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Twelve Exciting Months, Many Things Accomplished

Twelve Exciting Months, Many Things Accomplished
02 Mar 2019 by Lori Kowit

Twelve Exciting Months, Many Things Accomplished

Dear Friends, 

What an exciting journey we have been on this year since our adventure to Israel in February 2018.

North American Board Meetings
In early June 2018, Tricia Ginis (Executive Director) and I attend the URJ North American Board meeting in Austin, TX. We were witness to the URJ becoming the first religious organization to formally adopt the Jerusalem Program, the official policy platform of the World Zionist Congress Adopting the platform serves to identify the Reform Movement formally and explicitly as a Zionist movement. 

URJ – ECE-RJ Collaboration
 In December, Tricia and I attended the meeting in Arizona. We were proud to collaborate with the Families with Young Children  North American Board r epresentatives (and friends), Judi Goozh and Connell Saltzman, to present on the amazing work that the FWYC team is doing and to share the sacred partnership between their team and ECE-RJ. Tricia and I spoke about the benefits of ECE-RJ membership, including the Sparks of Judaism class that Nancy Bossov is leading for our members. Tricia also shared information about the consulting work she does with congregations (including job placement and visioning work) and our members (including contract negotiations). 

Board Installation and Focus Groups
Later in June, the ECE-RJ Board gathered in Cleveland. In front of my congregation, clergy, family, co-workers and friends I was installed as president of the ECE-RJ. During the board meeting, we conducted our first member focus group with four directors and six teachers from the Cleveland area.  We hosted the second focus group with three directors from the Phoenix area. These focus groups have been a wonderful opportunity to get to know our members more intimately. 

Rabbi Aaron Panken Memorial Scholarship
We created The Early Childhood Educators of Reform Judaism Rabbi Aaron Panken Memorial Scholarship. Mary Passel and Susie Wexler are the first two recipients of the scholarship.  Both are pursuing Executive Master’s Degree from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.

URJ Pay Equity Committee
Jennie Rubin, Immediate Past President, represented ECE-RJ on the URJ’s Pay Equity Committee, to look into gender pay gap issues. Since 99.9 percent of early childhood education (ECE) professionals are women, there were no data to review. However, they did find a great disparity in how ECE professionals are compensated. In response, ECE-RJ will now post salary ranges, when communicating about salary. 

New ECE-RJ Board Members
Jennie Rubin served as the chairperson for this year’s ECE-RJ Nominating Committee. The other committee members were Jill Cimafonte, Amy Damast and Carol Paster. Together, they diligently interviewed candidates and created a slate  of  Susie Weiner, Michigan (VP Administration) and Pam Ranta, California (VP Finance).


The Woman of Valor and The March Newman Shomrei Awards
 This year, we awarded the following awards to deserving members of ECE-RJ.

The Woman of Valor award to Carol Paster
“As a Founding Member, your continuous dedication and assistance has guided our organization in many ways by serving on several Nominating Committees, documenting through photography  our journeys and time together, and providing creative professional development and support to our members”. 

The Marc Newman Shomrei Or award to Louise Van Schaack
 “For all of the hard work and dedication that you give to the organization, chairing the committee that did extensive and important work on the by-laws and volunteering for many committees and willing to help wherever needed."

As you can see, we have been working hard, and we are looking forward to 2019 and all of the exciting agenda in front of us.