Jewish Educators’ Conference
“Perspectives in Contemporary Jewish Education”
Preparations Underway for ZFA Jewish Educators’ Conference
Scion of a family of scholars, Rav Lau, nephew of Israel’s former Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, will also present several workshop sessions at the conference and will address the AGM of the Association of Principals of Jewish Day Schools, to be held during the course of the conference.
A host of local presenters from Victoria and interstate, together with leading overseas Jewish educators from Israel and South Africa, will offer individual workshop sessions to an estimated 340 educators during the two-day conference. Participants will include teachers, department heads and principals from Australia’s Jewish day schools and other Jewish educational institutions, as well as community and youth leaders.
Haim Aronovitz, South African-born educational director of the Senior Educators’ Program at the Melton Centre for Jewish Education at the Hebrew University and director of Israel Seminars of the Florence Melton Adult Mini-School Institute will also attend the conference as a guest of the ZFA, and will present a keynote address.
The other keynote address will be delivered by Mount Scopus Memorial College Principal Rabbi James Kennard.
Presentations at the conference, the theme of which is “Perspectives in Contemporary Jewish Education,” will include the use of technology in the teaching of Hebrew and Jewish Studies, Israel education, Jewish History, Israel advocacy and culture, sacred texts, early childhood education, midrash and halachah, informal Jewish education and a host of other areas relevant to Jewish teaching.
The conference will also provide a smorgasbord for Hebrew teachers, as well as for teachers who integrate the teaching of Hebrew with Jewish Studies. The Israel-based progenitors of the Ulpan-Or program will be attending the conference, while local specialists will present sessions on the TaLAM and Neta programs. The ZFA has invited seasoned early childhood educator Margalit Kavenstock, Israeli educator currently conducting teacher training programs in Mexico, to run sessions on the Chalav u’Dvash and Chaverim B’Ivrit programs, and on early childhood education.
“Almost 9,000 students are currently enrolled in Australia’s Jewish day schools, and several thousand others enjoy supplemental Jewish education”, said Michael Cohen, who is the educational coordinator of the conference. “Given the size of the Jewish community in this country, these numbers are exceptional”, he said, adding that the ZFA biennial conferences afford wonderful opportunities for enriched professional learning – for teachers to learn from each other, and to network.
“Teachers are aware that the ZFA’s primary focus at these conferences is on teaching and learning”, said Cohen. “These are not conferences at which academics are afforded the opportunity to present research papers. The stress is on pedagogy – teaching practice – in both formal and informal educational settings. And our children are the beneficiaries.”
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Media Release 12 January 2012
Nearly a year after stepping foot in Australia knowing nobody else and having nothing besides the clothes on his back(pack), American and former Australian Jewish News staffer Joshua Cole has found his permanent place in the Australian Jewish community: Josh is the new Communications/Events Director for the Zionist Federation of Australia.
“We’re excited to have him because he comes with the broad skills to perform in both functions – not to mention he has so much energy, optimism and knowledge of the Australian Jewish community based on his participation meeting people in the Jewish community over the last year and on his work at the Jewish News,” said ZFA Executive Director Ginette Searle. “We anticipate much success from Josh as he takes on this exciting and challenging role.”
In the joint role of communications and events, Josh will increase awareness for ZFA, the national umbrella organisation for Australian Zionist organisations and affiliates, critically enhancing and developing the online presence and use of social media. In addition, he will manage a range of events and activities, including, in 2012 the biennial Educator’s Conference, a two-day affair scheduled for August with international and national experts for more than 300 educators from across Australia and New Zealand.
Josh arrived in Perth in February 2011, and he was hired as a part-time video editor by the Australian Jewish News in May. In addition to filming and editing videos that were posted on the AJN website, Josh also taught basic video interview skills to all Melbourne-based Grade 3 Jewish day school students who went on excursion to the AJN offices.
“Americans don’t travel, and even though I was living out of a backpack for a couple of months I didn’t feel like a traditional ‘backpacker’,” Josh said. “When I worked for the Jewish News, I was so fortunate for the opportunity to be part of the community, to learn new skills and to be part of a wonderful staff. I’m thrilled to be able to have the same sort of opportunity at the ZFA of being part of a great staff and community and being in a creative role.”
Josh comes from Denver, Colorado, although, “I was a fat little kid, so I didn’t ski,” he said. “I’m athletic now, but I’m here now, next to the water instead of the mountains.” After graduating from Northwestern University, in Chicago, with his Bachelor’s in journalism, Josh studied for his secondary teaching license, including spending four months in Ramla, Israel, but he left the education field to work in journalism full-time, as a community reporter and photographer. He completed his Master’s in English in December 2010 and two months later came to Australia.
Joshua Cole, Communicatons/Events Director – 03 9272 5618 / 0405 075 856, email@example.com
Ginette Searle, Executive Director – 03 9272 5517 / 0412 251 343