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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