Date of Award

Spring 4-6-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

PHD - Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Stephen Gould

Second Advisor

Rabbi Dr. Michael Shire

Third Advisor

Dr. Susan Rauchwerk


The purpose of this study was to better understand how Jewish school leaders in Toronto understand non-Orthodox Jewish day school financial sustainability. A review of literature included: (a) a multidisciplinary understanding of “sustainability”, (b) a history of Jewish education in North America, (c) challenges and potential solutions to financial sustainability of Jewish day schools in North America, and (d) the evolution of the school leader and its impact on financial sustainability. This multi-site case study used a questionnaire, completed by 23 school leaders, and one-on-one interviews with all eight heads of school of the non-Orthodox Jewish day schools in Toronto to collect data. Both data collection instruments addressed the guiding research questions: (a) To what degree do Jewish day school leaders believe addressing sustainability to be a leadership priority? (b) What are the various approaches to addressing sustainability reported by Jewish day school leaders? (c) What do leaders of Jewish day schools believe to be the factors and conditions that increase and inhibit their capacity to focus on school sustainability? The study included the following findings: (1) Financial stability is one of the most important issues for leaders in non-Orthodox Jewish day schools, but they are unable to focus on sustainability to the degree necessary due to their many other responsibilities; (2) The majority of non-Orthodox Jewish day school leaders do not believe they have achieved long-term financial sustainability, or will do so in the near future; (3) Known financial sustainability strategies were not being utilized to the degree desired by school leaders. The endowment strategy was identified as the most underutilized strategy; (4) A collaborative approach between schools to address the problem of financial sustainability is not currently being applied; (5) School leaders identified criteria to assess the impact of financial sustainability strategies; (6) Lack of overall available time, most notably efforts on enrollment, prevent leaders from focusing more on financial sustainability; (7) The use of financial sustainability practices are contingent on the manner in which leaders choose to spend their time and other resources.

These findings led to eight recommendations for Jewish day school leaders to help support the financial sustainability of their institutions. Future research was also suggested.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.






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