By COLlive reporter
Over 50 Chabad teachers from across the United States gathered on Motzoei Shabbos Chayei Sarah for the Menachem Education Foundation’s Teacher Training Program alumni event.
One of its earliest initiatives, the Teacher Training Program has been professionally training qualified and ambitious yungerleit to enter the field of Chinuch for over 4 years and has over 70 graduates to date.
The teachers make up an elite group of educators who are bringing the highest quality of educational training and innovation into their classrooms.
The annual event, organized to coincide with the Kinus Hashluchim weekend, marks a time for teachers to get-together with their similar-minded peers and enjoy an evening of networking and inspiration.
“We want to ensure that our teachers never feel out of touch,” explains Rabbi Zalman Shneur, Executive Director of the Menachem Foundation.
“Even when their careers take them to cities across the nation we try to find ways to continue to encourage them in their vital mission,” said Shneur, who founded the Foundation in 2008 to bring revolutionary changes to religious Jewish education by creating professional practices.
To this end, a Host Committee comprised of alumni planned an exciting program to send the teachers back into their classrooms re-energized.
The evening, chaired by alumnus Rabbi Levi Eisenberg of Los Angeles, introduced new programs and inspirational speakers.
Rabbi Yossi Rosenblum of Pittsburgh, and Rabbi Zalman Leib Markowitz of Monsey both spoke to the crowd inspiring them to continue to seek excellence in their teaching and to find fulfillment in their important Shlichus.
The speakers were followed by a widely praised networking event that allowed teachers in similar age brackets to share classroom ideas and tips with each other. After a short video and a Melave Malka spread, an interactive game depicting real-life school scenarios was enjoyed by all.
During the evening Rabbi Shneur announced that Menachem’s prestigious Eisenberg Award, which until now has only been linked to schools who participate in Standards and DDI, will be opening up to the alumni community.
Any MEF Graduate who is a passionate, dedicated teacher with an innovative approach toward teaching can now be nominated for the Eisenberg Alumni Award, which will be presented at the end of the academic year.
The alumni were grateful for the continued show of support, and appreciated the opportunity to meet up with fellow mechanchim and experts in the field and share ideas and chizuk.
Rabbi Mannis Frankel, who traveled from Morristown, NJ for the event, and was part of the first Teacher Training Cohort in 2008, noted how impressive it was to see the growth of the program. “It was amazing to see so many graduates together all sharing the same mission and goals to better our children’s education.”
“A teacher can often go about his daily schedule feeling overlooked and underappreciated,” said Rabbi Yehoshua Lustig, a graduate of the third Teacher Training cohort and now a Principal at Oholei Torah.
“What ‘Menachem’ has accomplished is that they have rebranded teaching as a profession and a career. Chinuch is not a menial job for just anybody. The people who stand in front of the classroom every day should be those who truly care for it and are passionate about education.
“By creating this event and by constantly focusing on and building up our teachers, Menachem reminded teachers how important the position of teaching is and made us all feel acknowledged and respected.”
Rabbi Shneur summed up, “At Menachem Education Foundation, we recognize that a lifetime investment in our teachers will provide dividends for generations to come.”