Distance-Learning: B'nei Mitzvah Specialist and Maggid-Educator Training


               Become a Jewish Spiritual Educator

Program 1. Conference: Jan 24-27, 2019
Guiding Jewish Journeys in Challenging Times

This is an intimate conference with limited attendance for Jewish educators of all ages who are seeking to be in better rapport and of greater support and relevance to a new generation and to sustain relationships with the old. 

Through the methods of Jewish spiritual education, i.e., applied Jewish wisdom delivered through the lens of students' daily lives, we will explore the ways to guide our students’ Jewish journeys, no matter what their age, which will deepen our teaching and their experience. We will look at example classroom programs, community interactions, one-to-one spiritual guidance, and deepening relationships with families and communities. We will create programs designed to support those going through the traumas common to our times and to prepare our students for life's challenges and deepen their understanding of their own transformation. 

This introduction to the principles, methods and resources of Jewish Spiritual Education will help those you serve flourish through a supportive, and inclusive Jewish lens on living. 

Bring a journal and your questions, experiences, successes, and challenges.

Those who elect to continue in Programs 2 and/or 3 below will receive 8 elective credits towards certification and/or ordination.

Location: Camp Young Judea just outside of Austin, TX.

 Room and Kosher Meals: $110-140/night. No commuters, time together is rare and precious.

Tuition: $398. Some scholarship is available.

$100 Discount for Maggid-Educator alumni, $25 discount for those enrolled in 2019 B-Mitzvah! Specialist Training, and $50 discount for those enrolled in 2019 Maggid-Educator Certification and/or ordination.

Inquiries: Program Chair: Rabbi Dr. Goldie Milgram, MSW, rebgoldie@gmail.com

Program 2. B-MITZVAH!SM Specialist Training (B'nei Mitzvah) They're vulnerable, we have new paradigms, principles and methods for you. $359. Eight weeks | 1.5 hours/class interactive| Live Zoom video conference learning plus 4 one-to-one mentoring/fieldwork support sessions. Details below.


Program 3Maggid-Educator Certification and/or Ordination. 1.5 hours/class/32 weeks/year of interactive videoconference learning plus one-to-one mentoring, chevruta and fieldwork support: $1499/year, plus books and materials. Plus annual retreat, fee depends upon the retreat center each year. See below Program 1. (New website coming in about a month)

Program 1. B-MITZVAH!SM Specialist Training (B'nei Mitzvah) supports you in shifting the focus gradually from time spent creating “rabbis and cantors for a day” to the true purpose of Jewish rites of passage--preparation and support for entering the next stage of life.

Pictures by Todd

Jewish Spiritual Education (JSE) connects b’nei mitzvah students’ intellectual learning to their physical, emotional and spiritual experiences in ways that support them to develop as whole persons. The JSE model includes learning healthy processes to guide students of any age, plus transformational Jewish practices students that will help students arrive at the day of their ritual with a strong sense of integrity and authenticity. Our methods are effective across the spectrum of Jewish life and learning.

We will help you to fully (re)conceive your current approaches and programs. Through curriculum, lesson plans, d’var Torah lab, ritual and celebration approaches and case studies, we will support you in new ways to evolve and customize your teaching to your students’ needs. You’ll develop supportive, soulful relationships with healthy boundaries. You’ll create an approach grounded in Jewish wisdom of living. You’ll inspire students to live a mitzvah-centered life! 

Together we will explore:

-      Forming healthy relationships for guiding a new generation with their own challenges

-      What is Jewish Spirituality?

-      Which practices matter most at these ages and this time?

-      Eliciting students' stories through InterPlay and creative drama

-      Principles and methods for strengthening the Jewish family throughout the process of  B'nei Mitzvah preparation

-      Finding the Prayer of Your Heart

-      The Power of Blessing

-      Jewish Name Matter

-      Diverse families and learning styles

-      Methods for spiritual guidance and development

-      New Micro-Project Principles and Goals for Community Action

-      Integrating the advantages and challenges of technology 

-      Shared group experiences, discussions, case studies, verbatims, and more

Completion of this training Includes the option to apply to continue in the Maggid-Educator Training 

Our faculty, Judith Black, Rabbi Dr. Goldie Milgram, MSW (founder), Batya Podos, Cherie Karo Schwartz, (Peninnah Schram)*, Mindy Shapiro, Danny Siegel, Cassandra Sagan, and Cathy Schechter (bios below), are award-winning master teachers and leaders in the field of Jewish spiritual education, who will provide the methods, principles, guidance, and resources you need to help guide your students and families. 

Graduates of our programs often speak of the joy of having their isolation as Jewish educators reduced, and the freedom to think outside the box with the deep respect for Judaism that our learning environments provide. 

The next group begins mid-October 2018, with another entry point January 24, 2019. Class day and time will be set to fit time zones of accepted registrants. For information or an application, contact Dean Batya Podos: batsongs@gmail.com

Program 2
Maggid-Educator Certification
and/or Ordina
tion reclaims the traditional role of maggid as a master educator who inspires, engages, and guides the students of all ages on their Jewish journeys. Certification is a two-year program with the option to apply for a 3rd year for Maggid-Educator Ordination

1.5 hours/class/32 weeks/year of interactive videoconference learning plus one-to-one mentoring, chevruta and fieldwork support: $1499/year, plus books and materials. Plus annual week-long summer retreat, fee for which is  based on retreat center charges.

Trainees become professional sacred storytellers who educate and guide, developing a substantial repertoire of more than fifty Jewish spiritual practices (mitzvot) that are paired with professional methods of storytelling, a repertoire of sacred and contemporary stories, text study,  tikkun olam/project-based learning approaches, Hashpa'ah (Jewish spiritual guidance and development) practices drawn from Mussar, InterPlay(TM), meditation and the arts, and curriculum development.

Designed as a two-year certificate program or three-year Maggid-Oman (Maggid-Educator) ordination training, this program is comprised of weekly video-conference classes, annual retreat intensives, and regular face-to-face video-conference field-work supervision, storytelling and rites of passage coaching, and mentoring with our faculty of master teachers. 

Our program weaves together multiple modalities as follows:

Our goal for MAGGID is to ensure that you attain a substantial repertoire of relevant traditional and contemporary mitzvah and mussar stories, along with advancing your storytelling skills into the guidance dimension associated with maggidut.

Our goal for MITZVAH and TIKKUN OLAM is to deepen your own practice and capacity to connect students to at least fifty of these life-affirming spiritual practices that support healthy relationships while providing a life affirming and enriching Jewish lens for daily living.

Our goal for MUSSAR is to prepare you to serve by learning the primary mindfulness practices as developed by the gentle, empowering and deep Kelm School of Mussar.

Our goal for HASHPA'AHJewish spiritual guidance and development, is supporting your own spiritual development through classical methods, as well as those derived from InterPlay (TM) and the contemplative and expressive arts. You will also receive support in reflecting upon and fine-tuning these applications to ensure your students are supported, seen, heard, connected, engaged, and enlivened through a Jews lens by you as their educator.

Our goal for CURRICULUM DEVELOPMENT, is to ensure you will have the skills and support you need to seamlessly integrate your learning into your worksite.   


The educator turns to the students saying: "Let me tell you a story!" The way that the educator tells the story turns on a light in each soul. The mitzvah being explored is "lo tikom—to refrain from holding a grudge" and the middah (ethical attribute) is savlanut—patience."

The educator gives them InterPlay movements, sounds and gestures to express the feeling of a grudge, and then invites their personal "grudge" stories. Almost every hand goes up to share—from the youngest to the eldest. As the educator guides the soulful exploration of personal experience—burdens begin to lift. The light of Torah, mitzvah-centered lives, shines through the radiant faces and body language of all present.

Returning to the text for the mitzvah and middah, the students dive in—for now they understand from the inside! Soon a tikkun olam approach emerges, as students are invited and guided to imagine, plan and implement ways to bring their learning experience into action.

What our graduates are Saying (Hyperlinks on student names take you to videos of them offering professional Jewish storytelling):

A new world opened. Jewish Spiritual Education is the new paradigm for training Jewish educators working with all ages and in all Jewish learning and living settings. You will use everything you learn. While I really didn't have the time to do this—I'm so glad I did!"
Danielle Kassin, Director of Education, Sinai Temple Religious School, L.A.

"B-Mitzvah!(SM) and Maggid-Educator training complements the more traditional forms of Jewish educator training by addressing the spiritual aspects of our own — and our students’ — lives. My constituency responds very positively."
Paul Solyn, Executive Director, Jewish Center and Federation of the Twin Tiers, Elmira, N.Y.

"Telling a story is one thing, but telling a story in a way that stays with students is a really magical thing. It has been an honor to learn from the master teachers of the Maggid-Educator program. Storytelling is the doorway, which together with the other six areas of concentration we are learning has transformed my teaching for all ages. 
Chana Stein, Teacher, Jewish High School of Connecticut, Stamford, CT

"Empowers us to access and strengthen our gifts and talents; to be supported to grow professionally and personally in amazing ways."
Rhonda Lillianthal, Director, Center for Jewish Life, JCC of MetroWest, N.J.

"I've learned so much that is wonderful and applicable. I'm a different teacher now and in so many ways a different person because of this training! And in such a deep context of respectful pluralism. Gave me an awesome chevra of creative, committed colleagues!" 
Helene Kates, co-Founder of the Baal Shem Tones, Cantorial Student, Freelance Educator, Atlanta, GA

Additional ordinees: Lynie Mirvis, Memphis, TN, Rina Daly-Goode, Los Angeles, CA, Phyllis Binik-Thomas, z'l, Cincinattim OH

Partial scholarships are available. Class day and time will be set to fit time zones of accepted registrants. Further information and for an application contact Batya Podos, Dean. batsongs@gmail.com

                                          MEET OUR FACULTY

Rabbi Goldie Milgram, D.Min., M.H.L., MSW,  is the founder and Executive Director of Reclaiming Judaism Institute for Jewish Spiritual Education and the Maggid-Educator Training Program. 

Rabbi Milgram has worked at every level of Jewish educationreligious school teacher, principal, day school high school co-founder, youth groups director, BJE executive, and for camps, pulpits, JCCs, campuses, as an educational consultant, Federation executive, member of university and seminary faculties, and as a seminary dean.

Rabbinic graduate of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, "Reb Goldie"  subsequently also received private smicha, ordination from her teacher Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, of blessed memory, as rabbi, maggid (sacred storyteller), mashpia (spiritual guide) and shaliach (emissary). Her Masters in Social Work is from Yeshiva University's Wurzweiler School.

A Covenant Award finalist for Jewish educational innovation and excellence, and also a widely published author, her newest works are Seeking and Soaring: Jewish Approaches to Spiritual Guidance and Development and Reclaiming Bar/Bat Mitzvah as a Spiritual Rite of Passage.

"Reb Goldie" presently teaches Hashpa'ah--Jewish spiritual guidance and development for the Maggid-Educator and B-Mitzvah!(SM) Training Programs.

Batya Podos, Dean of Programs is an ordained Maggidah-Omanit-- educator, storyteller and guide in the Jewish tradition, earlier ordained Maggidah by Rabbi David Zaslow and Maggidah Debra Gordon Zaslow. A Reclaiming Judaism Maggid-Educator Training Program faculty member specializing in curriculum development, her career spans over thirty years as a middle school drama/language arts director, artist-in-residence, educational consultant, counselor, and youth director. Her work extends across a broad spectrum of settings, denominations, and age groups in the roles of principal, teacher, B’nei mitzvah educator, service leader and Torah teacher for Shabbat and holy days, and scholar-in-residencies for Shabbatonim. 

Batya Podos is also one of the founders of Abraham’s Tent, an interfaith summer camp for Jewish, Christian and Muslim children. Among Batya's recent publications are: Rebecca and the Talisman of Time (Portal Center Press), a novel for middle school students, and works in New Mitzvah Stories for the Whole Family (Reclaiming Judaism Press) and The Language of Life, by Milt Markewitz, an exploration of the energetic patterns of the Hebrew letters. Presently a resident of Portland, Oregon, she can be reached at batsongs@gmail.com.

Cherie Karo Schwartz, our dean of stories, has received Omanit HaSippur ordination from the Institute for Jewish Spiritual Education, she also holds an MA in Developmental Theater. She is also a storyteller, author, and educator living in Denver. She has shared stories with audiences of all ages throughout America and abroad for forty years. She shares a kaleidoscope of spirit-filled tales of wishes, wisdom, and wit drawn from worldwide Jewish folklore, sacred texts, family folklore, original stories and modern midrashim. Cherie offers storytelling performances, master classes, workshops and keynotes for conferences, organizations, museums, storytellers, schools, and libraries world-wide. She was co-founding coordinator of the international Jewish Storytelling Network of CAJE, following her heart-friend-in-story Peninnah Schram. Cherie has authored three books, numerous recordings and articles.

Judith Blackone of America’s foremost storytellers is grounded in Jewish roots, from which she retells history from new perspectives, tickles familial dysfunction, offers ironic explorations of aging, and calls people to pay attention to their planet. As a Wheelock College graduate and professional teacher, she is able to draw storytelling through the educational landscape, showing its profound uses in cognitive, emotional, and social learning. Featured on stages from the Montreal Comedy Festival to The Smithsonian Institution, the National Storytelling Festival, and over 12 CAJE conferences, she is the winner of the Oracle Award, storytelling’s most coveted laurel, and was recently given the Brother Blue and Ruth Hill Award. Judith also sings, gardens, is a Rotarian and environmental activist.

Cassandra Sagan is an ordained Maggid-Educator who has devoted her life to helping others access their creative brilliance through poetry, storytelling, movement, and Torah. For twenty years Cassandra taught as a Poet in the Classroom, pre-schoolers through high school, adults and seniors; in gifted, new immigrant, and special needs classrooms; editing and producing almost 100 volumes of student writing. An ukulele toting singer/songwriter, Cassandra performs a weave of original and traditional songs and stories, while encouraging audience participation and individual expression. She is also a mosaic artist, an InterPlay leader, and has developed InterPlay Torah study, a playful approach to personal midrash, insight, and embodied Torah. She is also a contributing author to New Mitzvah Stories for the Whole Family.

Cathy Schechter is an ordained Maggid-Educator (ordinee storytelling video)and community educator, also serves as a Jewish comunity educator, writer and researcher. After over a dozen years of Talmud study with the late Rabbi Judith Abrams, Cathy earned her Masters in Jewish Studies from Hebrew College. She is also an alumna of Pardes Institute. Cathy's stories often spring from the deep well of Talmud and rabbinic literature, in the hopes that their timeless observations and lessons about Jewish life and learning will find their way into our modern landscape to offer sustenance, hope, insight, and laughter.

Mindy Shapiro, M.A, is a Jewish communal professional with 30 years of experience. She was the founding director of Rosh Hodesh: It’s a Girl Thing!, a program of Moving Traditions. She has also worked for other Jewish organizations including Hillel of Greater Philadelphia, International Hillel and the Gershman Y. Mindy has been studying  Mussar with Rabbi Stone since 2003 and teaching since 2009. Mussar provides her with a framework for leading a more mindful life, something she helps others to do. She is also a papercut artist and teacher. Mindy serves on the editorial team for the next release from Reclaiming Judaism Press, in honor of Danny Siegel: New Mitzvah Stories for the Whole Family.

The JSE Program and Curriculum was founded, developed and first taught by: Rabbi Goldie Milgram with Batya Podos, Cassandra Sagan, Cherie Karo Schwartz, Peninnah Schram, Mindy Shapiro, and Danny Siegel.

Danny Siegel is best known for bringing the discussion of Tzedakah and doing of Tikkun Olam back into Jewish communities. He is a brilliant finder of the perfect teaching sections of sacred texts and guide to their study. A well-known author, lecturer, and poet, Danny has spoken in more than 500 North American Jewish communities on personalized Tzedakah, Mitzvah heroes, and Jewish values. He is the author of numerous books, including Danny Siegel’s Bar and Bat Mitzvah Mitzvah Book: A Practical Guide For Changing the World Through Your Simcha; Heroes and Miracle Workers, a collection of essays about everyday people who are Mitzvah Heroes; Who, Me? Yes, You! — Danny Siegel’s Workbook To Help You Decide Where, When, Why, and How You Can Do Your Best Tikkun Olam; and Giving Your Money Away — How Much, How to, Why, When, and to Whom: Danny Siegel’s Practical Guide to Personalized Tzedakah. He has also published several collections of poetry and children’s stories. Danny served as the Tzedakah Resource Person on the United Synagogue Youth Israel Pilgrimage for 37 years, and is a recipient of the prestigious Covenant Award for Exceptional Jewish Educators.

Applications are now available. The next groups begins mid-October 2018, and another entry point is January 24, 2019. Class day and time will be set to fit time zones of accepted registrants. For information or an application, contact Dean Batya Podos: batsongs@gmail.com