Archive for the ‘Welcome’ Category

From the President #2

August 7, 2007

Shalom to you all,

A friend from CAJE the conference just texted to let me know that the opening program is done and CAJE 32 has “officially” begun!

So, with the opening now history, I wish you each a week filled with much learning and teaching; a week where you find new ideas and share some of your own; a week where you see old friends and make new ones; and a week where you find much joy.

I look forward to many of you posting your thoughts and sharing your experiences in the days to come. What did you think of Scott Shay’s conversation and the points he raised? What was your best “CAJE moment” today? As you check your e-mail tonight, take a moment and post some comments!

May you go forth to study and celebrate. A vibrant Jewish future begins with an educated community and that will only happen if we, as Jewish educators, can increase our own knowledge and skills, celebrate our passion, and then ignite the desire for Jewish learning and living in others!




Notes from the President – Iris Petroff #1

August 7, 2007

Shalom Chaverim v’Chaverot,

As I type this I am still finding it hard to believe that I am not among you; the over 400 members of our CAJE community gathered together to study and to celebrate Shabbat in the way that only CAJE can offer.

Know that I am thinking of you all and wishing I were there to meet, greet, visit, worship, study, sing, hug, and celebrate with you. For now, I will wish you a most joyous and meaning filled Shabbat.

Please know that I, and other CAJE members who could not attend this year’s conference, will look forward to hearing of your accounts on this wonderful CAJE blog as the week continues. So do take a moment to write!

Shabbat shalom,


Iris Petroff

President, Coalition for the Advancement of Jewish Education

Notes from the Chair – Peter #2

August 2, 2007

You never know who you will meet in an airport.

On my way to St. Louis I found myself between flights in the Atlanta airport. As I was sitting by the boarding gate, I heard a voice ask me if the seat next to mine was available. I said yes and looked up to see a young women sit down. She wore the desert camouflaged regulation Army Combat Uniform. She was 18 and traveling from a base in Florida to one near St. Louis. And she was deploying to Iraq in a few months.

What does this have to do with a conference on Jewish education? Everything. Many times you never know what to expect. Students are surprising. Sometimes they rise to the occasion in ways we never can predict. Sometimes, we as educators find new ways to reach them. For me at least, the “aha moment” is when teaching is most rewarding.

The process of creating a CAJE conference is like that too. We – the visioning teams and the mazkirut – dreamed of ideas and programs that we wanted to see take place at CAJE 32. We went in surprising directions, the first being the transition to the concept of engaging in the future as the theme. I’ll mention this Sunday night, but for now I’d ask you to think about the distinction between learning and engaging.

The young soldier made that concrete for me. You see, I didn’t expect to have a personal encounter with a young warrior. I certainly didn’t expect that she would enable me to rearticulate my personal goal for CAJE 32. Yes, I dream that this conference will provide us all with tools to create new modes of interacting with our students. I hope that come August 9th we will have more comfort with technology and new ways of thinking. For me it will be a success if we participants continue to dialogue about what we’ve discovered after we leave St. Louis. But what I didn’t expect was that I would translate my vision in the following way: The heritage and traditions that we successfully pass on to those who follow us, who stand on our shoulders, will provide them with the tools to build a world where they would not have to send their daughters to war.

CAJE 32 is meant to be a rung on a ladder that will create new worlds for us and for those who follow. We are standing on the first rungs. Together let’s start climbing.

The Night Before CAJE 32

August 2, 2007


 After 90 minutes 27 CAJE staff and volunteers assembled 1,289 Conference teekim (packets).

 We’re now ready for registration. Let the Conference begin!

Washington University – Jeff 2

August 1, 2007

Yesterday I arrived in St. Louis to join the rest of the CAJE staff and volunteers who have begun all of the pre-conference set up. I am settled into my dorm room and I have to say that the Washington University dorms are among the nicest that we have ever used for a CAJE conference. We are using the dorms located in the South 40 quad. These are the newest dorms and are located close together, with the dining hall we will be using in the middle of all of the dorms. The Washington University campus is an ideal campus for a CAJE conference. The University is a very compact, flat campus with nothing further than a 10 minute walk. The University is under going some construction which we will have to walk around, but other than that everything looks great.

In addition, the Washington University staff have truly been amazing and very welcoming. They have printed special color coded maps of the campus for us that each participant will receive at registration. The map shows the CAJE dorms in one color, the Expo Hall in another, and even shows the best paths to use for our wheel bound participants. As another CAJE first, the University has taken these maps, blown them up and created 4 foot X 4 foot posters which they have then secured under heavy plastic and placed around the campus.

This evening CAJE volunteers and staff will get togther and do the “packet stuffing”. Typically we do this after Havdalah Saturday evening, however this year we will stuff the packets early. This way all of our pre-conference and Shabbat attendees will be able to receive their full packets at registration.

By noon today we will be able to have our first meal in the newly Kashered dining hall. By this evening Patti K. and her crew should have the registration packets stuffed and read, Ari and his staff will have worked their behind the scenes magic and moved all of the conference “stuff” so that it is all in place, signs will have been posted, Yoram will have printed out all of the name tags, the University will have set up all of the rooming envelopes with room keys and the first conference CAJE Page will have gone to the printer. Tomorrow our first conference participants begin to arrive.

So much to do, so little time.

See you in St. Louis.


Notes from the Conference Chair – Peter #1

July 31, 2007

I’ve never written a blog before. Yes, a Shehechyanu moment. I just learned this week how to interface with a wiki. Very cool. Steep learning curve, but I think it’s like driving. Once you learn, you don’t forget.


Hi. I’m Peter Eckstein, and I’m the conference chair for CAJE 32. Back in 1994 I went to my first CAJE. I won’t say where it was. Let’s see if any of you can figure that out. And then you can add it as a comment to this blog. You are not allowed to look in the program book!!

Anyway – welcome to the 21st century. I don’t mean to be obnoxious but the point of C32 (that’s what I’ve been calling it for about 1.5 years) is to thrust us into a world that speaks to our students. We need to learn the same language.

Wiki. Web 2.0. Blogosphere. Email seems to have become passé. At least that’s what my daughters say. Now it’s facebook and myspace. What do we do with this technology? How do we create a connection with Judaism that speaks the language of those who come after us?

CAJE 32 is designed to open doors to provide the tools to help you find answers to these questions. Or start to, anyway.

This is a work in progress: This blog and this site and this conference. It doesn’t end on Thursday, August 9th. We can and must continue the conversation. How? Well, I guess you’ll need to keep reading over the next week or so to find out!

Until my next entry, L’hitra’ot.