10 January 2009

CAJE conference canceled, downsizes

JTA reported that the Coalition for the Advancement of Jewish Education (CAJE) is canceling its annual conference because of ongoing financial difficulties.

For 33 years, CAJE had been the central professional development resource for supplementary and Hebrew School teachers.

From my own experiences, I can attest to the fact that program presenters were at the cutting edge of creative, quality Jewish education, and included innovators of programs successfully instituted around the world. International attendees were invigorated and inspired by the camaraderie offered by so many superb educators - who cared so much about Jewish education.

Last year's conference drew 1,500; every few years it was held in Israel. The 2009 conference had been set for San Antonio, Texas.

Executive director Jeffrey Lasday made the announcement in a mass email message sent Friday morning:
"As you are aware, this is a very difficult time for Jewish not-for-profit agencies in general and it is also an especially tough time for us at CAJE,” Lasday wrote. "Due to the current dramatic economic downturn coupled with the financial constraints faced by our members' organizations, congregations and schools, the CAJE leadership has had to face the inescapable conclusion that CAJE can no longer offer our distinctive services to the field, and that we will be unable to convene the CAJE conference in 2009."

Significant staff firings are expected, and the conference director and director of development have already been laid off.

CAGE is now discussing with the Jewish Education Service of North America (JESNA) about filling the professional services hole created by this turn of events.

Read the complete story at the JTA link above.

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