“Educate a child according to his ways…”( Proverbs 22:6), a paradigm of Jewish thought and the main principle with which Chabad Lubavitch educators have approached their students for decades. Now, Merkos Linyonei Chinuch, the Lubavitch educational division, has brought new meaning to this age-old adage, with their latest project, the Merkos Linyonei Chinuch International Board of License, MLCIBL, for teachers and principals.
A new project by the Chabad Education Office, or the “Chinuch Office” as it is widely known, fills a gap that promises to make a difference for the teachers and institutions in the Chabad educational network. Chabad educators are experienced, professional, and have undergone years of rigorous Judaic study, but have no formal certification to verify their qualified resume. Enter Rabbi Nochum Kaplan, director of the Merkos Linyonei Chinuch Education Office and the brain child for their many innovative projects. Realizing that Chabad educators with proper certification could advance themselves professionally, Kaplan teamed up with Nova Southeastern University. Together they created a cooperative graduate program that would work hand-in-hand with Kaplan’s teachers’ licensing program. The system is two fold: teacher or principals need to meet specific requirements which take into account academic credits, professional teaching, professional growth and in-service experience. Depending on the individual teachers portfolio they will then receive licensing that is the equivalent of an associates or bachelors degree from MLCIBL. Step two: Nova Southeastern University recognizes MLCIBL’s bachelor degree-level licensing and will enroll the participant into any master’s degree program offered by the university.
“Additionally, Nova Southeastern University is working toward developing a special course within its Fishler Graduate School of Education, which hopes to deal with the special concerns Jewish day school educators have,” says Kaplan. “As MA graduates of this program, Chabad educators will be better prepared to meet to meet many of the needs particular to Chabad schools in a much more professional way.”
The Education Office was founded to fill the need for a central office to coordinate Chabad educational institutions. The office now represents more than 300 institutions, services over 1,200 educators, and the thousands of children who benefit from its programs and services. Its many departments and projects are a tribute to Rabbi Yosef Y. Schneersohn, the sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe, who upon his arrival to the United States in 1940, worked tirelessly to create Jewish parochial education in the “new country.” By the end of the 50’s many day schools had opened in the U.S. by the efforts of Rabbi Schneerson and his son-in-law and successor, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson. In the following decades, Chabad communities grew steadily, and a need for a “uniquely Chabad educational process” spurred the founding of Chabad day schools across the globe. The Chinuch Office offers a centralized place addressing the interests and objectives unique to Chabad institutions.
“Our purpose is to improve the quality of Chabad education and we do it from many angles,” says Kaplan.