Monthly Meet Ups

Meet Ups

Meet Ups are conference calls hosted by ECE-RJ Members with designated topics. Each free session is one hour in length. Calls will include rich discussions about the topic at hand.


July 2017 Meet Up Conference Call

July 24, 2017

3:00 - 4:00 p.m. (EST)

"Using Legos to Build Social Competencies"

Host: Jessica Frank, Learning Specialist

Jessica Frank has dedicated her life to advocating for individuals with special needs and their families.  She graduated with her Bachelors in Applied Learning and Development from the University of Texas, received her Masters in Special Education from the University of North Texas and has completed all of her coursework for her PhD in Special Education from the University of North Texas. She has worked in both the public and private sector with with children and adults with special needs.  In addition to teaching in elementary and early childhood settings, she has worked with adults with special needs in therapeutic, home based and dayhabilitation environments.  For the past five years she has worked as the Learning Specialist at Temple Emanu-El Early Childhood Education Center in Dallas, TX. 

Lego Clubs are an evidence based strategy used to build communication, team building, and collaboration.  Due to the motivating nature of Legos, they are an ideal tool to use to enhance various play skills.  With the help of a facilitator, groups of three children have the opportunity to practice the skills necessary to play collaboratively.  One of the focal points behind the Lego Club philosophy is that each child has a specific job and the only way to complete the chosen Lego design is to work together.

Lego Clubs traditionally consist of three members and each member has a specific job.  These jobs include engineer, parts supplier and builder.  It is the responsibility of the engineer to look at the directions and describe to the parts supplier which Lego pieces he needs to collect.  After the parts supplier has the necessary pieces, he hands them over to the builder, who assembles them with the directions provided by the engineer.  This can be a very challenging process of young children and occasionally, children need to be reminded to use their words and not their hands when describing how to assemble the pieces.  Each time we turned to a new page of directions, the jobs switch.  This allows each member to have an opportunity in each job and practice those job skills.


Access to the July 24, 2017 Meet Up Conference Call

To join this free online video-conference event, please follow the links in your registration email or join from your  PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android: Or join by phone: +1 646 558 8656 (US Toll) or +1 408 638 0968 (US Toll) Meeting ID: 742 743 2203

*If you don’t have audio/video on your computer, please call in AS WELL AS click on the link so you can view the presentation while listening/participating on the phone.

Suggest a Topic

ECE-RJ is looking for your suggestions of topics or presenters that would be of interest for future Meet Up Conference Calls. Please email Shelly Sender at or provide your suggestion in this online survey.

Social Media Promotions


Host: Jennie Rubin

Jennie Rubin, First VP, Early Childhood Educators of Reform Judaism, provides an insightful and engaging overview of the power of social media as a marketing tool. 

The insightful PowerPoint presentation "Goodbye Paper Ads! Marketing in Social Media" introduces the benefits and advantages of the four basic social media platforms.  

Click HERE for the PowerPoint Presentation.

Audacious Hospitality


Host: Dr. Carly Goldberg

Dr. Carly Goldberg is the associate director of Audacious Hospitality for the Union for Reform Judaism. Prior to her work at the URJ, Dr. Goldberg maintained a private psychotherapy practice specializing in women’s mental health and trauma. Over the past 15 years, Dr. Goldberg has served in a multitude of capacities as a clinician, educator, researcher, and speaker in the field of social work, engaging with some of society’s most underserved and vulnerable populations. Dr. Goldberg’s current professional areas of interest explore how we deepen empathy and cultivate compassion among misunderstood and marginalized populations to effect institutional and social change both in the Jewish community and beyond. Dr. Goldberg holds a doctorate in social work from the University of Pennsylvania. She lives in the greater Philadelphia area with her husband and son.

Please read the following documents for more information about Audacious Hospitality:

6 Guiding Principles to Audacious Hospitality

Definition of Audacious Hospitality

Click HERE for an audio recording of the Nov. 2016 Meet Up call.


"Creating a Culture of Innovation"


Host: Chanie Wilschanski, M.S.Ed


Chanie writes, 

"A lot of people know me as the “mom with great ideas” or the “super creative teacher.”

The truth is that I’ve had the privilege of working with 1000+ teachers worldwide!

In 6 continents and 16 different countries.

I empower your teachers to make dramatic shifts in how they operate in their classrooms and how they connect with children.

I guide directors to create the vision and school they have always dreamed about."

The Teacher Matrix

Culture of Innovation

Power Mapping


Host: Cathy Rolland

Cathy Rolland is the Union for Reform Judaism’s Director of Families with Young Children (FwYC).  As part of the Strengthening Congregations team, she oversees all of the URJ’s efforts around Early Childhood Education and Engaging Families with Young Children. Cathy is a founding member and the first president of ECE-RJ. Cathy was the director of Mountain Top School for Young Children at Temple Har Shalom in Warren, New Jersey, for 11 years before joining the URJ.

Cathy is a recent graduate of HUC-JIR, where she received her MA in Jewish Education. She holds a graduate certificate in Jewish Early Childhood Education from Gratz College, and attended the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Cathy and her husband reside in New Jersey, spending as much time as possible visiting their three sons who run their own businesses in Arizona and Colorado. In her spare time Cathy loves to hike, bike and cook for friends and family. 

Power Mapping PowerPoint Presentation


Power Map Example


Audio recording of Power Mapping Meet Up call

Talking About Our Unmentionables


Host: Susie Wexler

Host Susie Wexler is the Director of the Early Childhood Program at the Chava Center. She brings a background in social work, Jewish community work and early childhood education to BJBE.  She is a lifelong learner who brings a passion for research and Jewish exploration to young children, and families and staff.  A consummate educator, she has presented locally and nationally on best practices in early childhood education.  Susie is committed to engaging young families with support and nurturance through developmentally appropriate Jewish education experiences.

Unmentionables are topics that are sensitive in nature.  So…an example could be…”I am not getting along with a board member….” 


Innovative Israel and STEAM Program for Jewish Preschools


Host: Jessica
Yaira Gordon

Join us as Jessica Yaira Gordon explains an innovative opportunity for Jewish preschools to explore STEAM careers and Israel.

Do your students like to tinker, build, and explore? Looking for a new, innovative way to teach about Israel?

This webinar will introduce a new program for Jewish preschools, called Discovering Israel through STEAM Careers (DISC). DISC is a hands-on, play-based program that teaches preschoolers about STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) careers in Israel, like an engineer in Tel Aviv or a marine biologist in Eilat. DISC provides teachers with resources and tools to bring STEAM into their classrooms and share the new and exciting innovations happening in Israel. With over 30 schools across the U.S. already implementing the program, we are excited to share this new opportunity with ECE-RJ schools.

About the Creators:

Allison Bischoff and Jessica Yaira Gordon are passionate educators who are committed to bringing affordable and innovative programs and tools to Jewish preschools. We currently live in St. Louis and are excited to work with schools across the country!

Improve Your Circle Time:  Make It Time Well Spent


Does your circle time feel stale?  Do you wonder if it is effective?  Do you know that you need a new plan for circle time but aren't sure what to do?  Join us for a Meet Up about revitalizing and improving your large group class meeting time.

Host: Cindy Terebush

Cindy Terebush is the author of "Teach the Whole Preschooler:  Strategies for Nurturing Developing Minds." She has worked with children for nearly 20 years. She has experience teaching, directing and consulting in daycare, preschool and school age programs. She is a sought-after workshop facilitator, professional development provider and consultant for early educators and parents.  Cindy has taught Child Development Associate (CDA) courses and is a CDA Professional Development Specialist. Cindy was an online reporter for "The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Pushes Back From The Brink" and is author of the popular blog “Helping Kids Achieve with Cindy Terebush.” 



LGBTQI: Terms and Concerns


Host: Rabbi Sarah Meytin 

Join host Rabbi Sarah Meytin for a discussion of LGBTQI and what it means for early childhood educators. 

Sarah is an ordained rabbi with an MSW. She has significant program development and oversight, community engagement, and nonprofit administration experience. She has 10-plus years of education and teaching experience, including formal classroom education, workshop/ seminars, and educational program facilitation for children and adults of all ages. Sarah has been in early childhood education since 2009, has completed the "90-hour course" in Early Childhood Education, and earned a National Director’s Credential from the McCormick Center for Early Childhood Leadership. She is also an alumna of the Jewish Early Childhood Leadership Institute (JECELI), Cohort 3. Rabbi Meytin is currently the Director of Early Childhood Education at B’nai Shalom of Olney, in Olney, MD. She lives in Silver Spring, MD with her wife, Rachel, and their two children, Coby and Ruthie. 



Exploring Torah Text with Young Children


Learn some innovative approaches to offering young children the actual Torah text, not a story about the text, and engaging in a process that lets each child figure out their own interpretation of the text, through play, projects, and more.

Host: Rebecca Milder


Rebecca Milder is a rabbi and veteran Jewish educator with a Masters degree in educational administration. Her extensive leadership experience spans across formal and informal Jewish education throughout the religious spectrum. Rabbi Rebecca’s professional work has focused on innovative approaches to Jewish learning and community-building. She has revitalized religious schools, reimagined family education programs, and created new educational tracks at camp. In addition, she worked for four years at a central agency for Jewish education, building collaboration among Jewish day schools. She is honored to be building this Jewish Enrichment Center with the children and families of Hyde Park, and our outstanding professional team.

"Exploring Torah Text with Young Children" Handout