Deborah Niederman, RJE, Installed as President of the National Association of Temple Educators

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Deborah Niederman, RJE, was installed as President of the National Association of Temple Educators (NATE) on December 25, 2012 at NATE's Annual Conference in Pheonix, AZ.  Deborah is an alumna of the Rhea Hirsch School of Education at the Jack H. Skirball Campus in Los Angeles and currently serves HUC-JIR as the Coordinator of Alumni Engagement for the Schools of Education Alumni Associations and Coordinator, Induction and Retention Initiative, Jim Joseph Foundation Education Initiative. Deborah's presidency will begin on July 1, 2013, following outgoing president Lisa Lieberman Barzilai, also an alumna of the Rhea Hirsch School of Education.

During her installation address, Deborah stated, "Our Values Statement reads,  'As Reform Jews we choose to stand in a covenantal relationship to God, to Torah, and to the people, land and State of Israel (Am Yisrael, Eretz Yisrael, and Medinat Yisrael). As Jewish educators within the Reform Movement, we are committed to the values that enable us to develop this covenantal relationship for ourselves.'  This statement is a reminder that the work that we do is not just work, but rather for many of us, a calling - something that can fill the bank account, but more importantly fills the heart and the soul. While professional learning is central to who we are as an organization, learning of our sacred text must be a part of what we do and can serve as a guide to enable us to fulfill our mission."

Deborah has been in the field of Jewish Education for twenty years, serving congregations in New Jersey, Florida, and Ohio. In addition to serving as a congregational educator, she worked for the Union for Reform Judaism for nearly ten years. She has devoted much of her career to mentoring new colleagues in the field, curriculum development, building leadership and change capacity, and professional development. 

Deborah devotes a great deal of time to supporting Jewish education as a volunteer. She has been on the Board of the NATE for fifteen years and has served a variety of leadership roles. She has served on the Advisory Board of the Center for Jewish Education in Dallas for the past six years and currently chairs the Strategic Planning Committee and the Community of Educators Committee.

Dr. Michael Zeldin, Senior National Director of the Schools of Education, notes, "I am confident that Deborah will bring the same gifts she has brought to her work with alumni at HUC-JIR's Schools of Education to her work as NATE President.  Her passion for Jewish education informs all that she does for us, and will no doubt be the mark of her leadership of NATE."

Joy Wasserman, RJE, National Director of Alumni Engagement, explains, "Deborah's training as a Jewish educational leader at the Rhea HIrsch School of Education has prepared her to lead NATE  with vision and skill into the future."

Dr. Rob Weinberg, Project Manager, Jim Joseph Foundation Education Initiative, HUC-JIR, remarks, "Deborah’s long service both in and to the field of Jewish education testifies to the level of dedication and passion she brings to her new role as President of NATE. The commitment that she brings to nurturing our newest Schools of Education alumni as they transition from academia to the workplace and to cultivating our more seasoned alumni as mentors will surely translate into her NATE presidency as well."

NATE is the professional organization of Jewish educators of the Reform Movement. Through members working in partnership across the United States as well as in Canada, Great Britain, Israel, Australia, and South Africa, NATE serves a wide variety of Jewish organizations by working to strengthen Reform Jewish religious education. Learn more about NATE.


Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is North America's first institution of higher Jewish education and the academic, spiritual, and professional leadership development center of Reform Judaism. HUC-JIR educates men and women for service to North American and world Jewry as rabbis, cantors, educators, and nonprofit management professionals, and offers graduate programs to scholars and clergy of all faiths. With centers of learning in Cincinnati, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, and New York, HUC-JIR's scholarly resources comprise the renowned Klau Library, the American Jewish Archives, research institutes and centers, and academic publications. In partnership with the Union for Reform Judaism and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, HUC-JIR sustains the Reform Movement's congregations and professional and lay leaders. HUC-JIR's campuses invite the community to cultural and educational programs illuminating Jewish heritage and fostering interfaith and multiethnic understanding. www.huc.edu