Newark, NJ — More than 100 Chabad Rabbis, varied practitioners in the field of education, convened at the Robert Treat Hotel in Newark, NJ. from Sunday night August 5th through Tuesday afternoon Aug. 7th. They heard lectures and panel discussions, participated in workshops and in strategy sessions, they shared meals renewed friendships, as they retooled professionally and were rejuvenated spiritually.
Concurrent lectures were presented throughout the conference, geared to primary and secondary education respectively. Dr. Judah Weller director of P’TACH and a disciple of the famed pediatrician Dr. Mel Levine, presented a series of lectures on the theme of “Schools Attuned”. His lectures featured Dr. Levine’s developmental philosophy which outlines the complex constructs which constitutes cognition. It focuses on a study of eight neurodevelopment constructs that affect learning: attention, language, memory, neuromotor functions, temporal-sequential ordering, spatial ordering, social cognition, and higher order cognition.
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Concurrently Dr. Jerry Lob, an adolescent clinical physiologist from Chicago, together with Rabbi Yehuda L. Shapiro, Dean of the Yeshiva of Miami and Rabbi of the Chabad community therein, presented views on adolescent development as seen from a physiological-developmental point of view and its multitude of religious implications.
In both cases a series of resolutions was presented at the conclusion, with the aim of carrying forward the work done at the convention, throughout the year.
A series of papers which are the precursor to a full developmental curriculum for Talmud studies was made by Rabbi Mendel Greenbaum principal of Cheder Menachem in Los Angeles CA, Rabbi Levi Kaplan and Rabbi Mendel Eidelman both from Oholei Menachem in New York. Their presentation lasted more than 3 hours after which committees were formed to help facilitate further research and field testing.
A first timer at the annual conference, Rabbi Shimon Druk from Detroit, MI, said “the intensity and caliber of the presentations and workshops is amazing, it demands so much I could not have lasted for another.”
During lunch on Monday, Rabbi Yosef Charytan the principal of the Chabad School in Seattle, WA sat with Rabbi Noach Kosofsky principal of the Lubavitcher Yeshiva Academy in Longmeadow, MA reviewing the events of the morning, catching a well deserved breather as they talked shop. Rabbi Yaakov Sheinberger vice principal of Chabad Hebrew Academy in Margate, FL sat with a group of collogues, Rabbi Hirsh Raskin from Montreal, Rabbi Zalman L Markowitz from Morristown, NJ and Rabbi Zalman Twersky from Chicago among others, planning the implantation of some of the ideas presented, in their respective schools in the fall. Rabbi Twersky commented “I have been coming to conferences for a number of years but I think this one outdoes them all, every session breathes new ideas.”
Rabbi Ephraim Rosenblum, veteran educator from Pittsburgh, PA led a delegation of 6 colleagues from the Yeshiva Schools and Rabbi Hershel Lusitg principal of Oholei Menachem led a group of 12. All in all 34 instructions from across the country were represented. call R
”While the concentration is intense the atmosphere prevailing is one of satisfactions and camaraderie“ said Rabbi Moshe Rodman principal of Desert Torah Academy, Las Vegas, NV. Rabbi Nochem Kaplan Director of the Merkos Chinuch office remarked that a lot of preparation and planning go into every conference; the knowledge that our schools and their thousands of students will be positively impacted make it all worthwhile. Dr. Lob called Rabbi Kaplan Wednesday morning to say that though he a frequent speaker at such meetings he has never encountered such a serious a group with so much energy and motivation. ”I know“ said Rabbi Kaplan, ”I work with them all year and they keep me on my toes”.