The Conference on Alternatives in Jewish Education

A Note from Iris: CAJE 33 Briefing

Posted by caje on February 7, 2008

By Iris Petroff

I am very pleased to announce that beginning next week registration information and applications will be available online at for the 33rd Conference on Alternatives in Jewish Education.

CAJE 33 will take place from August 10 – 14th in Burlington, VT on the beautiful University of Vermont in Burlington campus. Conference Chair Joel Hoffman and Co-chair Melanie Birger-Bray in collaboration with CAJE staff and volunteers are doing a wonderful job of planning CAJE 33. It’s going to be a very exciting conference and I urge you to attend.

Though full conference information will shortly be available online at I want to take this opportunity to single out some of the new innovations that you will find at CAJE 33.

These include:

  • A new planning process. Rather than heavily making use of the more traditional conference calls, the program is being planned though the use of online wikis. Kol Hakavod to Joel for pushing us to model the use of 21st century technology. As a valued member of CAJE we want to invite you to help add your voice to the conference. You can become involved in the planning process by going to CAJE 33 planning wiki at
  • Modeling one of our conference themes of going GREEN, CAJE 33 will only offer online conference registration (at There will be no paper applications for CAJE 33. This will enable us to cut down on paper and printing costs as well as provide a more environment friendly way to process information.
  • In 2008 Tisha B’ Av falls on Sunday August 10th which is also the start date for the conference. We are planning for a wonderful Shabbat and meaningful Tisha B’ Av observance, as CAJE did three years ago with a unique Shabbat and Tisha B’ Av program at University of Washington in Seattle. To date, Shabbat Scholars include Richard Freund and Ellen Dreskin. This year, in recognition that some of our CAJE participants would prefer not to travel on Tisha B’ Av, we will provide a discounted Monday registration option.
  • Over the past several years CAJE has seen a continued decrease in the number of children enrolled in our childcare programs. Last year we had only 20 children enrolled, ranging in age from six months to eleven years. This decrease is due to the twin phenomena of older CAJE participants who no longer need childcare and younger full time professionals who don’t bring their children to a professional development conference. A significant amount of volunteer and staff time have gone into programs for very few participants and due to the very transitory nature of the program and the wide range of ages we have not been able to offer the type of high quality child care setting we know is developmentally appropriate. Therefore we have made the decision that the Coalition will no longer offer child care at our conferences.
  • For the past few years our Teen Leadership Kallah program at the conference was generously underwritten by a grant from the Reinhard Family Foundation. Last summer the grant for this program ended. Due to lack of funding we will be unable to offer the Teen Leadership Kallah program for CAJE 33.
  • We are thrilled to continue to build upon CAJE’s successful collaborations with other organizations to sponsor their events within the CAJE conference structure. Intensive conference within a conference programs will include:

    · The Consortium for the Jewish Family

· The URJ CHAI Curriculum Training Institute

· The URJ Mitkadem Training Institute

· Panim’s National Educators’ Institute for Jewish Service-Learning

· Challenge and Change: History of Jews in America

· Hebrew College and Siegel College intensives for college credit

· Creating Mentor Teachers: A Promising Approach to Teacher Excellence with Sara Lee

  • We are also very excited about the new and returning tracks for this year’s conference. Participants will be able to take sessions in one track or will be able to choose sessions from a variety of tracks, in the same way CAJE participants have for many conferences past. The tracks are:
    • Jewish Congregational Education: Evolution AND Revolution
    • The Early Childhood Conference @ CAJE 33
    • Eco-Judaism
    • Technology: Jewish Learning 2.0
    • Teacher Track
    • Methods and Resources for Teaching Hebrew
    • Education Directors Track
    • Israel @ 60
    • Who We Are
    • What We Know Now about Jewish Education
    • Judaic Basics
    • Hebrew
    • Hebrew Speakers
  • Additionally, get ready for some great late nights with the second season of the CAJE take on American Idol – CAJE Rising Stars.

This is but a small taste of what CAJE 33 has in store for you! Next week go to the CAJE website to register for CAJE 33 and to find more conference details.

I look forward to seeing you in August at CAJE 33 in beautiful Burlington, VT.


Iris Petroff, President


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