On Monday, Chai Elul, Released Time kicked off the school year of 5784, gathering the teachers with a conference filled with insightful workshops and engaging discussions and several guest speakers.
Hosted at the Anshe Sholom Chabad Center in Kew Gardens, Queens, NY. The teachers arrived to enjoy a lavish lunch as they were welcomed by the Chairman of the NCFJE’s Released Time program, Rabbi Sholem B. Hecht.
Rabbi Hecht spoke of the importance of education and how impactful the one hour of Released Time can be. “The Rebbe was personally involved with establishing the details of Released Time,” said Rabbi Hecht, “To this very day we know and feel that the Rebbe’s Brachos continue to flow into every detail of the program.”
The conference commenced with opening words from the program’s director Rabbi Shazak Zirkind and continued with an enlightening session led by Rabbi Yehoshua Lustig, Principal in Ohlei Torah. Rabbi Lustig, renowned for his expertise in education, shared invaluable insights on creating structure for a one-hour class. His engaging and interactive presentation demonstrated practical techniques that teachers could implement in the classroom, making the learning experience both meaningful and enjoyable.
Rabbi Lustig’s session set the tone for the rest of the day, emphasizing the importance of innovative teaching methods within the Released Time program. Following this, Rabbi Shlomo Zarchi, renowned Mashpia of 770 took the stage to discuss how the Released Time program is an integral part of Seder HaYeshivah. R’ Shlomo continued to say “I envy the Bochurim who take Released Time seriously and make it a priority in their week. It is true Hiskashrus.”
As the day progressed, Shliach to Prescott Arizona Rabbi Eli Filler, addressed the crucial task of recruiting more children into the program. With a heartwarming passion for outreach and education, Rabbi Filler shared personal experiences highlighting successful strategies for increasing program enrollment. Assistant Director of the Released Time program Rabbi Yehoshua Shneur addressed the practical demands of a Released Time teacher and then began to allocate the new teachers to their respective schools.
The pact-filled day concluded with a most elegant sit-down dinner catered by Hildeshaim catering and music by Eliyahu Gorman. Noted philanthropist and longtime friend of the NCFJE, Mr. Charles Kupferman encouraged the new group of teachers with heartfelt words and awarded teacher Mendel Holtzberg for his outstanding dedication to the Released Time program in the previous year.
The highlight of the conference was undoubtedly the keynote address during dinner, by Chabad Shliach to Bel Air California, Rabbi Chaim Mentz. As an influential advocate for Jewish education, Rabbi Mentz delivered an inspiring speech that left attendees uplifted and excited. He shared anecdotes from his own journey as a Shliach, emphasizing the profound impact that Released Time has on the lives of thousands of children.
Rabbi Mentz’s words resonated deeply with the audience, reinforcing their commitment to the program’s mission and igniting a renewed sense of purpose.
As the Conference drew to a close, attendees left with a sense of empowerment and renewed enthusiasm for their roles as Shluchim and mentors. The knowledge and insights gained from the sessions left a lasting impact.
The Released Time Teachers Conference was not only a gathering of young educators but also a reaffirmation of the Released Time program’s vital role in fostering the spiritual growth of young minds by Chabad Lubavitch. The teachers left uplifted and inspired and are ready to begin their mission one week at a time, one Neshama at a time.
Released Time program is the flagship program of the National Committee for Furtherance of Jewish Education. Since its inception in 1941, more than 300,000 public school students received a fun Jewish education through the program.
The Released Time program would like to express special gratitude to the renowned Dayan and Shliach to Kew Gardens Queens, Rabbi Mordechai Zev Hecht, for his generous hospitality in hosting the conference at his beautiful newly renovated Chabad House.