By Rena Udkoff
On Rosh Chodesh Kislev, one hundred and twenty educators gathered in Crown Heights for a celebration organized by the Menachem Education Foundation. The annual event, coordinated to coincide with the Kinus Hashluchim weekend, marks a time for teachers to get together with their similar minded peers and celebrate one particular kind of shlichus: education.
The event’s purpose was to celebrate, encourage and inspire mechanchim in the vital work that they do and acknowledge that their unique shlichus is valued and appreciated. “At MEF we constantly strive to show teachers how much they matter,” explains Rabbi Zalman Shneur, Executive Director of the Menachem Foundation. They accomplish this goal through a variety of events and peulos that bolster the message that chinuch is one of the truest forms of shlichus that exist today.
“By demonstrating the importance of quality educators and their innate value in our communities, we are encouraging our best to stay here and invest in our future generations,” says Shneur. “Chinuch is not a job for just anyone. The people who stand in front of the classroom every day should be those who truly care for it and are passionate about education.”
The attendees are part of MEF’s extensive network of affiliates, comprised of supporters and educators who are bringing the highest quality of educational training and innovation into our schools.
To remind them of the value of work in chinuch, the audience watched a specially compiled video about the long term impact associated with the education of children. The video displayed several stories of people whose lives were changed forever by one special educator.
The crowd also heard from the keynote speaker, Rabbi Gluckowsky, on a teacher’s important role inside and outside the classroom, and how one can positively impact a young student’s future. He also highlighted the ideals of professionalism, and encouraged the attendees never to stop developing their skills and putting effort into enhancing their students’ educational experience.
During the event, one outstanding teacher was presented with the annual Eisenberg Award for excellence in education. This year’s monetary prize was given to Rabbi Yehoshua Einbinder, a 4th grade teacher at Darchai Menachem and alumnus of MEF’s Teacher Induction Program of 5772.
The program was emceed by Rabbi Zalman Raskin, a MEF alumnus who currently teaches in Yeshiva Schools of Pittsburgh. The event’s details – including a lavish milchig lunch, attractive setup, and gift of a sefer for attendees – were organized by Ms. Shaina Shagalow and the rest of the MEF team to give mechanchim the most positive and uplifting experience possible.
The unanimous feedback was gratitude for the continued show of support for an often thankless profession. Participants described the event as “elegant,” “uplifting” and “more beautiful than words.” Rabbi Moshe Wircberg, a 3rd grade teacher at United Lubavitch Yeshiva, said that “it’s these types of events that give us chizuk to continue!”
All of the educators left recommitted to the goal of chinuch, and felt a renewed sense of purpose, pride and solidarity in their shlichus.