Do you know what “Cathy Time” is?
At B’nai Torah, there are periods of “Cathy Time” each week when the Director of our Mirochnick Religious School, Cathy Berkowitz, teaches, sings and tells stories to the children – not in her school, but in our Taubman Early Childhood Center. It’s a time that the little children love. Cathy brings her spirit, knowledge and love, and she entertains and teaches our youngest kids about Jewish holidays, the parshah, and important Jewish values. She is incredible to watch.
We just found out that The Jewish Educators Assembly is recognizing Cathy as ‘Conservative Jewish Educator’ (‘CJE’), a title which the JEA introduced to recognize certain select educators for attaining a standard of achievement in the field of conservative Jewish education. The award recognizes those elite educators who have achieved the highest professional standards of the organization, as a mark of honor. She will be honored next week at a conference.
I am devoting my letter this week to celebrate this. Cathy Berkowitz is a treasure. She is a tireless worker; she leads and supervises a staff of twenty; she is always thinking of new ways to promote Judaism and Jewish values; and she is a significant and serious pedagogue and a true educator through and through.
Most importantly, she does this all with an incredible amount of kindness and humor. She cares deeply for every child, and she cares deeply for B’nai Torah. She is the consummate team player. Every summer she serves as “Rosh Chinuch” at Camp Ramah Drom, where she is refreshed in her vision as she contributes to the education of our campers. And then she returns refreshed in spirit. Cathy is a wonderful wife and mother. She is simply “the best”…and she is ours.
We know that first and foremost, our job is to teach our children and teach our children well. Learning and education are at the heart of the Jewsih experience. And we know that if we do it well when they are young, we have a good shot at creating deep attachments when they get older. After the miracles in Egypt, God’s first concern was that we tell the story to our children!
But the teaching and telling must be done in a way that exudes love and compassion. Cathy’s first goal (she has told me) is to create a school and an environment in which children feel safe, valued and loved. She does that, and that’s why she has been recognized by the “CJE” and why I salute Cathy Berkowitz. She needs our ongoing respect and support – she certainly has mine.
Cathy…Mazal Tov! Go from strength to strength!
See you in shul and Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi David Steinhardt
P.S. – This weekend Danny Matt will be with us…don’t miss him!
This column is dedicated to the memory of Rubin Shafran z”l