Friday, March 27, 2015

What's in a Name? What is Change? Blog Exodus #7 Tell

In February I attended the National Association of Temple Educators Annual Gathering in Philadelphia and we left it was the Association of Reform Jewish Educators.  During the 4 day conference we examined "Engaging Our Changing Jewish Community".  Our keynote speakers included:  Bruce Feiler author of Walking the Bible and Charles T. Lee, self proclaimed idea maker at Ideation and David Bryfman. All 3 of them told their story and helped us to start thinking about all types of changes, innovation and even disruptive change.

This week I was beautiful West Orange, California for ARJE leadership meetings.  We meet to plan for the upcoming year and beyond. 
Leading T'filot at ARJE leadership meetings
We discuss and  exchange ideas about where our organization is heading. We have t'filot together and I am always honored to lead t'filot with my colleagues. 

 This time we had a hard time remembering to  say our new name ARJE.  Many times in the heat of an impassioned speech NATE would just fall out.  We actually had a swear jar for every time we called our organization by it's OLD name.  That helped and we raised money but as I have said: Change is never easy.
Swear jar

Many people have asked why we changed our name from the National Association of Temple Educators to the Association for Reform Educators.  The simple answer is that National and Temple educators does not adequately describe all of our members anymore.  Our organization also celebrated their 60th Anniversary this year and in 1955 the year of our formation the name was accurate.  Now as we welcome members from many different Jewish institutions, Early Childhood, Youth directors to just name a few of our new members; Reform educators is a much more apt description.  We have members from Canada, Israel and other places not located in the United States and therefore National no longer applies as well. 
There was much thought and deliberate care put into the name process.  There was a lengthy task force which then brought the ideas for new names to a leadership meeting.  We broke into groups talked about the different names and it because apparent that one name was favored by the group.  We talked, dreamed and visioned what a new name could be and what would take us into the next 60 years.  I am always energized when I spend time with colleagues and come home with new ideas. This time I saw a great sign at the congregation that hosted us.  They had made a banner which proclaimed they had been accredited.  I can't wait to do my own sign here at Lakeside and let everyone know we have been accredited  3 times which equals  21 years out of the 25 years which I have been at Lakeside!
At Lakeside our sign will read:  Accredited for 21 Years!

I am a week late to Blog Exodus but this post does fall under 6th of Nisan Tell!  I am using it!