Pirkei Avot
About JIYF
The Jewish Institute for Youth and Family, Inc.
is a non-profit [(501)(c)(3)] organization whose mission to develop programs and materials teaching Jewish values to youth and families.

What distinguishes JIYF from other Jewish educational organizations?

JIYF is devoted specifically to developing programs for families with children at the crucial stage of adolescence and young adulthood, when youths form their adult identities.

JIYF is unique because it creatively synthesizes timeless ethical values of Judaism and the best of insights from modern psychology.

Today’s Jewish family is struggling to maintain a sense of stability in a society that has been dramatically changed by the social upheavals of the twentieth century. The traditional relationships between husband and wife, parents and children need to be re-negotiated to reflect today’s complex new realities. Until now, this important work has been left to the field of psychology, which has neglected the ethical principles that are at the heart of good relationships. Our programs teach how Jewish ethical behavior, supported by ritual practice, can make family life happier and more fulfilling.

American Jewry is now facing a continuity crisis because the modern Jewish family sees no relationship between the Jewish religion as it is being taught in the classroom, and the personal challenges of modern life. Since parents and children see little personal benefit from what is taught in the religious school, they feel little loyalty to Judaism. Only when they see Judaism as a way of life that makes for their salvation—for a more meaningful, fulfilling, and joyful family and work life—will this indifference be replaced by a deep commitment. JIYF fills the gap in the curriculum by teaching families how to creatively apply Jewish ethics to their personal lives, and by living Jewish values to make their lives more fulfilling and meaningful.

We also adhere to proven models for effective teaching and successful professional collaboration. We design our programs as lively, experiential learning activities, not as text book and chalk talk exercises. We work with rabbis and Jewish educators on a basis of regular feedback and continuous improvement of quality. JIYF will continue to collaborate with experts in both psychology and Jewish ethics as we expand to train professionals to use our programs and materials nationwide .

Yes, we need additional funding to carry out our work effectively, and we welcome your contributions!
For more information on our programs and how you can help in this important effort, e-mail us at JIYF@Mentsh.com


Executive Director:
William Berkson, Ph.D.
Philosopher, author of ‘Jewish Family Values Today’ and two books on problem- solving.

Educational Consultant:
Sarah L. Dekelbaum, M.A.
Associate Principal, Washington Hebrew Congregation.

Rabbi Cherie Koller Fox
Harold Gluskoter, Ph.D.
Sarah Dekelbaum, M.A.
William Berkson, Ph.D.