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Our Congregations Are Starting to Listen to Us, Early Childhood Educators

Our Congregations Are Starting to Listen to Us, Early Childhood Educators
26 Oct 2020 by Fern Katz

Dear Friends,

We are being heard and we are having an impact!

ECE-RJ members are making a difference.  Lisa Samick, First Vice President of ECE-RJ, and I were honored to participate in the planning and implementation of the URJ webinar “Navigating the Unknown: How Congregations with Early Childhood Centers Must Collaborate for a Sustainable Future.” 

The webinar was attended by about 400 lay and professional leaders that included senior rabbis, executive directors, board presidents, and many of our ECE-RJ Director members.

 If you participated, I hope you will agree with me that it was meaningful and just might make a difference for some of our centers and for our field.

In small groups and with guests from across the Reform movement, many challenges of early childhood Jewish education were discussed including budget impact, the additional requirements of operating an in-person center in the midst of a global pandemic, and the time and emotional strain we and our teachers face every single day. It was a thought provoking 90 minutes, very well spent.

The highlights for me were when Rabbi Rick Jacobs spoke about our centers and programs as the “beating heart” of the congregation and Rabbi David Stern, immediate past president of CCAR, spoke about how we are all responsible for “all of it,” meaning all leadership is responsible for the budget and the needs and value of early childhood Jewish education.

 The outcome of the webinar was the creation of an accelerated network supported and facilitated by the URJ. It is my hope that many ECE-RJ members and their congregational leadership teams will participate in this network and work together towards finding solutions for shared problems and concerns related to the current challenges facing our field.

I really believe we were heard, and our work is valued. Become involved in ECE-RJ and help us keep it going!