Shalom Life | July 01, 2014

Talented CIE Troika Graduate from Yeshiva U’s Experiential Jewish Education Course

The Toronto graduates include Lior Cyngiser, Alana Saxe, and Shauna Waltman

By: Dan Horowitz

Published: July 3rd, 2014 in News » World

It’s been said that good things come in threes, and perhaps nobody personifies that old adage better than Lior Cyngiser, Alana Saxe and Shauna Waltman, three staff members with Toronto’s Canada Israel Experience.

The talented troika graduated July 1st with a Certificate in Experiential Jewish Education (EJE) from Yeshiva University, providing them with the latest tools guaranteed to enhance and expand their already impressive list of talents and abilities, all of which will benefit those who participate in CIE programs.

“I am so proud of Shauna, Lior and Alana for their dedication to this program which transfers to the great work they are doing,” says Michael Soberman, National Director, Canada Israel Experience, Jewish Federations of Canada. “I have always known they were stars, and now the people at Yeshiva University know that too. Their commitment to professional growth and acquiring the skills to enable them to do their work even better is something I admire.”

The Yeshiva University course was comprised of four major components:

1. Imparting Values – designing the content of an experience to ensure that enables learners to encounter, explore and challenge themselves to understand and internalize important Jewish values.

2. Creating Experiences – creating memorable experiences that capitalize on environment and space, sensory stimulation and multiple intelligence’s.

3. Cultivating Communities of Learners – understanding how people internalize the lessons we teach so that staff can create more “aha” moments that inspire them to connect to their Jewish identity and community.

4. Self Development – deepening the understanding of their own leadership and educational style so that they can serve as stronger role models.

In addition to the program itself – which consisted of three 10-day sessions – the CIE staff was also challenged to integrate what they had learned into the work place. They have applied the lessons to enhance the March of the Living, Birthright Israel, social media and CIE’s leadership development programming with great impact.

“Albert Einstein said, ‘Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value,’” says Cyngiser. “This statement sums up my learning from the EJE Certificate program. My mission as an Experiential Jewish Educator is clear. It is to add value in my learners’ journey not by telling them what or how to think or feel, but rather by crafting experiences that purposefully and intentionally take into account who they are as individuals, who they are as a group, the relevancy of the content, and instilling in them a sense of agency so they can answer it on their own.”

“The EJE program has not only reshaped my approach towards creating meaningful experiences, but it too has redirected how I want to develop, grow and thrive as a Jewish educator, and more importantly, as a Jew,” says Saxe. “This program drove me to confront personal and professional challenges and has instilled in me a deepened desire to explore a command of our field far beyond the classroom. I’ve learned that values sit at the core of every lesson we aim to teach, and by imparting Jewish values, we are able to navigate our learners towards a revolutionary and extremely personal journey.”

“I am deeply grateful to this program and for Michael Soberman who invested in me to go,” says Waltman. “In my ten years as a Jewish professional, I have never experienced such powerful development. I know this will make me a more powerful professional and educator as I move forward and I am so excited to continue applying what I’ve learned to strengthen the work that we do in the community. While the title of the course is “Experiential Jewish Education” the lessons, strategies and tools can be applied across the board – whether to fundraising, engagement or marketing.”


Photo Caption: Toronto Graduates from Yeshiva University’s Experiential Jewish Education Course. (left to right) Jennifer Diamond – Ulpana; Miriam Bessin – Ulpana; Alana Saxe – March of the Living; Lior Cyngiser – CIE/Community Connect; Shauna Waltman – CIE/Community Connect; Elise Loterman – Hillel of GTA

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