Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

NAACCHHS is now JTEEN with 3 webinars and a conference in June


February 22, 2019

Jewish Teen Education & Engagement Network for professionals has officially launched! JTEEN's mission is to serve as a national organization of Jewish teen education and engagement professionals networking to strengthen knowledge and skills, encourage innovation, develop and share curriculum and resources, and positively impact Jewish teen life in the 21st century.

JTEEN has officially acknowledged and embraced the reality that Jewish teen educators and engagement professionals have more similarities than differences and in fact each facet of Jewish teen work has much to gain from this melding of the minds. And furthermore, as some larger communities are downsizing staff and some smaller communities are program-sharing staff, many of these professionals actually serve in both capacities.

JTEEN is the transformation of the North American Association of Community and Congregational High Schools. NAACCHHS was founded in 2004 with the guidance of the Institute for Informal Jewish Education at Brandeis University.

"Living in a small town, NAACCHHS was instrumental in transforming my Hebrew High School with new innovative classes and programs by connecting me with colleagues from all over the country." says Susan Weis, President of JTEEN and Director of Kulanu School of Jewish Education and the Board of Jewish Education of Atlantic and Cape May Counties in Margate, NJ.

While NAACCHHS served its Hebrew high directors well for fourteen years, it became clear that adapting with the Jewish teen landscape and expanding its reach to encompass all professionals working with Jewish teens (not just directors, not just Hebrew high programs) was the way to go.

In December 2018, Jewish Teen Education & Engagement Network, Inc. was born. JTEEN will serve as a professional network representing a broader and more diverse audience of Jewish teen professionals working in education and engagement roles. Danielle Alexander, vice president of JTEEN and director of Kehillah High in Houston, Texas, said, "Having a cohort of passionate Jewish professionals is invaluable to this work and there is no other organization that serves this purpose nationally for community teen education and engagement professionals."

To bring this all together, JTEEN hired a visionary new director, Erica Hruby, who brings 25 years of experience in both teen education and engagement roles at the American Hebrew Academy, Beit Hamidrash (Hebrew high), Central Florida Hillel, and BBYO. In collaboration with the JTEEN board, Hruby solidified JTEEN's nonprofit status, opened its first bank account, and applied for 501c3 status.

"This is precisely the right moment for the network to transform," said Hruby. "We are building upon our strong NAACCHHS roots and adapting to the field of Jewish teen education and engagement with foresight, determination, and a commitment to fully support these phenomenal professionals. The sky is the limit on where we can go from here!"

JTEEN is continuing the tradition of an annual conference. This year's conference is in Houston, June 2-4. The conference theme is Expanding our Network: Learn, Innovate & Create Opportunities, highlighting JTEEN's mission and addressing the importance of networking both in and outside of our home communities.

"Our annual conference will once again feature high caliber presenters. The conference will be 100 percent relevant to the work we are all doing with Jewish teens. We will be able to learn from and enrich each other's programs." said Leann Blue, secretary/treasurer of JTEEN and director of Jewish Life and Learning and Hebrew High at Congregation Beth Shalom in Northbrook, IL.

And, mark your calendar for three exciting webinars this Spring! On March 12, Kelly Cohen, director of JumpSpark ATL will take participants on a journey from inception to the present day and share lessons learned along the way. On April 16, Gali Cooks, CEO and president of Leading Edge will respond to the question, "What are we learning about developing talent in the Jewish community?" This question will be explored through the lens of gender, generation, and geography, informed by their work with culture, CEOs, and boards. On May 7 we will feature Rabbi Mike Uram, executive director of Penn Hillel, Campus Rabbi, and author of the book, Next Generation Judaism. He will show us how we can use Hillel's engagement methodology to inform and deepen the work we do with teens.

For more information about membership, benefits, ways to collaborate, and funding opportunities, please visit http://www.JTEENprofessionals.org or contact Erica Hruby at ericanhruby@JTEENprofessionals.org.


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