Preparing for education

June 6, 2014 by Hayley Hadassin
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The role of Israel in Jewish education is a key theme to be explored in this year’s Zionist Federation of Australia’s Jewish Educators’ Conference and we are delighted that Israel’s Minister for Education, Rav Shai Piron will be coming to the conference and to Australia as a guest of the ZFA.

The conference will be held at Mt. Scopus College, Melbourne on 17-18th August.

Every two years, the ZFA hosts the Australian Jewish Educators’ Conference – a unique forum for several hundred Jewish educators who seek professional and personal development in a stimulating environment. Participants will include community leaders, principals, youth leaders, departmental heads, and teachers from Australia’s Jewish day schools and other educational institutions.

A host of local presenters from Victoria and interstate, together with leading international Jewish educators from Israel, will offer individual workshop sessions to an estimated 340 educators during the two-day conference.

The conference boasts a comprehensive schedule that caters for the rich diversity of Jewish learning and offers professional development for Jewish educators.

Dr Danny Lamm

Dr Danny Lamm

Dr Danny Lamm, President of the ZFA:- “We are honoured to have Rabbi Shai Piron attend and speak at our Educator’s Conference in August. It is a tribute to our teachers and standard of education that we are able to have Israel’s Minister of Education come to Australia specifically for this event. It is a forum that attracts exceptionally qualified presenters from all over the world. We are proud to offer this conference to our community in Australia.”

The conference has already confirmed a number of exceptionally high calibre speakers; Professor Avigdor Shinan is a full professor in Jewish Studies at The Hebrew University engaged in the principal research fields surrounding the literature of the Aggadah, the Midrash, Aramaic translation of the Scriptures and the history of the Siddur.

Dr David Bernstein is Director of Machon Pardes and has been the Dean of Pardes since 1998. Sarah Mali is Director of the Machon Institute for overseas leaders at the Jewish Agency. Dr Jen Glaser is the founder and co-director of the Israel Centre for Philosophy in Education. Before she moved to Israel Jen was one of the founders of Philosophy for Children in Australia.

Rabbi Dr Eli Kohn is the curriculum writer and lecturer at Bar Ilan University and lectures in Tanach and curriculum development in schools worldwide. He is also the Educational Director of the JCP which develops Jewish Studies curriculum in over 35 schools in Australia and the UK.

Dr Miriam Munz, who is the Education Chairperson of the conference said: – “We are delighted with the breadth and depth of the planned program for the Jewish Educators’ conference. School administrators and teachers will find sessions to increase their depth of knowledge as well as develop new skills for educating students. Many outstanding international and Australian presenters promise to make this an exciting, intellectually stimulating and practical conference.”

Presentations at the conference, the theme of which is “Lifelong Teaching, Lifelong Learning” will provide a smorgasbord for Hebrew teachers, as well as for teachers who integrate the teaching of Hebrew with Jewish Studies, some of the seminars include Technology and Hebrew, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Sensing the Self: building resilience, Informal Jewish Education, Ethical dilemmas IDF officers face and Teaching Jewish Sexual Ethics to Teenagers

Almost 9,000 students are currently enrolled in Australia’s Jewish day schools, and several thousand others enjoy supplemental Jewish education. The ZFA biennial conferences afford wonderful opportunities for enriched professional learning – for teachers to learn from each other, and to network.

The primary focus at these conferences is on teaching and learning. The stress is on pedagogy – teaching practice – in both formal and informal educational settings with students the beneficiaries.

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