Life Lessons from the 2013 North American Jewish Day School Conference

Over 900 Jewish educators representing the entire spectrum of Jewish Day School education have gathered outside of Washington D.C. for this year’s annual conference. Here’s a partial list of takeaways… It would be great for others to add to this list!

1. Food. There’s either too much or too little; there’s hardly ever the perfect amount.

2. At every Conference there’s 1) The “C”onference and 2) the “c”onference. Most of us attend both (or all three).

3. When we’re all wearing the same lanyard no one is a stranger. Having said that, most of us still haven’t found a way to have our name tags facing the right direction for more than a few minutes at a time. Someone should really invent a lanyard that is able to effectively and consistently fulfill its core mission.

4. Impromptu song sessions in the elevator are a lot of fun.

5. Pause and reflect before checking into a room located immediately next to the elevator just because you want to dump your luggage. Turns out the conversation from the elevator to the room is the most animated one of all, tinged with the awareness of imminent conclusion. Thank you everyone for sharing!

6. The main thing we take with us isn’t an idea, technique, or trick, but the conversations we have and the relationships we nurture and form.

7. It’s exceedingly difficult to capture the imagination of several hundred people in a ballroom. Bless those who try and succeed!

8. If you want sushi during the nosh hour it is good to be at the front of the line. Otherwise you’ll have to settle for a dollop of wasabi and pickled ginger amidst the battle zone of tattered maki and fallen rice.

9. There’s something powerful and purposeful that drives each of us. It’s exciting to connect with our own purpose and with others.

10. Frequent hand washing does a successful conference make.

11. Our work in Jewish day schools is enhanced by outside perspectives and expertise.

12. Access to windows and daylight is definitely a quality of life issue.

13. We never know how we might impact or influence someone, often in the most mundane of situations.

14. Time is like food. There’s either too much or too little; there’s hardly ever the perfect amount.


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