Organised by Reform Judaism’s Community Educator Rabbi Debbie Young-Somers and Liberal Judaism’s Rabbi Sandra Kviat, the day featured presenters from both movements and the College, as well as from the National Library of Israel, the Israel Movement for Reform & Progressive Judaism (IMPJ), Jewish Interactive and Camp Simcha.
The wide range of topics covered included technology, inclusiveness, Hebrew, positive behaviour management, crafts, Israel and curriculum development.
Karen Ettinger of the National Library of Israel opened the day with a keynote address on ‘Teaching Israel at 70’.
Reut Noyman – Director of Jewish Peoplehood Education Center (Yachdav) and Director of Israel and Overseas at the Education Department at the IMPJ – ran a special session for heads, detailing resources ranging from one-time programmes around the Holocaust and memory to year-long curriculum linking classes in the UK with a classroom in Israel. This is the first time these programmes have been offered in Britain.
There was also a ‘shuk’ with book and creative materials to help educators and a “delicious” lunch that won much praise from delegates.
Rabbi Debbie Young-Somers said: “It was wonderful to be able to gather together 150 of our educators and assistants to invest in them when they invest so much in the future of our communities.
“We were overwhelmed by the numbers wanting to attend and are already looking for a bigger venue for next year!”
Participant Gwendolen Burton, head of Southgate Progressive Synagogue’s religion school, added: “It was fantastic to see my staff engaged in the sessions, and enjoying the day spent together with teachers from across Progressive Judaism.”