Skip to Main Content


  • 17 Jun 2021 by Tricia Ginis

    In 2005, I was teaching second and third grade when I read in the local Jewish News that Temple Solel of Paradise Valley was hiring a new Director. My effort to convince a friend to apply backfired. Instead of her, it was me who applied, and was hired.  At the time I thought it was a ridiculous decision, leaving my teaching position with set hours, many breaks, and a fantastic schedule.

    Being a teacher was reliable and worked well with my family life. I could be there for my kids when they needed me (they were going to the school where I was teaching). While the pay wasn’t great, the benefits outweighed most alternatives.

    Although it was one of the best decisions I ever made, I realized quickly I had a lot to learn. Fortunately, I became involved with ECE-RJ. While ECE-RJ connected me with other Early Childhood Directors on a national level and provided me with guidance and insight, I would have appreciated much needed mentoring from a conference specifically designed for new directors.

    This is why I am excited about ECE-RJ’s involvement in the New Directors’ Institute (NDI). NDI is a conference for synagogue Education Directors, Early Childhood Directors, Principals, Directors of Congregational Learning, and Clergy-Educators new in their roles or hired within the past two years. The conference is a collaboration between ECE-RJ, United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, Jewish Educators Assembly, Cantors Assembly, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Association of Reform Jewish Educators, and Reconstructionist Educators of North America.

    The virtual conference will take place July 12-15, 2021. Participants will:

    • Learn best practices for educational leadership.
    • Become part of a learning community of colleagues.
    • Leading Jewish educators facilitate your learning and growth.
    • Special sessions designed for Early Childhood Educators.
    • Ongoing support and mentorship throughout the year.


    I wish the conference was around when I started as a Director. I believe it is so important, members who attend will also receive a complimentary registration to ECE-RJ Virtual Kallah, January 12-15, 2022, and will also receive a $100 membership discount to  ECE-RJ if they join by September 1, 2021.

    The deadline to enroll is June 25, 2021. For more information and to register, please visit

  • 17 Jun 2021 by Fern Katz

    Last June, ECE-RJ installed new officers and held our annual board meeting on Zoom. It was the first time we were not in person, the first time not holding a chuppah over our new board member’s heads, and the first time not sharing hugs. Each summer the ECE-RJ convenes a multi-day board meeting and for the first time we were not sitting around a real table together, feeling the presence and wisdom of those who served before us, and thinking and discussing the best ways to serve our members and strengthen ECE-RJ.

    We began the 2020-2021 year in unprecedented times. It was a journey on a long and winding road – not knowing which way it was going to turn. We were only sure of three things: we would need to adapt to whichever way the road turned, we would need to overcome any obstacles that was in our way, and would need to care for ECE-RJ members (board members included). With this in mind, our priorities became “adaptive leadership” and “nurturing our membership through compassion.” As we worked through the year, talking with members, planning meet-ups, writing on the forums, writing for UNITE, we always came back to “Are we being compassionate? Are we adapting? Are we leading?”

     ECE-RJ moved along the winding road, straightening it out a little when we could. Soon we realized that in this unprecedented year, we had an unprecedented opportunity: We could forge our own path and pave our own road. So, we began looking for opportunities that might move us in an even better direction. We straightened the first curve with continuing the important work that had been done in previous years—such as strengthening relationships with affiliates and professional organizations within the URJ, building committees, and opening up the communication and work between the committees.

    We also created more meet-ups for learning and relationship building. We held a virtual conference with presenters from Iceland, Israel, Australia, Japan and more.  

    It was a hard year and exciting year. It was a year of loss and a year of growth. Where will we take our road next? I hope to see everyone along the path throughout the coming year.

     Congratulations to all early childhood Jewish educators and members of ECE-RJ – you did it!