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Got day school?

Federation launches marketing effort for nine area Jewish schools

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Got milk?

That famous advertising campaign has been credited with raising milk consumption in California.

Now, area day schools are taking a page from the playbook of the California Milk Processor Board, which launched the Got Milk campaign. They are banding together to promote the idea of Jewish day school education.

And just as the California Milk Processor Board brings together competing dairies, and looks to the California Department of Food and Agriculture to administer the program, nine cooperating Jewish day schools have looked to the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey to administer their campaign.

The campaign launches with the September issue of 201 magazine.

“You see students with Israeli flags,” reads the ad. “We see future champions of Israel on college campuses.”

The ad is part of “a multichannel campaign to communicate the important achievements of the schools and their contribution to Jewish life,” said Linda Scherzer of Old Tappan, who is running the campaign for the federation.

The impetus for the campaign comes from the day schools. After first banding together a few years ago to raise money under the NJGives banner, their cooperation migrated to regular meetings of principals and school presidents convened by the federation.

Last year, the federation provided the schools with training to help raise money through bequests.

This new effort was launched in April. It reflects a joint decision by the schools to redirect the funding the federation had been given the schools on a per-student basis to this project.

“We can accomplish more together by pooling our resources for a common goal,” explained Rabbi Jonathan Knapp, head of school of the Yavneh Academy in Paramus.

“Through this project, we hope to raise awareness across the broader community about the benefits of a stellar dual curricular Jewish education,” he said.

“We’re trying to educate different audiences within our community about the value of a Jewish education and the importance of investing in these schools,” Ms. Scherzer said. “These are the schools that produce leaders.”

In addition to the advertising campaign, planned marketing efforts include a short video, a website, and parlor meetings to take the case for day schools directly to community leaders.

“We’re trying to reach influencers within our community, people on the board of the federation, the Rockleigh Home, the JCC – people who don’t send their children to the Jewish day schools, who are not normally tuned in to the value these schools provide,” Ms. Scherzer said.

That’s the first target audience.

The second are former day school parents and current day school grandparents.

“They understand the value and importance of the schools,” she said. “We’re seeking to remind them of the importance of putting their dollars into the schools.”

Finally, there are “parents of kids who are not in the day school system yet, who might consider sending their kids there if they understand the value they provide.”

Ms. Scherzer describes herself as a Hebrew school dropout. But living in Israel for eight years – she was a CNN correspondent there – gave her a strong connection to Israel. To pass that on to her children, and to teach them Jewish values, she sends them to the Solomon Schechter Day School of Bergen County in New Milford.

“I really feel a strong investment in this effort,” she said.

“It’s crucial for the leaders in our community to understand the value these schools bring to the Jewish community,” particularly their role in creating leaders for the next generation.

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