Two years ago this month, during our Annual Gathering in Philadelphia, we changed our name. For sixty years we were identified as an association for Temple Educators. That name served us well; it helped us build and professionalize the field of Jewish education. Yet with an evolving and expanding landscape of Jewish education and Jewish education professionals, it was time for new name that would both reflect who we are as well as attract a broader spectrum of Jewish educators.
Changing our name was just a first step in realizing our mission. As we strive to be the voice for Reform Jewish education, advance the profession of the Jewish educator and inspire excellence in Jewish education, over the last eighteen months the ARJE leadership has diligently worked to further set us up as for success. This work includes:
– The completion of a process for enabling youth professionals to join ARJE. We are regularly welcoming congregational, NFTY, camp and other youth professionals to our ranks.
– In April 2016, the board endorsed a recommendation from the Membership Categories task force to broaden our definition of eligibility for ARJE membership. We want to open our organization to any professional Jewish educator who seeks to align with our mission and vision.
– In December 2016, the board endorsed a recommendation from our Finance Team that redefines our dues payment categories so as to be reflective of who our members are.
– Our Branding Committee is working on a campaign that shares our story with the Movement and the Jewish education world.
– Our Member Relations, Advocacy, Professional Learning and Communications Teams are all in the process of identifying strategies that more inclusive of and responsive to our diverse membership.
Please join me at the Annual Membership Meeting (aka, the Plenum) taking place in person during the Annual Gathering in St Louis, – and virtually, for those who are not able to be with us in person – to learn more about this work and participate in concretizing it together.
I look forward to seeing many of you in St Louis in just a few weeks.