Posted on September 18th, 2016

ARJE Welcomes Youth Professionals


This summer, we announced that RYPA (Reform Youth Professionals Association) will now become part of the ARJE (Association of Reform Jewish Educators). This announcement marks the beginning of our organization’s ability to provide Reform Jewish youth professionals with a greater level of access to professional development opportunities, a network of colleagues, advocacy for its members, and job placement and career services.

Reform Jewish education is a lifelong and year round endeavor, encompassing many settings including religious schools and youth engagement programs such as synagogue youth groups, NFTY, and Jewish summer camps. Unifying all of these professionals into our association encourages collaboration and partnership, and is in clear alignment with our mission: to serve as the voice for Reform Jewish education, to advance the profession of the Jewish educator, and to inspire excellence in Jewish education.

Including youth professionals in the ARJE will benefit youth professionals themselves, congregational educators, and clergy, as well as all youth across the Reform movement. This unification recognizes the professionalism of those working in youth engagement and the value they bring to the field of Jewish education and to Jewish life.

“As a youth professional who has been dedicated to this field for over a decade, I am thrilled by the merger of RYPA and ARJE,” said Alison Stamm, Director of Youth Engagement at Temple Sinai of Roslyn. “Our unified professional organization will finally reflect the close relationship between youth professionals and religious school educators. This new model will provide opportunities for networking and collegiality among hundreds of people who are working with kids and teens in Reform Jewish settings across North America. I am excited about the professional development opportunities that can be provided by an established, respected organization which will benefit both novice and veteran youth pros. Exciting things to come!”

We are excited to welcome new members and new ideas into our community and conversations.  We are eager to build partnerships with our fellow educators. We believe that members of RYPA will bring diversity of practice and approach to our work, and that current ARJE members will both benefit from and contribute to youth professionals’ growth. Together we can craft a rich and diverse vision of excellence that will strengthen our mutual work as well as the Reform Movement’s Jewish educational endeavors.

Marisa Kaiser, RJE, is Director of Education at Temple Sinai in Atlanta, Georgia. Missy Bell, RJE, is the Program Director of Youth Learning and Engagement at Congregation Emanu-El of the City of New York. They are both Board Members of the ARJE.