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  • 18 Feb 2022 by Tricia Ginis

    Reflecting On This Year's Kallah

    Soon after the 2022 Virtual Kallah, I found myself sitting in my office with an overwhelming sense of personal and professional fulfillment.

    My mind began to wander. I first thought about all the fantastic sessions we offered and was blown away by the caliber of speakers and the amount of information we could cover in such a short time.

    For some reason, I started to think about specific pieces that stuck with me, like Rabbi Sandra Lawson singing a song to us that she had written for her mom, "You Can Be Anything." It was such a personal story that she shared about her mother's support and love.

     I thought about Rachel Hall and Tani Prell's session about creating anti-oppressive classrooms and realized how much we have to learn and how much intentional work needs to be done in this area.

    I remember Eliana Rubin sharing her story and feeling so proud of her strength and ability to feel comfortable to share and vulnerable enough to allow us in. I teared up as I thought about the shared stories during the panel discussion. The feeling of support and understanding could be felt through Zoom.

    All of the attendees were as mesmerized as I was. We spent Shabbat afternoon with Dr. Tamar Andrews, learning and sharing baking stories. Each one reminded us of the relationships and memories we had in the kitchen with family and friends. She shared that "Real relationships that elevate us and our lives require simple and honest ingredients that we put in by hand.  Ingredients such as communication, empathy, and love. We have to work on these relationships quite a bit until they form into real ones and then allow these relationships the time they need until they bake into something that we savor."  

    Soon after, I realized how lucky we were to have scheduled a Havdalah and reflection program to process the work and learn from the week together. The timing was unbelievable as Havdalah began just a few hours into the hostage situation in Colleyville. The time together was so meaningful.

    Yolanda Savage-Narva shared a poem by Dr. Benjamin E. Mays.  

    I have only just a minute,

    Only sixty seconds in it.

    Forced upon me, can't refuse it.

    Didn't seek it, didn't choose it.

    But it's up to me

    to use it.

    I must suffer if I lose it.

    Give account if I abuse it.

    Just a tiny little minute,

    but eternity is in it.


    It was a perfect culmination of the 2022 ECE-RJ Kallah and left us with a charge to continue the work to Listen, Learn and Act towards transformational change.

    For those who attended the 2022 Virtual Kallah, I hope you left with the tools and mindset to bring what you learned back to your early childhood program and temple community and with the intention of Lishmoa, Lilmod, Lif'ol: LISTEN, LEARN AND ACT.

  • 18 Feb 2022 by Fern Katz

    The Board Is Working on A New Organizational Mission and Vision

    February 2022As I am writing this, I have just completed Day 2 of the ECE-RJ mid-year Board Meeting – I am both drained and energized. While we have a monthly meeting to work on the organization's regular business, the Board meets twice a year for a few days to work on big picture items. There was a time when the ECE-RJ Board met in person and worked on whiteboards, giant Post Its, and chart paper. This is not that time – and even though we are meeting on Zoom, we will still be able to work together and accomplish some heavy tasks ahead of us.

    It is essential for ECE-RJ to be robust and relevant and to strengthen Jewish Early Childhood Education in congregations across North America. The timing was right for us to look in the mirror and make decisions about who we are, who we are not, and who we should be.

    We asked URJ North American Board member, Chuck Gealer, to help us work through the challenging task of revising or recreating ECE-RJ's mission and vision statements – and it is our good fortune that Chuck agreed. Chuck has been guiding us, pushing and pulling us to dig deep, think, discuss, and synthesize our ideas, beliefs, thoughts, and goals. And reminding us that this is a process that will take months.

    We are currently in the middle of this process, and I am both drained and energized. I am looking forward to bringing more information to you over the coming months.

    It is an exciting time to be a member of ECE-RJ.

    • Elaine Gaidemak As a founding member it is wonderful to see the continuum of growth from the very first mission statement and the statements that subsequently followed, to the current efforts. ECE-RJ is truly... see more As a founding member it is wonderful to see the continuum of growth from the very first mission statement and the statements that subsequently followed, to the current efforts. ECE-RJ is truly becoming and it is a wonderful thing to observe. I am so inspired by this wonderful journey.
      1 year ago