Posted on December 7th, 2015

Raising the ARJE

A new name, a new mission statement – a lot of work! The ARJE board is engaging with what it means to actualize our new mission statement, to create a new brand and to tell the story of the ARJE.

We have begun to talk about what it means to be “the voice for Reform Jewish education” and have organized “Response Webinars” to add our voice to topical issues – Race Relations in America (with the RAC); the situation in Israel (with ARZA) and talking about terrorism (with HUC professor Jan Katzew). As educators, we bring a unique voice to the table; we are working hard to make sure our message is heard.

A new name requires branding work – and this is out of our comfort zone! The board engaged Charles Lee, CEO of Ideation (many of us met him at the Annual Gathering in Philadelphia), to work with us on how to roll out a brand. Charles met with a small group of ARJE members in New York over the summer and developed a plan to help us create our new brand. The board has begun work on identifying the unique traits and core attributes of the ARJE. The next step will be telling our ARJE stories.

Raising an organization is, in many respects, like raising a child. We identify strengths and build on them; we open ourselves to new experiences; we reach and we try. To help us on this journey, the board is reading Jewish Spiritual Parenting; Wisdom, Activities, Rituals and Prayers for Raising Children with Spiritual Balance and Emotional Wholeness (Rabbi Paul Kipnes and Michelle November). The authors provide Jewish insights, personal stories and guidance to ease the burdens on the journey that is parenthood – whether we are raising our children, our congregants, our constituents or the Association of Reform Jewish Educators.

Anne Berman-Waldorf, RJE, is Director of Lifelong Education at Congregation Beth Chaim in Malvern, PA, and she is an avid knitter. She is the ARJE’s First Vice-President.