Positive Phrasing - Communicating with Young Children: Ariel Cohn - Owner-Provider/Tree of Life Montessori

Come learn the power of positive phrasing! Positive phrasing is about aligning the emotional and verbal content of communication in positive, respectful, and productive ways. I will share the theory and practice to educators who work with children ages 2-9. You will go home with some new communication tools to use in your classroom.


Ariel Cohn runs Tree of Life Montessori in SE Portland.

Dugma Ishit: Helping Madrichim become a positve role model for younger students: Ben Sandler - Education Director for Congregation Beth Israel in Portland, Oregon

In this interactive and fun workshop madrichim will learn strategies for being a positive role model for younger students in the Religious School classroom setting. 

Ben Sandler earned a Master’ Degree in Religious Education at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, and a Master’s of Education with certifications in Special Education and School Administration from Portland State University, and an English Language Learner certification from Lewis and Clark College.

Creating a Minimalist Classroom Environment: Candace Rothstein - Preschool teacher at Congregation Neveh Shalom

Does a mess scare you? Do you ever feel that your kiddos are running in circles around the classroom, dumping toys, and causing perceived chaos? Combining expert research and personal experience, I will be discussing the benefits of a minimalist classroom environment. In this session, we will learn about the positive impacts of a minimalist classroom: on students, on teachers, and on the environment. We will explore practical solutions for different ages and different classrooms. This session is intended for Early Childhood Educators with some application for Elementary School classrooms. 

Candace Rothstein has been teaching for the past eight years in different capacities and with different age groups: from toddlers to college age students. This is her second year working in the Jewish education world, and she plans on continuing in this world for years to come!

Social Media in the Classroom and Beyond: Duncan Gilman - Digital Media Associate, PJ Library

Social media has opened up countless new resources for teaching and channels for communicating with parents and other student advocates. In this session we'll examine social media use from several angles: enriching the classroom experience, relaying information to families and adult students, and helping teenagers and parents understand their digital footprint.

Duncan Gilman's career in media includes social media management, training social media managers, and documentary television. Currently Duncan is Digital Media Associate for PJ Library, where he contributes to online content and customer service. Previously, Duncan taught an online social media marketing certification course through Full Sail University, and since moving to Portland, OR has been providing his own video and social media consulting to local nonprofits. Duncan and his wife Eve (Assistant Rabbi at Congregation Neveh Shalom) have been known to post a few photos of their two children on Facebook . . . just a few.

"Kvetching: The Real Message Behind Those Complaints.": Katie Schneider - Education Director at Congregation Shir Tikvah

"My kid is bored." "Your snacks are unhealthy." "No one volunteers." Kvetching might be a common pastime in the Jewish world, but that doesn't mean it is pleasant to be on the receiving end. This session delves deeper into what those complaints might mean and what you can do to address the underlying issues. We'll spend time sharing ideas and solutions with other educators.

Katie Schneider is acreative writer by training, Katie has been working in Jewish classrooms for the past twelve years and managing teachers for five. She no longer aims for that mythical day when she leaves work without hearing at least one complaint.

Holding your God in Awe: The Shema in its context​: Rabbi Cherie Koller-Fox -  Founder of CAJE and NewCAJE

In this session, we will look at the Shema in its context in the Bible. While the Shma is central to Judaism, its meaning is not entirely clear. What do these important words mean in their context and what do they mean to us today? This session will also demonstrate an approach to studying text with children and adults. 

Rabbi Cherie Koller-Fox is a founder of CAJE and NewCAJE. She currently serves as NewCAJE Board President. Before that she was Rabbi Educator at Congregation Eitz Chayim in Cambridge Massa chusetts and served as President of the Academy for Jewish Religion New York. She is an innovator in family education and the teaching of Bible and prayer occupies a special place in her heart.  ​

1 in 5 - Language Processing Challenges: Sandra Nemer - Park Academy OG Reading Specialist and 5th grade teacher

How to recognize dyslexia or language processing challenges and teach toward individual strengths of students.


Sandy Nemer, M.E.d. is an Associate in Orton Gilingham and specializes in teaching children with language processing challenges. She consults with parents on how to advocate for their child as well as teachers in their classroom. She is currently working on becoming a Dyslexia Therapist through the IDA (International Dyslexia Association). She currently teaches 5th grade and reading classes at Park Academy, a private school for students who have language processing challenges such as Dyslexia. She is a mom of 3, loves to hike mountains, read and ski.