Recorded sessions from NewCAJE8

NewCAJE is offering a select number of recorded sessions from the NewCAJE8 conference that you and your colleagues can view on your computer or mobile device. For a contribution of at least $18, you will gain access to 12 sessions conducted by experts in the field of Jewish education. 

Once you have made your contribution, details with respect to the recorded session will be emailed to you.

NewCAJE8 Recorded Sessions

To read the session description as well as a bio of the presenter, please click on the session’s name.

Is Haftara Half a Torah? with Everett Fox
The God Gap with Eliana Light
If Everyone Knows What it Means to be Good, Why is it so Hard to be Good? An Introduction to Mussar with Mindy Shapiro
Re-Imagining Hebrew Learning in ‘Hebrew School’ with Nicki Greninger  
Good Questions are the Answer: Lenses of Questioning with Batsheva Frankel
The Why, How and Challenges of Change: For Novice Directors with Nancy Parkes
The Invention of Jewish Childhood with Naomi Seidman
Hands, Hearts, Minds and Souls – An All-School Shavu’ot Program with Rain Zohav
Your Lay Leaders and Stakeholders to Become Your Champions with JoHanna Potts
10 Things that Go Wrong in the Classroom (& How to Fix Them) with Debi Mishael
Teaching Israel in the 21st Century with Amy Ripps
From ‘Oy’s to Joys: How to Bring Warmth and Community into Your Congregational School with Beata Abraham

NewCAJE8 – Recorded session descriptions and presenter bios

Is Haftara Half a Torah? with Everett Fox

For at least two thousand years, chanting a Haftara after the reading of the Torah has been a cherished Jewish tradition. But the passages chosen are often quite difficult poetry, not easy to enunciate or to understand, especially out of context as they are (just ask any Bar/Bat Mitzvah child). Who chose these passages and why? Do they send any kind of consistent message? And why are more than a quarter of them taken from the book of Isaiah?

Everett Fox is Allen M. Glick Professor of Judaic and Biblical Studies at Clark University. He is the translator of The Five Books of Moses and The Early Prophets, and has taught at most CAJE and NewCAJE conferences.

The God Gap with Eliana Light

The God Gap: the moment when the way you’ve been taught about God stops making sense. What can we do as educators to help bridge that Gap? In this session we’ll explore God talk, theological diversity, and other strategies to give our students the possibility of a dynamic and lasting Divine relationship (and why that should be a priority).

Eliana Light is an award-winning songwriter and educator who empowers people to make Judaism their own through song, experiential education, and prayer. She has put out two albums of original Jewish music, A New Light and Eliana Sings (About Jewish Things!). Her songs have been featured on PJ Library compilations and are used by educators, song-leaders, and clergy all over the country. Eliana has performed and taught throughout the United States, including at the Union for Reform Judaism Biennial, the NewCAJE Jewish Education Conference, Limmud New York, and the DeLeT Masters Program. She is the author of Hebrew in Harmony, a curriculum published by Behrman House that teaches prayer and Hebrew through music. Eliana received her Masters in Jewish Experiential Education from the Jewish Theological Seminary in 2016.

If Everyone Knows What it Means to be Good, Why is it so Hard to be Good? An Introduction to Mussar with Mindy Shapiro

Mussar is a Jewish spiritual practice that raises awareness of internal, historical, familial, and collective forces beyond our conscious knowledge which affect whether we act with gratitude and compassionate concern, and in accordance with our values. Through chevruta engagement with Mussar text, middot (moral virtues or character traits), study, and meditation, you will gain some self understanding with the goal of making you a more mindful person and professional. (There is a product associated with this workshop).

Mindy Shapiro, M.A, is a Jewish communal professional with over 30 years of experience. Mindy has been studying Mussar with Rabbi Ira Stone since 2003 and teaching since 2009 through the Philadelphia based Jewish Mussar Leadership Program. She is also the Mussar teacher for the Jewish Spiritual Education: Maggid-Educator distance-learning program. Mussar provides Mindy with a framework for leading a more mindful life, something she helps others to do. She also served as the founding director of Rosh Hodesh: It’s a Girl Thing!, a program of Moving Traditions. She has also worked for other Jewish organizations including Hillel of Greater Philadelphia, International Hillel and the Gershman Y. Mindy is a co-editor of New Mitzvah Stories for the Whole Family. She is also a papercut and Zentangle® artist and teacher.

Re-Imagining Hebrew Learning in ‘Hebrew School’ with Nicki Greninger  

In this workshop, we will explore the innovative, successful, nationally-recognized approach to Hebrew education at Temple Isaiah in Lafayette, CA. Rabbi Greninger will begin by describing the process of change (when and how the community developed their new model) and then engage participants in a conversation about the new program – including successes, challenges, ongoing changes, and ways to adapt this model in your own community. For more information about Temple Isaiah’s Hebrew program in  advance of the workshop, see http://www.temple-isaiah.org/education/jquest-hebrew/

Rabbi Nicki Greninger has served as Director of Education at Temple Isaiah in Lafayette, CA since 2008. She was ordained as a Rabbi from HUC-JIR, where she also earned a Masters of Arts in Religious Education. Rabbi Greninger is a recipient of the Covenant Foundation’s prestigious Pomegranate Prize and is the author of “Believing, Behaving, Belonging: Tefillah Education in the 21st Century” in the Journal of Jewish Education.

Good Questions are the Answer: Lenses of Questioning with Batsheva Frankel

In this age of instant information access and shallow sound bites, it is imperative that we don’t lose the skill of thoughtful critical inquiry, so imperative to every Judaic lesson or experience. The Lenses of Questioning method, which Batsheva originated and has taught world-wide, gives solid tools, and includes engaging and fun activities, to both model for and train students to ask and analyze strong questions, leading to deeper critical thinking skills and imaginative observations. (There is a product associated with this workshop).

Batsheva Frankel has been a Jewish Educator for over twenty years. In 2011, Batsheva began developing the contest winning LaunchBox. She is a Jewish educational consultant nationally and internationally as well as a teacher and Dean of Faculty at Arete Preparatory Academy. Batsheva’s book, The Jewish Educator’s Companion: Practical Tools and Inspirational Ideas, published by Behrman House is now available on Amazon.com.

The Why, How and Challenges of Change: For Novice Directors with Nancy Parkes

There has been much discussion about how to engage the 21st century Jewish learner and family. Today, many have come to realize that we can no longer use traditional teaching methods in traditional classroom settings. They understand that change is necessary because our definition of meaningful learning and how to achieve that has changed, the way people learn and gather information has changed, and because the way families express and live their Judaism has changed. So yes, things need to change. During this session we will delve a bit deeper into the why, how, and challenges of change.

Nancy Parkes served as the Director of Congregational Learning at Temple Israel Center for the past six years, and was part of the visionary process of Shorashim, TIC’s K-6 educational program and their high school program, Havurat Torah. Nancy is an advocate for Jewish education in the synagogue setting, and is currently in the Executive Doctoral program at JTS.

The Invention of Jewish Childhood with Naomi Seidman

The French historian of childhood, Philllipe Aries, famously suggested in 1960 that childhood and (even more so) adolescence were a modern invention in their basic contours and underlying assumptions. Jewish childhood, of course, is also a social construction, differing in different eras and contexts. This lecture will explore one dimension of this phenomenon, the invention of Jewish adolescence as a distinct life stage in the early twentieth century, with new patterns of secularization, marriage practices, education, and employment. We will focus on the work of Max Weinreich, who spent a decade researching Polish Jewish teenagers through the YIVO Youth Research Program, a program that relied heavily on hundreds of youth autobiographies collected through contests for that purpose.

Naomi Sheindel Seidman has been Koret Professor of Jewish culture at the Graduate Theological Union since 1995 when she received her PhD from UC Berkeley. Her scholarship focuses on contemporary Jewish thought, gender and sexuality, and modern Jewish literature and literary theory. She is the author of Faithful Renderings: Jewish-Christian Difference and the Politics of Translation (2006) and A Marriage Made in Heaven: The Sexual Politics of Hebrew and Yiddish (1997).

Hands, Hearts, Minds and Souls – An All-School Shavu’ot Program with Rain Zohav

As you move through a choice of stations, you will be engaged in experiencing the idea of “Matan Torah,” the giving of Torah at Shavu’ot, as well as experiencing Shavu’ot as one of the pilgrimage festivals of ancient Israel. This workshop is designed for education directors and teachers of grades K-8. Stations include experiences with hands-on tzedakah projects, age-appropriate art projects, in-depth discussion, text study focused on the Ten Commandments, stories, customs from around the world, and more! You will come away with many ideas for your individual classroom, and learn how to organize an all-school event.

Rabbi Rain Zohav has twenty years of experience directing a variety of religious schools, creating curriculum and programming, plus ten years of experience teaching in religious schools. She is Co-Director of Educating for Spirituality, a training program for religious educators of all faiths to deepen the spiritual content of their teaching. She was ordained as a Rabbi in 2015 by ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal. She currently serves Rabbi to the Interfaith Families Project of Greater Washington DC,

Your Lay Leaders and Stakeholders to Become Your Champions with JoHanna Potts

One of the essential balancing acts for Education Directors is supporting the lay leadership of the school/congregation while relying on their support for access to resources. It is critical to understand their unstated priorities, the institutional culture, and their decision making style in order to have a successful working relationship. Where do other senior staff fit into this complex system of relationships? How do you educate them about the issues? How can you identify the best people for your lay leadership? And how do you get them to step up? This session will focus on understanding and developing your system of relationships.

JoHanna Potts’ professional passion is to bring en-joy-ment to Jewish learning. She has 30 years of experience leading education organizations from early childhood through university, communal and national. She co-chaired CAJE at Duke University. She holds an A.B. from Washington University in St. Louis, an MAEd from the George Washington University, graduate study in Organization Development, certification in mediation and rabbinic ordination.

10 Things that Go Wrong in the Classroom (& How to Fix Them) with Debi Mishael

Do you really know what’s happening in the classrooms in your school? Houston’s “Morim L’Chayim Mentor Network” pairs seasoned retired teachers like Debi with Religious Schools in the area. Mentors observe teachers and work with them to strengthen their skills. In this workshop Debi will share some of the common mistakes teachers make, and ways to help teachers improve their teaching skills. She will explain the Morim L’chayim program, which can be replicated in your home community. This class is for school directors and teachers alike.

Debi earned her Master’s Degree in Education from the University of Judaism (now American Jewish University) and has been teaching for over 36 years. Among Debi’s many talents is her ability to create interactive, engaging lessons that offer dynamic leaning environments for all ages. She is currently a Morim L’Chayim Mentor Teacher for the Houston Jewish Federation. Debi is also the proprietor of All Yadayim, an enterprise devoted to trading her artistic talents for community tzedakah needs.

Teaching Israel in the 21st Century with Amy Ripps

How do we teach about the relationship between American Jews and Israel? Should we teach the complexities of the relationship? How do we teach our students to have a personal relationship with Israel? Come and let’s talk about this and more. I will prepare handouts with resources and approaches for all to take home.

Amy is the Director of Congregational Learning at Beth Meyer Synagogue in Raleigh, NC. Prior to relocating to North Carolina 25 years ago, Amy was based in the Washington, D.C., area where she held a number of education and youth-related positions at both the Reform and Conservative congregations. She chaired CAJE 31 at Duke University and has presented at numerous conferences. She currently chairs the program committee for NewCAJE.

From ‘Oy’s to Joys’: How to Bring Warmth and Community into Your Congregational School with Beata Abraham

This class is for the Educator, and Director, new or experienced. In spite of excellent curriculum and skilled educators, a learning experience is incomplete without the feeling of warmth and community that many parents seek for their children and family in a congregational school. Learn how to balance learning with community building, how to encourage life-long friendships that begin in the classroom, and create the warm Jewish atmosphere in your school that compels students and families to call it home. Learn the skills to nurturing your students’ brain and soul simultaneously. Creating community is in your hands.

Beata Abraham is an experienced Jewish educator who has taught both in the classroom who currently serves in the position of Director of Education. She is passionate about combing quality Jewish education with the warmth of a Jewish community in congregational schools.