550 Mechanchos from around the world joined the Menachem Education Foundation’s (MEF) 7th annual Kinus Mechanchos Chabad on י’’ב – י’’ג תמוז, July 11-12, 2022, at the Armon Hotel in Stamford, CT. With 450 in person and 100 more online making this the largest event celebrating Chabad Chinuch, Mechanchos had the chance to network, rejuvenate and learn from renowned educators. The Vaad of the Kinus Mechanchos, together with a talented planning committee, curated a unique program with over 38 workshops and presenters, a full day resource fair, individual consultations and multiple amenities, to provide the yearly gashmius and ruchnius boost that the educators deserve.
“The Kinus was an amazing way to recharge, gain skills, be pampered, and energize for the upcoming year,” shared Rivkah Goldwasser, assistant teacher at Yeshiva Schools of Pittsburgh.
Mechanchos spent two days attending workshops and talks centered on providing practical tools to give a timeless Torah Chinuch to today’s students. With specialized tracks for school leadership, general studies teachers, and early childhood educators this year, participants were able to tailor their schedule to get the most out of the program.
The workshops and sessions included: “Ask the Rav: Chinuch in Halacha” with Harav Yosef Shusterman, Rav of Anash in Los Angeles, and Shliach in Beverly Hills, CA; “The Heart of Chinuch: Tools for Social-Emotional Learning” with Mrs. Henny Bartfield, M.S.Ed, and “The Parent/Teacher/Student Triangle: Tools for Community and Connection” with Mrs. Shiffy Landa, veteran educator and shlucha in St. Louis, MO.
Highlights of this year’s Kinus included a moving presentation by Rabbi YY Jacobson on “The Power of Educators to Transform Lives,” with Chinuch lessons from the Rabbeim, and Rabbi Dr. Elie Tuchman, Ed.D, Head of School at Yeshivat Mekor Chaim, Baltimore, addressing school leaders about how to create a positive and productive faculty culture.
To address mental and emotional wellness at school, Dr. Hilary Buff, PsyD, School Behavior Specialist and Consultant, answered the million dollar question that Mechanchos today are asking: “Teacher or Therapist: What Did I Sign Up For?” and presented ways to help students in the current “rising tide of anxiety.”
A panel discussion led by Mrs. Dena Gorkin, CPP, and Principal of Bnos Chomesh Academy in Crown Heights and Mrs. Leah Herman, MSW, and Mechaneches at Yeshiva Schools of Pittsburgh, offered clarity and tips for both teachers and school leaders on creating an environment of wellness in the school and classroom.
Other pertinent topics covered at the Kinus included: eating disorder prevention, executive functioning skills, curriculum alignment between Judaicand general studies, as well as lessons from Klalei Hachinuch Ve’hadracha and how to teach the power of Tefillah.
Monday evening’s Gala Chinuch Banquet treated Mechanchos to a live concert by singer Moussia Mendelsohn, on-stage interview with veteran educator Morah Chani Brod of Bais Rivkah Elementary School in Crown Heights, and a moving keynote by Harav Yosef Shusterman on “What Chinuch Needs Most Today.”
In honor of the international group of Kinus attendees this year, the banquet concluded with the first ever Kinus Mechanchos Banquet Roll Call, led by Mrs. Kesem Mia Hetsrony, Teacher and Tzivos Hashem Leader of Cheder Chabad of Philadelphia. Produced by Alyson Feldman of FFH events, with audio/visual by Dovid Weinbaum, Mechanchos left the seamless event feeling empowered and honored in their shlichus.
One participant shared how the Kinus changed how she views her future in Chinuch.
“I’ve had a very hard year, which left me feeling that I should stop teaching. The Kinus gave me the energy and self confidence to start anew this coming year.”