Jewish Educational Services (JES), an agency of The Associated: Jewish Federation of Baltimore, invited Rabbi Daniel Kalish, Rosh Yeshiva of the Mesivta in Waterbury, CT, to be the keynote speaker at their annual “Inspired Education” event for local educators. This program is part of a wide array of professional development and teacher appreciation programs offered by JES to promote excellence in Jewish education in the Baltimore community. Other initiatives include the New Teacher Cohort, Mental Wellness Summit, Jewish Education Expo, Educator Awards, Todah Teachers, Professional Development Conferences, and much more.
With 150 people in attendance, Rabbi Kalish ignited the room with motivation for connection. His charge to the educators was to be authentic and develop real relationships with talmidim where they feel seen and accepted. “We are fiery souls put in an earthly world meant for a big mission,” asserted Rabbi Kalish. “We need to see ourselves that way and really see each student that way.” During the Question and Answers session, a teacher inquired, “What do you do when a student continues to challenge the teacher and show chutzpah?” The answer, he said, is for the teacher to not internalize the insult and instead, work on themselves to respect the neshama in each talmid and talmida to bring out their best. “Respect might be one of the most important tasks in our life,” he said. “Respecting things unleashes the force that’s in them. Respect a mitzvah and it impacts you. Respect a person’s neshama and you bring out that person’s neshama.”
JES also invited principals of local yeshivas and day schools to have a special intimate session with the Rosh Yeshiva prior to the community event. He encouraged the importance of cultivating a warm and close relationship between staff members so they feel a sense of family. “You can’t be warm to students unless you’re warm to each other,” he said, and emphasized the need for “Ahava” and “excitement.”
“Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I attended both sessions last night and they were both amazing,” wrote Rabbi Eli Greengart, Director of Alumni Relations at Ner Yisroel. This was just one of the many expressions of appreciation that flooded JES staff.
JES is committed to bringing in speakers to galvanize the chinuch community and gain inspiration throughout the school year. Stay tuned for next year’s spectacular event!
For more information about programs and services at JES, including the confidential JES Teacher HelpLine, please contact Yael Zelinger, JES Day School Liaison (firstname.lastname@example.org).