective teachers that Anita Zucker made the gift to establish the Anita Zucker Program for Jewish Early Childhood Educators. An educator who taught elementary school for over 10 years, Mrs. Zucker is the Chair of The InterTech Group Inc., a North Charleston-based global manufacturing conglomerate. Her dedication to the field of education has resulted in initiatives across the country, from national institutions of higher education to local programs, projects and summits that have advanced and advocated for the field.

Mrs. Zucker has been instrumental in the launch and execution of Rise Up: The Campaign for 613, Yeshiva University’s comprehensive campaign that will fund scholarships, facilities and faculty to help move the University into its next great era. Along with Sen. Joseph Lieberman, she serves as co-chair of the campaign, which plans to raise $613 million over five years.

The Anita Zucker Jewish Early Childhood Program at Yeshiva University expects to bring 50 trained professionals into the field of Jewish Early Childhood Education within its first five years, affecting approximately 1,000 young Jewish families each academic year.

“The Anita Zucker Program for Early Childhood Educators is a game changer,” stated Dr. Miriam Hirsch, Chair of the Stern College for Women Educator Preparation Program. “This funding will make it possible for students who are interested in early childhood education to become professionals without financial hardship, and it will lead the way in transforming the status of Jewish early childhood education. This is an extraordinary opportunity at a critical time.”

About The Publishers
As the flagship Jewish university, Yeshiva University is animated by its five core Torah values: Seek Truth (Torat Emet), Live Your Values (Torat Chaim), Discover Your Potential (Torat Adam), Act With Compassion (Torat Chesed) and Bring Redemption (Torat Zion). Founded in 1886, Yeshiva University brings together the ancient traditions of Jewish law and life and the heritage of Western civilization. More than 7,400 undergraduate and graduate students study at YU’s four New York City campuses: the Wilf Campus, Israel Henry Beren Campus, Brookdale Center, and Jack and Pearl Resnick Campus. YU’s three undergraduate schools – Yeshiva College, Stern College for Women, and Sy Syms School of Business – offer a unique dual program comprised of Jewish studies and liberal arts courses. Its graduate and affiliate schools include Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Wurzweiler School of Social Work, Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology, Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration, Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies, the Katz School of Science and Health and Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary. YU is ranked among the nation’s leading academic institutions.
On Dec. 5, 2021, Dr. Ari Berman, President of Yeshiva University, announced the launch of Rise Up: The Campaign for 613, an ambitious comprehensive campaign that will fund scholarships, facilities and faculty/programs to position the University for continued success. The campaign plans to raise $613 million over the next five years to ensure student success in a changing world. This will come through investments in YU’s four areas of strategic focus: values and leadership, science and tech, entrepreneurship and innovation, great jobs and impactful careers. For more information on the Rise Up campaign, go to riseup.yu.edu.
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