Rabbi Yossi Goldblatt, Operations Director at Yeshiva Beth Yehuda in Southfield, MI, Rabbi Dovid Gewirtz, School Administrator at Yeshiva Torat Emet in Houston, TX, Rabbi Nosson Yishaya Schwartz, Director of Institutional Advancement at Yeshiva Toras Chaim Toras Emes in Miami, FL, and Rabbi Deon Nathan, CFO/COO at Torah Day School of Dallas.

Sixty-five executive directors and finance professionals representing more than 50 Jewish day schools and over 30,000 Jewish students from throughout the United States participated in the second Annual Executive Directors Share (EDS) Conference in Fort Lauderdale, Florida from Nov. 12-13, where they discussed best practices and shared innovative ideas to tackle challenges that they all face. The EDS Conference, which grew by more than 50 percent since last February’s inaugural event, was organized by the Torah Educators Network (TEN), an organization that serves Jewish educators from coast to coast in ways that their schools cannot do independently.

TEN Founder and Executive Director Rabbi Perry Tirschwell noted that a dozen states were represented at the conference, including California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Texas. The schools in attendance represented a broad cross section of the Jewish day school community, including both Modern Orthodox and yeshivish institutions.

The recent EDS Conference is the latest installment in the Torah Educators Network’s innovative program offerings for Jewish day school professionals. In June, over 125 leading educators from across the United States came together in Bergen County, NJ to share innovative pedagogic and curricular ideas at TEN’s YHShare Conference, the inaugural symposium of yeshiva high school Judaic Studies teachers.

This year, TEN is increasing its offerings, such as expanding the YHShare Conference to include both middle and high school educators, who will share innovative pedagogic and curricular ideas in Bergen County in June.

This May, TEN will be partnering with NCSY to run YouthCon, which will bring together experiential educators from summer camps, youth groups, day schools and synagogues from across the Jewish spectrum to share effective programming ideas and discuss how to successfully reach this generation of teenagers.

“One of the primary missions of the Torah Educators Network is to facilitate opportunities for educators and other professionals in Jewish day schools to collaborate with their colleagues nationwide in order to further enhance their skills and enrich their understanding of common and complex issues that they all face,” said Tirschwell. “Sharing best practices, learning from other professionals, and staying abreast of the latest trends are invaluable tools in the ever-changing field of Jewish education.”

Session topics at EDS Conference included Current School Legal Issues, Preparing Budget for Boards, Salary Scales, Education Administrator Input into Budgeting, Work-Life Balance, Building Strategic Partnerships with Communal Organizations, Creative Job Descriptions and Positions, Maintaining an Excellent Staff Culture, and Transitioning to a Paperless World. A National Executive Directors Council was formed which will look at additional avenues for cooperation between schools.

“The topics were relevant and the discussions were lively,” said Rabbi Moshe Tomases, Controller at Yeshiva Beth Yehuda in Southfield, MI. “It was a great crowd and I found the peer-to-peer networking to be very valuable.”

To learn more about the Torah Educators Network, visit www.TorahEducators.net.

Contributed by Aaron Troodler, Red Apple Strategies, LLC

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