RECORD NUMBERS ATTENDED THE ZIONIST FEDERATION OF AUSTRALIA’S EDUCATORS’ CONFERENCE
The Zionist Federation of Australia Educators’ Conference held in Melbourne over the 17-18th August was a resounding success with record numbers in attendance.
This year there were over 500 participants that joined in the two day event - The role of Israel in Jewish education was a key theme explored in this year’s Conference, with the theme of “Lifelong Teaching, Lifelong Learning,” which was held at Mt. Scopus College.
Operation Protective Edge and the impact of a war in Israel in educational frameworks was a significant issue, which the conference addressed. The opening session focused on the topic: "Talking and teaching about Israel in a time of war" with panellists Dr Michael Gillis (Melton Centre for Jewish Education, Hebrew University) and educator and psychologist Ricki Bernstein.
There were 82 presentations, 16 international presenters and 48 local presenters and each provided something of interest and value for every type of educator. From secondary to primary and early learning, formal to informal education, text based Jewish studies, Hebrew, informal Israel studies to Jewish values all sessions were designed to enhance and strengthen our Jewish educators' knowledge and teaching practices.
There were multiple sessions on simultaneously in one room 70 people listened attentively to Dr David Bernstein on the ‘’Connection between the Shoah and the creation of the State’’ whilst next door a group learned about Israeli politics through the interactive “Monopolity’’ game with ZFA/WZO shaliach Ittai Aminoff
Significantly it was the first time we had a number of public school teachers attend from both New South Wales and Victoria along with a delegation of educators from the Kadimah School in New Zealand. It was also great to see 160 AZYC Bogrim close their Bogsem by attending the conference.
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 also included community leaders, principals, youth leaders, departmental heads, and teachers from Australia’s Jewish day schools and other educational institutions.
The conference boasted a comprehensive schedule that catered for the rich diversity of Jewish learning and offered professional development for Jewish educators.
Dr Danny Lamm, President of the ZFA: - “It is a forum that attracts exceptionally qualified presenters from all over the world. We were proud to offer this conference to our community in Australia.”
The conference had a number of exceptionally high calibre speakers; Professor Avigdor Shinan, a full professor in Jewish Studies at The Hebrew University. Dr David Bernstein, Director of Machon Pardes, Sarah Mali, Director of the Machon Institute for overseas leaders at the Jewish Agency. Dr Jen Glaser, the founder and co-director of the Israel Centre for Philosophy in Education and Rabbi Dr Eli Kohn, curriculum writer and lecturer at Bar Ilan University. 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: - “Many outstanding international and Australian presenters made this an exciting, intellectually stimulating and practical conference."
Almost 9,000 students are currently enrolled in Australia’s Jewish day schools, and several thousand others enjoy supplemental Jewish education. The ZFA biennial conference afforded attendees a wonderful opportunity for enriched professional learning - for teachers to learn from each other, and to network. The stress was on pedagogy – teaching practice – in both formal and informal educational settings with students the beneficiaries.
We thank all those whom attended, facilitated and presented at our ZFA 2014 Educators’ Conference