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  • 25 Aug 2022 by Tamar Andrews

    You must have heard by now… about the struggle to find and keep qualified teachers in Jewish Early Childhood Education.  As a director myself, of Temple Isaiah Preschool in Los Angeles, a Reform congregation preschool with over 250 children, you can imagine what it is like to look towards the start of the school year and only have a partial staff.  


    Like all people, teachers need support.  This support takes many forms:

    • Physical support in the form of materials for their classrooms AND compensation for their bills and expenses.

    • Emotional support in the form of unconditional positive regard and constructive feedback to inform their practice. 

    • Cognitive support in the form of professional development, communities of practice, and a cohort in which to share ideas. 


    At the 2022 ECE-RJ Conference in November, we can help you in all three of those critical areas of teacher retention. In fact, studies have shown conclusively that events such as this one help retain teachers for up to two more years past its conclusion.


    How? We have devised a conference that addresses all three needs that teachers have and by attending, teachers will:

    • see the financial support of their institutions who pay for their attendance

    • gain additional mastery of practice in Jewish ECE

    • meet with and collaborate with other teachers from around the country

    • engage with materials and share experiences that they can take back to their classrooms immediately

    • develop stronger Judaic practices

    • return to their classrooms with renewed passion, determination, and a sense of pride and professionalism


    Don’t miss this opportunity to really support and show your own appreciation for the work your teachers do.


    Follow this link and sign up now for the 2022 ECE-RJ Conference in San Diego, November 2-5!

    Questions? Feel free to reach out to Tricia Ginis, Executive Director,

  • 25 May 2022 by Lisa Samick

    My heart is broken.

    Yesterday, I was installed as the next President of ECE-RJ.  In a zoom room, filled with colleagues, friends and family, I was truly overwhelmed and feeling so much gratitude and love.... and then the call ended, I turned my phone back on and it was like all the air left the room.  

    Ten days after a horrific shooting in a grocery store in Buffalo, NY, 19 children and 2 adults were killed in their classrooms in their elementary school in Uvalde, TX.  19 second, third and fourth graders, 1 teacher and 1 school employee (the news as of now).

    It is enough.

    As a Director of a school, I can’t help but going to a dark place – what if…

    My social media news feed is flooded with “thoughts and prayers” – and we need time for that.  But, we also need to take action.

    Over the next weeks and months, you’ll hear a lot about what I hope to accomplish in my presidency, about the goals that the board has set for ECE-RJ, and the impact it will have on the world of Early Childhood Jewish Education; but for now, we have some serious work to do.

    In my first act as President, ECE-RJ will be making a donation to Everytown for Gun Safety on behalf of our entire organization.  We invite you to join us in doing this - every $1 makes a difference in their ability to advocate and fight. 

    In the meantime, though, we also need to make space to heal and to process and so I invite you to join me on zoom on Friday afternoon at 3pm ET/ 2pm CT/ 12pm PT.  We will have a moment of silence and say the Mourners' Kaddish for the victims of this heinous event and then we will just have space for us to talk and to support one another.  Please register for the zoom HERE.

    We are including below some links to resources that may be useful in your own communities – both in terms of helping parents and educators to support the children that they care for and in terms of advocacy and education.  It is by no means an exhaustive list and I encourage each of you to share out the resources and organizations that are doing this important work – please use our FB page and the forum as a platform to help us all take action.

    We are not obliged to complete the work, but neither are we free to desist from it (Pirkei Avot 2:21)

    I am thinking of each and every one of you and of the families in Uvalde.

    Lisa Samick
    Incoming President of ECE-RJ


    Supporting young children through tragedy:

    Sesame Street on Violence

    Child Mind Institute – Helping Children Cope with Frightening News

    Today Show:  An Age by Age Guide to talk about shootings

    Fred Rogers:  Helping Children with Tragic Events in the News

    National Child Traumatic Stress Network – Helping Children with Traumatic Grief



    Religious Action Center:  Gun Violence Prevention

     Sandy Hook Promise  

    Stand with Parkland