Diller Education Award Enables Kenny Kahn to Hone Professional Skills

Kenny Kahn, Director of Be’chol Lashon Summer Camp, received the Diller Education Award 2013 in the category of informal education, with a personal cash award of $10,000 and $2,500 for Be’chol LashonThis post is the third in a series about Helen Diller Family Awards for Excellence in Jewish Education. This post is the third in a series on the Helen Diller Family Awards for Excellence in Jewish Education.

Winning the Helen Diller Award for Excellence in Jewish Education was an honor unlike any other I’ve experienced. I wear many hats – teacher, football coach, dean of students, and camp director – and the award allowed me to hone my skills as a Jewish professional. It afforded me the time to focus on my development as a camp director. I’ve used the award for professional development, including seminars, conventions and events that have significantly impacted my ability to provide a successful camp experience and to educate others about Be’chol Lashon’s mission.

I have been affiliated with Be’chol Lashon since its founding and it has been my consistent foundation as a bi-racial Jew. My colleagues have always been there to facilitate my growth as a professional educator and have given me the platform to be a role model to young Jews seeking community and developing their multiple identities.
But I know that staff is important in creating the camp experience and recruiting new campers for whom the camp’s mission resonates; so, one of my first orders of business after receiving the award was to thank my colleagues by purchasing them camp uniforms that they would be proud to wear.

I’m also grateful to Be’chol Lashon’s founder and director, Diane Tobin, for her vision and important role in strengthening Jewish identity through camp; to Sarah Spencer, my co-director and past Helen Diller Education Award winner, who mentored me during my journey from a teen to a burgeoning Jewish professional; and, to Rabbi Ruth Abusch-Magder, resident rabbi and coordinator of Be’chol Lashon’s new blog ‘Babel-On,’ who reminds me through text study of what needs to be done to achieve tikkun olam. These experiences inspired me to work with those who need it most – our children and future Jewish leaders.

If you know an outstanding educator you would like to nominate for the 2014 Helen Diller Family Awards for Excellence in Jewish Education, nominate online today. Nominations for this year’s awards close March 7.

For further information or questions about the Helen Diller Family Awards for Excellence in Jewish Education, please contact Galya Segal or call 415.512.6242.
Be’chol Lashon is part of the Federation’s Bay Area Initiatives Fund. The Affordability Project provides more than $1 million in need-based scholarships to children and teens for meaningful Jewish experiences, including Jewish preschool, day school, summer camp and teen Israel trips.

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