School of Education Alumni Association Offers Unique Limud and Leadership Opportunities

The School of Education Alumni Association members
Rabbi Jennifer Goldsmith and David M. Scott, R.J.E., M.A.R.E. (SOEAA Co-Chairs)

The School of Education Alumni Association (SOEAA) is animated by five pillars: kehillah (building community), kavod (honor), limud (learning), t’micha (financial support), and l’dor vador (cultivating the next generation). The mission of the SOEAA is to create a community among the graduates of the School of Education (SOE) that addresses the ongoing needs of alumni, the SOE, and HUC-JIR. Over the last 18 months we have been working on building out these pillars. The kehillah group helped to create and coordinate the HUC-ing events: opportunities for alumni to virtually learn together and share what is going on in their lives and within their communities.

This past Spring, the limud group offered three alumni courses that had three sessions each with about 7-12 participants in each and were a big success. The groups enjoyed coming together every other week to learn, ask questions, and focus on leadership in a time of change. We were excited and proud to be able to offer these to our SOEAA:

Pastoral Care for Educators – What Role Can You Play?

Facilitator: Rabbi Melissa Zalkin Stollman, MARE, ’08

In this interactive 3-part course, participants were invited to mark this moment in time, beginning to understand how the last two years has affected each of us both professionally and personally.  They wrestled with what it means to live in periods of crisis and trauma, thinking about to support families during these long periods of time and how to find the strength to consistently pivot. They also explored concepts of safety in our current reality.

Leading with Gravitas

Facilitators: Dr. Michael Zeldin, Professor Emeritus of Jewish Education and Tamara Gropper, MAJE, ’94

Designed for mid-career alumni, this small cohort experience explored “Leading with Gravitas.” In this four-session exploration participants examined how “leading with gravitas” shows up in their lives, where it shows up in their organizations and how learning to use it can deepen their impact on their communities.

Leading Change in Jewish Education

Facilitator: Rabbi Laura Novak Winer, EdD, RJE

We are all managing an ever-changing world and the task of bringing quality, authentic Jewish education to our learners. Change is external and situational. Transition is internal and psychological. Distinguishing between and managing these two processes are essential to successfully navigating and leading organizational change. What is the difference between technical change and adaptive change and how do you link the two? What are different ways of using democratic processes to bring about and envision change, and how is that different than strategic planning? We will dig into tools of appreciative inquiry, group-level assessment and other methodologies for working through change. As current professionals in the field, participants joined together in taking a step back to truly reflect on change.

The limud team looks forward to a Fall event featuring Dr. Sivan Zakai in conversation with alumni about her new book, “My Second Favorite Country: How American Jewish Children Think about Israel” (NYU Press). Stay tuned for details!

This coming year we are welcoming additional alumni in positions of leadership as co-chairs of these pillars to lead the teams of volunteers to navigate the future of the SOEAA as they learn, grow and network with each other.

Our t’micha pillar will be launching this year, in consultation with HUC-JIR’s new Vice President for Advancement, Melissa Greenberg.

If you are interested to learn more or are interested in getting involved, please reach out to Rabbi Jennifer Goldsmith ( and David M. Scott, RJE, MARE (