The Prizmah Conference is taking place March 10-12 in Atlanta, GA. It brings together Jewish day school leaders, lay leaders, and communal professionals from across the North American day school landscape to learn from one another and be inspired to dream together. The first day’s full-conference experiences included an opening by George Couros on the Innovator’s Mindset and a dinner featuring an ELI Talks StorySlam with five presenters sharing stories about their dreams for Jewish education. In between, a plethora of sessions (among them quite a few by AVI CHAI grantees) further shed light on the theme of dreams. Here are just a few examples of dreams witnessed at Prizmah 2019:
- Jewish day school leaders will be the change we want to see in the world.
DSLTI alumni spoke at “Big Jewish Questions on Our Minds” on how to reimagine critical areas of day school leadership work ranging from inclusion of diverse learners to the changing demographics in the Jewish community. Many important ideas were shared about change, such as, “People want change, but they do not want to change” and the idea of looking internally at ourselves before we go out and change the world. The leaders who spoke – Andrea Cheatharn Kasper, Lianne Heller, Rabbi Ari Leubitz, Benjamin Mann, and Rabbi Harry Pell – and all the others engaged in this important work are an inspiration in not only what they do, but also who they are as leaders and how they are moving and will continue to move the field forward.
- Children will construct Jewish meaning through exploration in a Jewish environment that stimulates and challenges.
Rabbi Sheryl Katzman together with Carol Green and Laura Weisblatt shared about work conducted through the Legacy Heritage Instructional Leadership Institute Early Childhood Rabbinics Initiative, “Developing Text Aligned Learning Experiences for Young Children.” The conversation included the importance of giving early childhood teachers authentic foundational learning around Jewish texts so they can understand how to prepare the environment for students where Jewish meaning will flourish.
- Courageous school leaders will have a clear vision of their schools’ Hebrew language goals and align their teaching to those goals.
This dream was expressed in “Why Hebrew? Which Hebrew?” with Ofer Salman Sagi and Dr. Esty Gross, about how to “definite and refine your vision for Hebrew language instruction and set realistic and attainable goals.” Data is important to inform steps to realize that vision.
- Schools will collaborate to shift paradigms and personalize learning in the classroom.
Craig Carpentieri, Rabbi Avi Bossewitch, and Jodi Bruce presented on JBlend Miami, an initiative of CAJE-Miami in partnership with the DigitalJLearning Network of The Jewish Education Project that allows schools to collaborate to bring about sustainable, learning-driven change.
What dreams will you dream today?