“Heart and soul” was the title of the 11th LSJS Primary Jewish Studies teachers’ conference, originally planned to be a great face to face celebration of returning to Jewish life in schools post-covid. Still in the midst of the pandemic, 165 participants zoomed in to an on line conference instead. The Chief Rabbi’s opening address talked about the symbol of continuity through the sedra of Mishpatim, the value of feeling the beauty of, and experiencing Jewish life, and not only learning about it.

Following the keynote, participants chose from a range of 18 sessions, from sessions on wellbeing, to thinking about the inclusive classroom, to strategies from the Talmud to help us in our Jewish studies teaching. The day ended with an inspirational panel discussion on the challenges and opportunities facing teachers in a post-covid era.

Orah Soller, Deputy Head of Jewish Studies at Morasha Jewish Primary school said, “Brilliant job today! All the lectures thoroughly delivered on this year’s theme of heart and soul, which is exactly what is needed right now – thank you so much LSJS”.

Joanne Greenaway, executive director of LSJS, said “Jewish Studies teachers hold such critical roles and their impact on our children cannot be estimated. We are thrilled that through this conference we continue to provide innovative ideas and strategies to support them and a much needed space to come together and reflect. Excellence in teaching ultimately transforms the community and we are wholly committed to that aim”.

Conference co-chairs, Dr. Helena Miller and Esther Colman were delighted to see how many practical ideas for different areas of the Jewish Studies curriculum could be adapted for use in school the very next day. In addition, Dr. Miller said “Jewish education is not just what we teach, but how we teach it. Our teachers are role models for the children in their schools, and today’s conference showed how important that is for the heart and soul of every classroom”.

LSJS also hosted the Head of Kodesh forum on Monday night which saw 20 senior leaders of Jewish Studies in schools come together to discuss challenges in schools pre and post covid.

For more information on teacher training or degrees at LSJS please visit ww.lsjs.ac.uk or call 020 8203 6427.