PCJE Conference Lo BaShamayim Hee

Program Description

“לא בשמים היא” has been an enduring call to action for educators throughout the generations to place Torah learning in the hands of students. As nurturers of young Jewish minds we have the common responsibility of instilling them with Rabbinic texts, values and teachings. Yet, to do so effectively, we must consider:

  • What do we really want our students to walk away with from their encounter with Rabbinic texts?
  • Do our students find the study of Rabbinic texts meaningful, compelling and engaging?
  • How can we fully harness the creative and effective nature of these rich texts, both inside and outside of the classroom?
  • How can we most effectively enable our students to access these texts independently?

Middle and high school day school teachers and experiential educators are invited to join us for a two and a half day PD event in order to:

  • Expand our ability to utilize 21st-century tools in the teaching of Rabbinic texts
  • Collaborate with and learn from professionals from across the field
  • Explore, refine and revamp our teaching and learning goals
  • Enhance our ability to improve our students’ text skills
  • Consider various approaches to theme-based curricula
  • Learn Torah l’shmah with Pardes educators
  • And more…

Join us Sunday November 17th – Tuesday November 19th, 2019 at Pearlstone Retreat Center in Reisterstown, MD.

Have your voice heard…click here to share with us your professional needs and interests.

There will be numerous workshops offered at the conference. Here are just some of the topics that will be explored:

  • Getting ‘tooled-up’ in the Rabbinic Literature classroom: Exploring today’s most effective technologies
  • Text skills verses meaning-making: Do these have to be in competition?
  • Articulating ‘The Why’: Guidelines for developing clear, engaging and realistic goals for Rabbinic literature curricula
  • Developing a shita: Bringing a step-by-step methodology to your gemara classroom to empower students’ independent learning.
  • The Rabbis Reconsidered: Taking a closer look at some of the ‘classic’ Rabbinic texts

Names and bios of additional conference faculty will be added to the webpage over the coming months as we continue the process of developing the conference program.

Sheryl Katzman; Facilitator for the Rabbinic Standards and Benchmarks Project
Chaim Saiman; Author of Halakha: The Rabbinic Idea of Law
David Stein; Co-creator of the LaHaV curriculum
Sarah Wolkenfeld; Director of Education at Sefaria

Zvi Hirschfield, teaches Talmud, Halakha and Jewish Thought at Pardes. In addition, Zvi is a faculty member of the Pardes Center for Jewish Educators and has been training and mentoring Jewish Educators for over ten years in Tefilah in educational settings, critical issues in modern Jewish thought, and Israel education.

Zvi holds a B.A. in History from Columbia University and did graduate work at Harvard University in Medieval and Modern Jewish Thought. He studied at Yeshivat Har Etzion in Israel and has rabbinic ordination from the Chief Rabbinate of Israel. He was the director of Judaica at the JCC of Cleveland and an instructor at the Cleveland College of Jewish Studies for many years. He also serves as a curriculum writer and is involved in staff training for the Nesiya Institute. His wife, Dina, is a faculty member of the Hebrew University School of Public Health, and they have four children.

Leah Rosenthal, holds a B.A. in Talmud and Jewish Philosophy and an M.A. in Jewish Education, both from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. She has been teaching Talmud at Pardes for over twenty years and still enjoys doing so. She combines her teaching at Pardes with teaching at the nearby Pelech High School for Girls and raising, with her husband, their five children.

Aviva Lauer Golbert, the Director of PCJE, has worked at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies since 2009. In 2013 she was appointed the Director of the Pardes Educators Summer Curriculum Workshop, and the Assistant Director of the Pardes Center for Jewish Educators in 2014. Previously, Aviva developed curriculum at Melitz and at the Leo Baeck Education Center, where she also taught Jewish Studies and facilitated mifgashim. She then served as the Head of Jewish Studies at Immanuel College, London. Aviva earned her Masters in Midrash at the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies.

Rachel Friedrichs came to Jewish education as someone who loves to learn Torah and enjoys the challenge of breaking down complex ideas. She is currently the Director of Pedagogic Instruction at the Pardes Center for Jewish Educators. She holds a BA from Brandeis University and an MA in Jewish Education from the Hebrew University; she is an alumna of the Pardes Day School Educators Program. Rachel has taught Tanakh, Rabbinic literature and Jewish thought to students ranging from sixth grade through adulthood at a variety of different institutions, including: Young Judaea Year Course (Jerusalem), Yeshivat Hadar (NYC), Solomon Schechter School of Manhattan and Gann Academy (Boston, MA). She also taught English in Gujarat, India for a year and is a certified yoga instructor. Rachel lives in Modi’in with her husband and three sons.

Zvi Grumet teaches Pedagogy and is a PCJE coach. He holds a B.A. in Computer Science, an M.A. in Jewish Education and an Ed.D. from Yeshiva University where he was ordained. Prior to his aliyah, Zvi had extensive experience teaching teens and adults, both in North America and Israel, and was a day school leader in the U.S. Zvi is currently Director of Education at The Lookstein Center for Jewish Education and the chair of the Tanakh department at Yeshivat Eretz Hatzvi.

Reuven Margrett is the Director of Digital Content at the Pardes Center for Jewish Educators. A former graduate of the Pardes Day School Educators’ Programme (’05-‘07), with an MA in Jewish Education and ordination from Rabbi Zalman Nehemiah Goldberg of Jerusalem, he taught Rabbinic texts and was an administrator for over ten years in London and Detroit.

A lover of innovation in Jewish Education, he was the Executive Producer of the first serious digital Jewish games (Sparks of Eternity and Kerem b’Yavneh), was part of the creative team for the Legacy Heritage Rabbinics Standards and Benchmarks project, and most recently created the Pardes Online Tefilah Resource Database. Reuven currently loves mentoring and coaching the next generation of Jewish educators and encourages them all to join the PCJE Network Facebook group.

Read on to see what past participants from PCJE professional development conferences have to say about their experience:

I think the opportunity to spend time away from school but with other teachers in a professional environment was very important. It is often difficult once the school year has begun to get this time to think and learn in a collegial setting. -High School Administrator, NY

This was amazing! I feel so productive and intimidated at the same time and it’s thrilling! I am excited to try to incorporate this new perspective in my room and hopefully infuse some energy into my students’ learning. -High School Teacher, NJ

This was a perfect conference. I had a wonderful time, learned a lot and am inspired to do better, be a better teacher and create a more dynamic classroom. -Middle School Teacher, OH

This was a first-rate conference, accomplishing what I consider to be the major goal of professional development: inspire teachers to want to do more and better! -Middle School Teacher, IL

Above all else, I was inspired by the camaraderie between the educators participating in the conference. Although I am not a Pardes graduate, I was immediately sent back in time to my days spent in the JTS Beit Midrash. It reaffirmed my core belief in collaboration between colleagues and the necessity of continuously engaging with biblical texts (as opposed to just re-reading them in preparation for teaching units of study). This conference made me realize how much I miss Torah Lishmah and how it would make me such a better educator to keep up my own learning outside of the walls of my classroom at my place of employment. -Middle & High School Teacher, CA

Pardes makes me feel more secure in my teaching. It gives me the knowledge I need to be a great teacher and the encouragement I need to work on my teaching. Pardes reassures me that I’m part of a community of Jewish educators and we are all in this together. -Middle School Teacher, IL

Thank you, thank you, thank you — would just stay at Pardes and learn and think with all of these amazing people if I could. -Middle & High School Administrator, DC

Learning/thinking with the other educators was great! They provided a variety of perspectives, ideas and inspiration for the year (and years) ahead! -High School Teacher, MI

For me, these conferences are a time to step away and gain perspective. It is so energizing to me to hear about other people’s trial-and-error experience and learn about alternative ways to teach the same text. I continually draw on the confidence and energy I gain from these conferences. -High School Teacher, NY

The conference, held at the Pearlstone Retreat Center, in Reisterstown, MD, will begin with lunch at 12:30 PM on Sunday November 17th and will conclude at 2:30 PM on Tuesday the 19th.

For non-PCJE alumni who are traveling by plane or train: Travel details for PCJE alumni:
You should arrange your travel so that you arrive at BWI airport or train station by 11 AM on Sunday, and depart no earlier than 4:30 PM on Tuesday*. PCJE will arrange and pay for ground transportation to and from the Pearlstone Retreat Center. You are expected to arrange your own travel to the conference but are entitled to an up to $250 travel subsidy, to be paid after the conference upon submission of travel receipts/bookings. You should arrange your travel so that you arrive at BWI airport or train station by 11 AM on Sunday, and depart no earlier than 4:30 PM on Tuesday*.

*Please note: If you arrive later or depart earlier than the above noted times, you will be responsible for the arrangement and cost of your ground transportation.

Participant Category Fee (Double Occupancy)
PCJE Alum – Early Bird*/discounted rate $250
PCJE Alum $300
Returning PCJE PD – Early Bird*/discounted rate $425
Returning PCJE PD $500
Non-Alum – Early Bird*/discounted rate $450
Non-Alum $550

Colleague discount offered to any school sending more than one educator, please inquire for details.

A limited number of single occupancy rooms are available for an additional charge of $165. Please contact Gail Kirschner (gail@pardes.org.il) for details.

*Applies to participants who apply and pay the full discounted rate received by Sunday, September 8th.

The Alumni and Non Alumni registration forms are now available. For more information contact Rachel Friedrichs at rachelf@pardes.org.il.