5 Towns Sunday: Jewish ed confab


The Young Israel of Woodmere is hosting a wide-ranging educational conference this Sunday, June 29, bringing together 36 rabbis, teachers, and psychologists from across the Orthodox spectrum from the U.S. and Israel.

The Five Towns Community Collaborative Conference, the brainchild of Rabbi Reuven Taragin, dean of overseas students at Yeshivat Hakotel in Jerusalem, is focusing on educating parents on how to be educators of their children.

“Schools are necessary to help parents educate their children, but education is primarily the parents’ responsibility,” with the Torah charging parents with the responsibility, Rabbi Taragin told The Jewish Star from Israel.

The conference begins with Shacharit at 8:30 am, is free and open to the general public.

Two keynote speakers will kick off the event — Rabbi Yaakov Bender, rosh yeshiva of Yeshiva Darchei Torah in Far Rockaway, and Rabbi Naftali Jaeger, rosh yeshiva of Sh’or Yoshuv Institute in Lawrence.

From 10:20 am to 2:20 pm, there will be 36 breakout sessions led by shul rabbonim, representatives of community schools, roshei yeshiva and principals, speakers from seminaries and yeshivot in Israel, and speakers from other organizations.

At 2:20 pm, Rabbi Herschel Schachter, rosh yeshiva at Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary, Yeshiva University, in Manhattan, will deliver the third keynote address. The program will conclude with mincha.

Sheri Hammer, chair of the event, whose son attended Hakotel, said an event like this has never been organized before.

“We are trying to include everyone in the Orthodox community,” she said.“We are trying to cover a wide breadth of topics and have something for every parent. There is no parent guidebook (for educating children). Hopefully, we could always learn.”

Rabbi Taragin said that he has plans for similar conferences in Chicago, Toronto, London and Israel. This Sunday, a similar conference is scheduled in Teaneck.

“The sessions highlight the importance of education and the important role parents play and can learn to do it as best as they can.” He stressed the “wide hashkafic (perspective on Jewish law and philosophy) spectrum” that “shows achdut (unity), highlighting what unites us as opposed to what separates us. We are 99 percent similar, there is so much more we share.”

He stressed the maxim from Ethics of the Fathers, “Who is wise? One who learns from every person,” noting that is “true of all people, rabbis and educators.”

He pointed out that Yeshivat HaKotel initiated similar programs to bring together different yeshivot and recently did so, bringing rabbanim of different yeshivot to Hakotel on Hoshana Rabba.

For this Sunday’s event, “every organization was excited and jumped at the opportunity,” he said.

The conference is being held at this time in the year because it is “the seam,” between the school year and summer when people are away. He said it’s geared for parents but singles and college age students are welcome to attend as well. “The format brings schools and educators together, [so] it’s natural for them to be speaking about education.”

He anticipates future educational conferences. “They have a lot more to share with parents, a lot more material,” he said.

“I’m optimistic that it will be a success.”

Pre-registration is requested but not required; walk-ins are welcome. To register go to www.Bit.ly/hakotel5t. A full schedule appears on page 2 of this week’s Jewish Star.