Why be part of NewCAJE?

The NewCAJE experience is life-changing for so many who attend our summer conference and attend our year round programs. I don’t know if it is life-changing to everyone for the same reasons—you’ll have to come and experience it for yourself.

I can tell you what we have heard from people over the years about why NewCAJE is such a powerful experience.  So in no particular order, here are some of the things that happen at NewCAJE.

NewCAJE creates a field of Jewish education. Because it is pluralistic, people come to it from all the denominations, workplaces and job descriptions in Jewish education. It is wonderful to learn that despite our differences, we all share the same  dedication to our work and that we struggle with many of the same issues. Having a field means you are not just a person working in one classroom in one school, but part of something bigger and important that happens across North America and the world.

If you know someone, or are someone, considering a career in Jewish education, this is the place to come. You will meet such amazing people that you will be inspired to work in Jewish education.

It is also a place where you can become known for your work if that is a goal of yours. You can become an expert that is nationally known in the area of your expertise. And if you have a really good idea, people at NewCAJE will learn from you and that idea will spread all over the nation and beyond. You can teach about it; you can write about it in our journal Jewish Educator or you can talk about it to a new friend you met over lunch or in a session.

Speaking of friends, NewCAJE is the place to make life-long friends who are also colleagues. They will be there to share your excitement about something you are doing during the year and they will be there when you have a problem or an issue you can’t solve alone. As someone said, NewCAJE is the place you will find “your people”—people who have the same dedication that you have to Jewish education.

Most people come for the professional development opportunities and they do not disappoint. The sessions are uniformly excellent and helpful.  There is a wide range of topics that are offered at every hour and there is always something that interests you. We are there to teach each other and we are there to learn from each other. You will improve your skills and you can even earn a certificate saying that you did. You will dive into new areas and take these home to your schools and classrooms. Our NewCAJE guarantee is that you will leave refreshed and re”jew”venated and ready to be excited about a new school year.

Each year, we gather and talk about the big issues facing Jewish education and the Jewish world. During the pandemic, we taught people how to teach effectively online. This year, we will discuss how to teach about  Israel and antisemitism in our schools. Classes on these issues will continue online during the school year as well as other topics that you want to learn more about.

NewCAJE gives us the opportunity to expand our idea of Jewish education to include Jewish culture. Learn how to incorporate the arts in your school from the very best musicians, storytellers and visual artists in the country. See what vendors are offering you in terms of new books and teaching materials and curricula that are available to take home with you.

At the conference, take some time to deepen your learning by studying with great teachers of Torah, Jewish history and liturgy—to name a few. And don’t miss spending Shabbat with a community that knows how to create a deeply inspiring Shabbat experience through learning and praying and singing and joy.

If this all resonates with you, please find a way to come to a NewCAJE conference. We move from coast to coast and sometimes in between each year. Ask your employer for money to attend the conference because that is a great way to improve your school. Bring a group of teachers with you if you are the educational director. You cannot replicate the professional development we offer by bringing in one speaker to your community. Here your teachers will find what they each need instead of one person for all of their needs.

We offer Scholarships and travel subsides for those who need them. We also offer guidance and support for your raising local monies to be able to attend.

Maybe every year, but certainly this year, with all that the Jewish community has been through in Israel and the Diaspora you need to be with colleagues to process all that has happened and prepare yourself to help others understand. You need the rejuvenation we spoke about earlier.

You need NewCAJE and we need you. Please volunteer to help and especially to teach. Be a part of the national leadership of Jewish education or just be the best you can be in your own home town.

NewCAJE is life-changing. Come and see for yourself.