Posted on 05/28/2021 @ 08:00 AM

Tags: Adult Jewish Learning & Growth

Every year JPRO, the Jewish Professional Network in Miami, honors Jewish professionals who’ve made an impact on our community.

This year, our very own Carla Spector
Director of Administration for Adult Learning, was presented 
The Lifetime Achievement Award!


We caught up with Carla to find out what drew her into the Jewish professional world and what continues to drive her passion for Jewish learning and engagement. 

Q: "Carla, Mazel Tov on this well deserved honor! What does it mean to you to be recognized by your peers and receive JPRO's Lifetime Achievement Award?”
A: "I was taken by surprise when I received the phone call. I'm honored and humbled to have been chosen as this year’s recipient. It has been a lifetime of dedication and hard work and I am eternally grateful to be among a select group of “lifers” in this esteemed category."
Q: “I love how you use the term "lifers". I’m not sure many people in our adult learning community know this, but you have been working for CAJE, The Center for the Advancement of Jewish Education, for almost 45 years. Tell us how you came to work at CAJE? What does CAJE mean to you?”
A: “I was invited to join the staff of CAJE in 1976, by my 4th grade Hebrew teacher from The Hebrew Academy, Rabbi Shimon Azulay, who was the Director of the Judaica High School (JHS) for CAJE. We reconnected and he introduced me to CAJE’s Executive Director, Gene Greenzweig, my mentor. The rest is history and a position was created for me as the Akiva Leadership Coordinator and Administrator for the Judaica High School. CAJE has been “my place” my entire adult career. I feel so blessed to have been afforded the opportunity to work with and learn from so many amazing rabbis, scholars and educators."
Q: “Over the course of your career, in what ways has the world of Jewish education changed, and it what ways has it remained the same?”
A: “It's changed quite a bit. I attribute much of that to technology, which has enhanced and improved the world of Jewish education. What has not changed is the desire to learn and provide meaningful experiences for generations to come. I hope that will never change!"
Q: “You are someone who has professionally “reinvented” herself many times. What has that experience been like for you?”
A: “People chuckle when I tell them that CAJE is the only place I’ve ever worked. It’s the same address I’ve driven to for 44 years and the single employer listed on my resume. I've been fortunate to work in an organization that provided multiple opportunities for growth and change. I am thankful each and every day."
Q: “For those of us who are fortunate to work with you, it is so clear how well you know our adult learners. You are intimately connected to them and travel along the learning journey with them. It's what makes our program special. What have these relationships meant to you?”
A: "I believe that in order to build relationships, you have to seek them out. It’s the building block for success and growing our community of learners. Texting is great, email is effective, but it's the personal calls and the human outreach that serves as my guiding force!"
Q: “Your energy, your spirit and your passion for Adult Jewish Learning is evident every day. What makes Adult Jewish Learning so special?”
A: "What makes Adult Jewish Learning so special are the learners! What a delight the last 10+ years have been working as the Director of Administration for Adult Learning, and I hope it continues. I want to encourage everyone to take a class with us and taste the sweetness of Jewish learning. Become part of this special community. I promise you there is a class for everyone, but more importantly, there is a class for YOU! 

Click here to make a donation to The Department of Adult Jewish Learning in honor of Carla Spector.