Prizmah – A Time to Learn

By Rabbi Jeffrey Kobrin

How remarkable it is to spend time in the company of over 1000 Jewish educators!  Abigail Weiss and I have just returned from the Prizmah conference in Chicago.  Prizmah is an organization composed of the umbrella organizations of Orthodox, Conservative, Reform and Community day schools that was founded last year when all of these groups realized that they had much more in common than what separates them.  What a beautiful application of our theme of “Who is wise?  One who learns from everyone.”

And learn we did.  From sessions with internationally renowned experts in subjects ranging from Tanakh to communication to fundraising and school governance, every participant (especially this one) found myriad new ways to think.

We attended a workshop run by improv actors from the famous Second City troupe, who made me think a great deal about my own communication style and how I listen to others at school.  (They also treated the entire conference to a hysterically funny show over dinner.)

At a vendors’ fair, I found a new siddur for our fourth and fifth grader students (watch for it in the Fall!) and learned of new improvements expected in the Parent Locker software we all use.

The most inspiring and re-energizing aspect of this gathering was the re-connecting with old friends and colleagues, people who encounter the same challenges and opportunities that we have at NSHA.  Our profession can sometimes feel like a larger than life task, and the chizuk of telling my own stories and those of others reminded me of how blessed we are at NSHA, how much I have to offer others, and how much they have to offer me.

I can’t wait to share so many of these ideas and energy with teachers, students and families in the weeks to come!