Hogwarts School of Mensch-craft and Menschery: treating pop culture as sacred text: Ilana Jaffe - teacher at Neveh shalom foundation school

This session is meant to encourage educators to use their students’ unique interests as teaching tools. Pop Culture, for example, seems to keep our students’ attention more deeply than we can. How can we use their interests to enrich their Jewish learning experience? As a group, we will go through a lesson plan designed for a 4th grade Judaics class. There will then be time after to brainstorm your own ideas. Interested in changing or uplifting your classroom, workplace, board meetings...


Ilana Jaffe has worked in Jewish education for 5 years. She is an artist and a published children’s author. She believes in the power of stories and is passionate about emotional intelligence education in all ages.

Gaming Hebrew: Maya Varon, Mor Yelvington and Etti Segal - Founders of Ivrit Israelit, Hebrew teachers at Aliyah

Using a combination of games, songs and crafts, you will learn ways to make learning Hebrew fun! You will get lots of tools and ideas as well as examples of games and crafts to transform Hebrew teaching into an exciting experience your elementary students will enjoy and remember!  


Etti Segal was born and raised in Yeroham, Israel. She earned a LLB specializing in Torts and Labor Law from the College of Management Academic Studies. Etti has years of experience in teaching language, from her teaching role in the IDF through numerous organizations where she worked with children of all ages, to her current role teaching Hebrew at Aliyah. When Ettie isn't busy helping new Israeli families get acquainted with the Portland area she loves to read, work out and spend time with her family. Currently, Etti resides in Hillsboro with her husband and two children. 

Maya Varon was born and raised in Hadera, Israel. She earned a B.A. with High Honors in Land of Israel Studies from Haifa University and a Diploma Cum Laude in Jewish Studies from Paideia - The European Institute for Jewish Studies in Sweden. Maya has decades of experience in various roles teaching students of all ages, developing and presenting learning material, as well as management in education institutions. 
Maya loves to travel and experience different cultures and places. She is a certified tour guide in Israel with a passion for biblical archeology. Maya currently lives in Portland with her husband and three young daughters. 

Mor Yelvington grew up in Israel in a moshav in the Golan Heights. She was involved in the local youth movement and rose to the position of leader and director of the program. Mor honed her teaching skills as a commander in the IDF and has been teaching Hebrew to children at Aliyah for the past 5 years. Mor loves cooking, traveling and meeting new people. She lives in Hillsboro with her husband and three young children.

Creative Ways to Bring Jewish Traditions into your Home or Early Childhood Classroom:  Mimi Wilhelm - Director at The Gan Preschool

In this class I will lead on discussion on ways we can engage children in Jewish traditions using all their senses and being an active part of the learning process. I will share many practical ideas and tips that can be brought into their home or classroom. (for families or educators with children ages 5 & under).


Morah Mimi has been working in Early Childhood classrooms for many years, first in New York and in Portland for the last ten years. Morah Mimi believes that childhood is a beautiful time and that children should be supported for their own their own unique gifts to emerge. Morah Mimi received her Master’s degree in education from Aspen University and did her undergrad through Empire State College in New York. Mimi has taken numerous continued education courses including conferences at Stanford University in California, Bank Street College in New York, and the Opal School in Portland, OR.

What About Nourishing My Own Soul?: Rabbi Barry Cohen - Community Chaplain/Jewish Federation of Greater Portland

As teachers, we strive to nourish our students' souls with Jewish wisdom, traditions, stories and rituals. Along the way, it is easy to fall into the trap of forgetting to nourish our own souls and burning out. Rabbi Cohen will offer guidance so that teachers remain spiritually energized, excited and engaged.


Rabbi Barry Cohen received his ordination at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. In the past he has served as a congregational rabbi and editor of a Jewish newspaper. Rabbi Cohen has middle-school-aged fraternal twins. They moved here from Chicago. 

Find Your Why: Carmel Alon - Pacific Northwest High School Coordinator/ StandWithUs

This session will engage students leaders at the most important level by helping identify what motivates them to commit their time, energy and talent to their causes.  We will cover the importance of knowing your purpose, your why, and how to effectively share it with others. not only will we learn to construct our WHY but through the process we can also discover WHYs that we didn't know existed.  


Carmel Alon was born in Haifa, Israel and has brought her love and passion for her homeland to the United States. After moving to Sacramento, CA at a young age, Carmel continued her education at San Diego State University where she graduated Magna Cum Laude in International Security and Conflict Resolution. Throughout college she held various leadership positions and participated in multiple internships including spending a summer in Tel Aviv as a research assistant for the former Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations. In her position as Pacific Northwest High School Coordinator she is given the opportunity to empower high school students and their communities in the region with the ability to learn and teach others about Israel while also helping them navigate their identity in relation to Israel. Carmel is excited to bring her numerous skills, unwavering passion, and vast experiences to this conference.

Positive teachers, positive students: Creating a Culture of Appreciation:  Sarah Rohr - K - Ivrit Morah- Congregation Neveh Shalom

Culture change is not just about managing fear, culture change happens when we can see and feel the goodness in ourselves and simultaneously seeing the goodness in others.


Sarah Rohr teaches children, teens, adults and elders, in meditation, embodied arts, visual arts, storytelling and music. Her focus is creating and holding safe, joyful, open spaces for people to contact the fullness of their resources. When we are in touch with our gifts, less effort is needed and flow states are easier to access. 

Celebrating & Validating verses Tolerating & Accepting: Rachel Hall - URJ Program Manager as well as CPC (Certified Professional Coach)​

Focus on true diversity inclusion in our community with respect to race, class, and gender. What does it mean to celebrate our differences as Jews, rather than tolerate? What does that look like in our classrooms and our board rooms? What does that look like in our lesson plans and teaching styles? The materials we use? The posters we hang? The parsha's we choose and the songs we sing? What assumptions can we stop making about our students?


Rachel Hall has over 10 years of experience working with diverse communities in the non-profit sector in addition to 15 years of experience working one on one with families with small children. She has spent the past 7 years focusing on non-profit management, fundraising, and leadership development. She is passionate about pro-active communication and goal setting. When Rachel supervises members of her own staff she empowers them to produce the best results by inspiring them to take risks both professionally and personally.