“Teach and Reach,” the Menachem Education Foundation’s (MEF) professional Mechaneches training program, was created with Mrs. Dena Gorkin, famed educator, founder and principal of Bnos Chomesh High School in Crown Heights. Together they organized the program to ensure educators are equipped to address their students’ social, emotional, physical and spiritual needs. The program is based on the belief, espoused by our Rebbeim, that Chinuch does not only include teaching and testing, but creating environments that are emotionally, socially and spiritually safe and inspiring for students. 

This year’s program is open to all Mechanchos of grades 6-12, including Hebrew and secular studies teachers, principals, administrators and program coordinators. The intensive training is offered in two 6-week sessions, starting right after Sukkos, with the option to participate live online, or listen to recorded classes. A few of the topics presented by Dena Gorkin and guest speakers are “Professional Communication and Boundaries,” “Building Yiddishkeit and Chassidishkeit,” “Reaching Different Personality Types,” “Mental Health Overview” and more.  Participants can also join in small group discussions, and support each other as they implement the new strategies and skills. 

40 Mechanchos from a dozen Chabad schools internationally have completed the training since its inception in 2020. Participants shared that they feel much more confident in their educational roles, view their students with greater compassion, and feel comfortable addressing difficult conversations that come up. Many enjoyed Dr. Rona Novick’s presentations on mental health awareness, in addition to Dena Gorkin’s informative and practical classes, and the optional consulting sessions. Mrs. Leah Herman, a teacher in Yeshiva Schools in Pittsburgh, Pa who joined last year, says “I found the supportive environment to be wonderful and encouraging. To be in contact with Mechanchos all over the world who were in similar classrooms, trying to reach students with various struggles made me feel connected and hopeful.” 

Ms. Chanie Greenfield, a Bnos Chabad leader in Bnos Menachem, Crown Heights, adds: “This program gave me an invaluable feeling of confidence when I would walk into the school building, and speak to girls individually. I feel so lucky to have joined.”

Educators who would like to sign up for the newly revamped program can visit www.mymef.org/mechanechestraining.