On Sunday, Aug. 11, 34 Jewish educators and directors from the religious schools of Congregation Anshei Israel, Congregation Chaverim, Congregation Or Chadash and Tucson Hebrew High boarded a chartered bus for the Ina Levine Jewish Community Campus in Scottsdale to join educators from around the state for the first All-Arizona Back-to-School Conference for Jewish Educators.
The conference included a keynote address by Roberta Seid, Ph.D., of Stand With Us, an international Israel education and advocacy organization, along with breakout sessions on topics ranging from special needs inclusion to “The Language of Prayer” and “Bibliodrama.” Two sessions, “Creative Classroom Techniques” and a workshop for new teachers in classroom organization were taught by Tucson’s Cantor Janece Cohen of Congregation Or Chadash and Jason Moore of Congregation Chaverim, respectively. Tucsonans Richard Solomon, Ph.D., and Elaine Solomon, nationally recognized education experts, presented a double session on “Creating a Teacher-Friendly Online Community of Practice.”
Each Arizona community usually offers an annual back-to-school conference for its Judaic educators. This year, Sharon Glassberg, director of the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona’s Coalition for Jewish Education and Rina Liebeskind, education director at Congregation Or Chadash and chairperson of the Tucson Council of Jewish Education Directors, realized a partnership could engage a wider audience while attracting nationally recognized leaders in the field of Jewish education. The CJE and CEDS partnered with the Bureau of Jewish Education of Greater Phoenix on the conference.
Attendees benefited from the opportunity to network with colleagues from around the state and learn ways to infuse their programs with creativity and innovative learning strategies, says Glassberg.