Training Conferences: Why We Do Them & Why We’re Growing Them

by Joel Stanley, Senior Director of House Programs

Once upon a time, when there were about 10 Moishe Houses, before Jewish Learning & Leadership Retreats existed, before Moishe House Without Walls or Peer-Led Retreats – before it was even called “Natty Con” – the first National Training Conference took place. We knew early on it was super important to bring together the Moishe House residents to the best of our ability – that every group does amazing things and creates magic for its community, but can feel isolated, fall into habits or need support from one another.

How amazing it was for those 35 or so residents to spend time with each other, sharing their experiences and expertise and feeling part of a larger group of community-makers. They learned not only from each other, but also the staff, who could devote themselves to the enhancement of the resident experience and training in a bigger way than possible on a monthly conference call or over the phone. Oh, and they had a huge amount of fun as well!

The first International Training Conference (Internatty Con) was born in Budapest a few years later, when there were enough houses outside of North America and the funding to make the conference happen. Around the same time, we also created the Russian-Speaking Jewish Training Conference (RSJ Con), knowing the Russian-Speaking Jewish experience is different, and that residents learn and connect best when they can do so in a common language and culture. That is why this year, with houses in Barcelona, Montevideo, Porto Alegre, Mexico City and Buenos Aires, as well as a generous special grant, we are holding our first ever Latin American Training Conference (Lati Con) – the training conference for our residents in Spanish-speaking and Latin American countries.

I am so glad that Natty Con, Internatty Con, RSJ Con and Lati Con are now such a vital part of the Moishe House experience. We have come a long way, with Natty Con alone hosting around 250 community-builders. The production may be bigger, but it is still the most valuable skill-building and connecting weekend of the Moishe House year. We can’t wait to see you at your Training Conference!