July 20, 2024
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Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb Inspires Bruriah Educators

Bruriah teachers participated in a professional development program this past week, focused on engaging in meaningful self-care. This program built upon an initiative started by the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ that featured a workshop series on student and teacher mental health in the earlier part of the school year. Author and speaker. Jamie Sussel Turner presented a webinar to staff in November about the approach to stress reduction that she developed based on her experience as an educator. This week’s presentation was given by one of the foremost leaders in Jewish life in North America and worldwide, Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb, executive vice president, emeritus of the Orthodox Union and noted lecturer and author.

Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb provided an important Torah perspective on the self-care journey in these challenging times. Bruriah Principal Esther Eisenman, shared that “Our faculty needed guidance for themselves so that they can flourish and thrive while they help our students flourish and thrive. There is no better person than Rabbi Weinreb to address Torah educators at this moment in time. I personally found his talk to be uplifting and highly relevant.” The hour long presentation provided insight, inspiration and chizuk to Bruriah’s teaching staff and leadership. One participant noted that “The reminder to focus on mindfulness and tefillah was helpful. I also appreciated the breadth of Torah and secular sources he used to support his ideas.”

Shira Hammerman, director of Faculty Learning and Professional Development at the Jewish Educational Center organized the program and expressed that “We felt it was essential for Rabbi Weinreb to provide chizuk to our faculty in light of the immense challenges they have faced this year. Our teachers are the heart of our school. They keep our students learning, growing, and smiling, and we felt it was important to provide them with the energy and resilience they need to sustain their important work.” The knowledge of feeling supported was palpable, as teachers left the program refreshed as they leave school for midwinter vacation.

Participants received spa care packages to utilize during the break to recharge and identify ways that they could incorporate self-care more meaningfully into their busy lives as educators. They will also receive the book by Jamie Sussel Turner, “Less Stress Life: How I Went From Crazed to Calm and You Can Too.” Dr. Shoshana Friedman, Bruriah’s director of Guidance, will be facilitating a book discussion group when teachers return from midwinter vacation. Bruriah and the entire JEC intends to continue these professional development opportunities, as the impact was evident. It was an exceptional program, offering practical tools to the valuable Bruriah team.

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