The Conference on Alternatives in Jewish Education

Archive for the ‘Chair’ Category

Building the CAJE Conference

Posted by Joel H. on May 20, 2008

By Joel M. Hoffman

Putting the CAJE conference together is a monumental task, because scheduling many hundreds of sessions is complex. People from all over the world submitted hundreds of excellent session proposals: new Hebrew programs, music, Torah, history, administration techniques, storytelling, Israel, the environment, art; young children, family education, teens, adults; programs for learning-disabled children and tips for gifted learners; and much more!

Our task (that’s me, Mel, David, and Abby) over two long days was to schedule as many sessions as we could, making sure each hour of the five-day conference had variety, and double checking that we didn’t make any mistakes like putting someone in two places at once, or denying someone a lunch break.

This year we augmented our software with a massive 8-foot by 20-foot display device popularly called a “wall.” We used colored cards to represent topics, and colored circles to represent age groups. (We used a ladder to schedule morning sessions. There’s probably some hidden irony there.) A quick glance showed us what kinds of sessions were available during each session block.

In the end, we didn’t have room for everything, but the nearly-final program is exceptionally exciting. And more than any other conference I know of, CAJE 33 has something great for everyone.

I’m looking forward to seeing you at UVM in August.


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Look Who’s Coming to CAJE 33

Posted by Joel H. on April 30, 2008

By Joel M. Hoffman

With 100 days to go until our August conference, here are a few statistics about who’s coming to CAJE 33:

  • Fiften percent (about one in seven) are first-time attendees. (Why not become one of them?)
  • Almost 3% do not live in the U.S.A.
  • Over 15% are arriving in time to celebrate Shabbat with us.
  • About half are teachers.
  • About one third are directors or administrators.
  • Five percent of the session proposals involve magic markers.

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Count the Omer with CAJE

Posted by Joel H. on April 28, 2008

By Joel M. Hoffman

The seven-week period from the second day of Passover to Shavuot is known as the Omer, and it represents our broad journey from slavery to Torah. It’s a time of personal growth, and renewed attention to vision: Where do you want to be? What do you want to do? How will you get there?

At CAJE 33, we’ll be using this time to craft the final program for Vermont. As we put pieces in place, we’ll post frequent updates here. So stay tuned – or even chime in with a comment – and join us on our Omer journey. (We already have information on the Roundtable Fishbowl and the “Who We Are” track.)

As a thought for these 50 days, I quote Ralph Waldo Emerson: “[Education] is to be created not by compulsion, but by awakening a pure interest in knowledge.” Many supplementary schools feel too much like the slavery of Egypt and not enough like the joy of receiving Torah. CAJE 33 is working to fix that.

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The 2008 CAJE Conference Just Keeps Getting Better

Posted by Joel H. on April 22, 2008

By Joel M. Hoffman

Univerity of VermontAs we mark the intermediate days of Passover and reflect on our freedom, I thought I’d bring you up to date on some recent additions to the 2008 CAJE conference (known to you and me as CAJE 33). But it’s hard to know where to start!

The Roundtable FishbowlIn addition to the Roundtable Fishbowl on the future of Jewish supplemental education, the Environmental Track, plenaries, evening entertainment, and other highlights you already know about, we’re thrilled that the conference will include such stars as former ambassador Dennis Ross, actor and author Evan Handler, MacArthur genius award recepient Liz Lerman, musician Craig Taubman, and much more.

Sunset in VermontAnd even though the conference is months away, we just received our 700th application 1,100th application.

Happy Passover!

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The Roundtable Fishbowl

Posted by Joel H. on April 1, 2008

By Joel M. Hoffman

(Also take a look at details on the Roundtable Fishbowl and results from the Roundtable Fishbowl.)

The Roundtable Fishbowl

(See the full-size graphic.)

Hi Everyone,

I have lots of news about CAJE 33. Even at this early date, we already have over 400 people 1,400 people signed up! And with tracks on the environment, the future of Jewish education, teacher training, and much more, it’s shaping up to be a very exciting 5-days. No wonder there’s such a buzz in the air about CAJE 33.

The Roundtable Fishbowl

I’m particularly excited about the roundtable fishbowl, which brings together seven people who collectively represent over 100 years of formal education and nearly 300 years of experience. They’ll engage in a directed conversation about the future of Jewish education, with Monday and Tuesday afternoons devoted to every aspect of what our schools should like like, and how to get there.

The audience will listen to the conversation, and even have the opportunity to contribute by sending text-messages or e-mail to a moderator. (Computers will be set up around the room to help make this possible.)

The People

The seven participants – three rabbis, two PhD’s, one principal, one lawyer, a change-management expert, and 4 graduate-school faculty members (these people all do more than one thing!) – represent every aspect of congregational education and come from a wide variety of religious and institutional backgrounds.

This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity puts David Behrman, Mara Braunfeld, Dr. Steven Cohen, Rabbi Ed Feinstein, Rabbi Larry Hoffman, Linda Klonsky, and Rabbi Danny Zemel all at one table. And thanks to CAJE, you get to be there, too.

Register Now!

Read the rest of this entry »

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