Three Bay Area educators honored with award

Thursday, November 15, 2012 | by

Three Jewish educators in the Bay Area were among the five people from across the nation awarded the Covenant Foundation’s Pomegranate Prize for 2012.

Maya Bernstein
Maya Bernstein
The winners of the award — which recognizes exceptional, emerging professionals in Jewish education — were honored at the General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America, held Nov. 11-13 in Baltimore.

Maya Bernstein was one of the three. She is a strategic design officer at UpStart Bay Area, helping the S.F.-based agency support up-and-coming Jewish entrepreneurs. Her writings on philanthropy and education have appeared in the New York Jewish Week, the Huffington Post, Zeek and elsewhere. She has taught in Belarus, Germany, China and Israel, and holds a bachelor’s degree in Russian language and literature from Columbia and a master’s in education from Harvard.

Rabbi Nicki Greninger
Rabbi Nicki Greninger
Another local winner was Rabbi Nicki Greninger, director of education at Lafayette’s Temple Isaiah. She was ordained as a rabbi and earned her master’s in religious education from Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion after graduating Phi Beta Kappa from Dartmouth. She is the author of “Believing, Behaving, Belonging: Tefillah Education in the 21st Century,” which appeared in the Journal of Jewish Education in 2010.

Sarah Lefton, the founding executive director at G-dcast, also won the award. G-dcast aims to advance Jewish literacy through short animated films and other media, and the S.F.-based nonprofit now also creates professional development materials for educators and offers programming for young Jewish artists.

Sarah Lefton
Sarah Lefton
The Pomegranate Prize, established in 2011, is separate from the Covenant Award, which honors three veteran educators a year. The Pomegranate Prize goes to leaders who have been in the field for 10 years or less.

This year’s other two winners were Rabbi Barry Kislowicz, head of school at an Orthodox day school in Ohio, and Rabbi Eliav Bock, founding director of a Jewish camp in Colorado called Ramah Outdoor Adventure.