30 Chabad school leaders from across the US and Canada gathered at the Menachem Education Foundation’s (MEF) Women’s Chabad School Leadership Retreat, where they enjoyed beautiful accommodations, gourmet meals and meaningful workshops, geared towards building schools that can reach the whole child. Hosted by Rabbi and Mrs. Yossie and Rivka Denberg and Rabbi and Mrs. Shloime and Margie Denburg, in Coral Springs, FL, the principals also had a chance to view the innovative Chinuch taking place at Lubavitch Hebrew Academy and Rohr Bais Chaya Academy High School. The retreat took place Sunday-Monday, י’’ט-כ’ אדר א, February 20-21, 2022, 

“Huge shoutout to MEF for arranging this event. It was informative and supportive in a comfortable and relaxed setting. I learned so much, and am coming home with ideas and inspiration,” shared Mrs. Chanie Pinson, Principal of Bais Chaya Mushka, Los Angeles, CA. 

On the first day, sessions consisted of comprehensive mental health and crisis intervention workshops, led by Mrs. Dena Gorkin CPP and Director of Bnos Chomesh Academy High School in Crown Heights, and Mrs. Gitty Francis LMSW, and Shlucha to Houston, TX.  The four-part workshop trained principals to identify signs and symptoms of a mental health issue, build a crisis protocol for their school, and handle crisis aftermath. 

A meaningful dinner program was hosted by Dr. Sandra Lilienthal Ed.D, on her picturesque property, the perfect setting for the warm and collaborative atmosphere. Caterer Shaul Silverstein went above and beyond to provide a luxurious dining experience to the dedicated principals, who took time out of their busy schedules to learn the latest in Chinuch. 

Rabbi Zalman Shneur, MEF Founder and Executive Director presented an award to Mrs. Gloria Kaylee, a supporter of Chinuch and dear friend of MEF. Dr. Lilienthal addressed the principals in a talk entitled “Igniting Neshamos,” which led to a beautiful farbrengen.  

The second day featured interactive programs to practically implement in the classroom. Mrs. Henny Bartfield led “The Heart of C.H.I.N.U.C.H,” a social-emotional learning workshop for  school leaders, showcasing a new MEF curriculum currently in its pilot phase. Later in the afternoon, the principals learned about “Individualized Instruction to Reach Every Child” with Mrs. Rivka Denburg, conference hostess and head of school.

The program highlight took place when  principals had the opportunity to tour and observe classes in  Lubavitch Hebrew Academy of Margate, and Rohr Bais Chaya Academy High School. The retreat concluded with “U’vechein” roundtable discussions for Menahelos to collaborate with program facilitators in order to bring the ideas and tools that they learned back to their schools.

One of the most encouraging messages to the Chabad community is that our principals take an active stance in staying up to date in learning how to meet the current needs of students. 

“Getting together with other principals was a great pleasure and beneficial to me,” shared Mrs. Tamara Katzman, Assistant Principal at Bais Rivkah High School. “I feel that collaboration is empowering and we all have ideas to share. I came home invigorated and ready to work on implementing new ideas.