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Reimagining Jewish education in the 21st century

Cantor Daniel Gale, Religious School Director at Midbar Kodesh Temple, recently attended New CAJE, a national conference for Jewish educators in Naperville, IL. The four-day conference included a series of lectures and workshops by Jewish educators from around the country.

Cantor Daniel Gale and Students

Sessions covered a broad range of topics relevant to Jewish education such as “It’s Not Just About the Program: Thinking about Goals, Programs, and Assessment”, “Avoiding Full Frontal: Teaching Alternatives for Engaged and Interactive Learning”, “Teaching the Beauty of Tefillah through Song”, “Elie Wiesel: Questions and Memory”, “Reading the Book of Jonah”, “Empowering a Culture of Security: Practical Steps for Securing your School”, “STORAHTELLING: Re-imagining the B’nai Mitzvah”, among many others. Presenters included such leaders in the field as Torah scholar Everett Fox, musician Rick Recht (who will be spending a weekend at MKT in January), and a variety of educators from leading synagogues and Jewish institutions.

"I always come back from this conference with new ideas, new inspiration and lots of good stories to tell," Cantor said. "I think you'll see some of these new ideas in innovative programming and initiatives in the coming year."

In addition to the many programs offered, New CAJE provided an opportunity to meet and interact with Jewish educators from around the country, to share challenges, ideas and successes with colleagues.

Cantor Gale oversees the Religious School and B’nei Mitzvah training of Midbar’s students as well as the informal United Synagogue Youth program which includes USY for grades 7 through 12, Kadima for grades 4 through 6 and Katan for grades 2 and 3. This year grade 7 will join the Cantor, Rabbi Bradley Tecktiel, their teachers and parents for an overnight museum trip to Los Angeles, highlighted by a visit to the Museum of Tolerance. More than 30 people are expected to make this third trip that has been underwritten in part by the David L. Simon Foundation, making the trip an affordable adventure for the religious school families. USYers look forward to their annual trip to Disneyland in September.

For more information on formal and informal programming for the youth at Midbar Kodesh Temple, contact Cantor Gale at 702.454.4848 or go to the synagogue website at

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