This post, by Diane Tickton Schuster, is based on her talk at the Mandel Center’s Conference on Transformative Jewish Education. She is a visiting senior research fellow at Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles.
The Conference on Transformative Jewish Education gave me a special opportunity to revisit conversations about this topic that several colleagues and I began in the early 2000s. It also provided me with a glimpse into the kinds of innovative educational programs that have recently emerged—exciting and creative programs that have the potential to build on the insights gleaned from research. Continue reading
By Sivan Zakai and Hannah Tobin Cohen
Imagine you’re playing in the Super Bowl. Would you rather have the encouragement of an enthusiastic cheerleader or the guidance of a skilled coach?
The field of Israel education is crowded with cheerleaders. Believing that it is their responsibility to champion Israel, teachers and parents aim to instill in young children positive feelings toward the Jewish state, in the hope that they will be protected from bad press and negative feelings about Israel as they grow older. The only problem: It’s not a winning strategy. Continue reading
Renee Rubin Ross, program officer at the Jim Joseph Foundation and former Mandel Center post-doctoral fellow, contributes today’s guest post.
Through the Jim Joseph Foundation’s investments in Hebrew Union College—Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC), The Jewish Theological Seminary, Yeshiva University, the Day School Leadership for Teaching (DeLeT) program, and the Jewish New Teacher Project, the Foundation has invested millions of dollars in educator training and support. The rationale behind this is straightforward: more well-trained and supported teachers and educators will lead to more effective and compelling learning experiences for young Jews, the central goal of the Foundation.
Strengthening teacher training and support has a number of elements, as two presentations at last month’s annual conference of the Network for Research in Jewish Education (NJRE) suggest. Continue reading
Earlier this year, after publishing an article in the Journal of Jewish Communal Service on the topic of the goals of Jewish service-learning, I posted some of the ideas from my article on this blog. I wrote that, while the goal of service is to benefit the person or community served, the goal of service-learning entails the growth or development of the person doing the service as well. And that growth, I argued, ought to be understood in terms of dispositions.
Which dispositions? I proposed that we ought to consider three:
- service-humility, a stance in the face of deep and abiding social problems that is not oriented toward the generation of solutions primarily but rather, more simply, toward doing God’s will in the world;
- service-discipline, avoiding the ideal of moral heroism in favor of non-heroic, small-scale work in the world, characterized by showing up every day;
- service-wisdom, exercising our critical and independent judgment in order to discern what God wants us to do in the world.
I’m delighted that these ideas have resonated with some readers. Most recently, I was honored that Rabbi Jan Katzew and Wendy Grinberg asked for permission to publish a revised and abbreviated version of my article on their new online journal, Avodat ha-Kodesh: A Journal of Sacred Service Learning. That revised article is now online.
Image courtesy American Jewish World Service.
Morton Mandel and Sharon Feiman-Nemser at the Mandel Center’s 10th Anniversary Celebration
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The future of Jewish educational leadership will depend on creating environments where professionals can continue to learn and grow, according to Rabbi Marc Baker, head of school at Gann Academy in Waltham, who spoke recently at the 10th anniversary colloquium and celebration of the Mandel Center for Studies in Jewish Education.
Educators should be able to work in “environments where learning is part of the work: learning the craft of teaching, learning the basic skills of running an organization, and deep, meaningful compelling Jewish learning,” Baker said. “If we’re not actively constructing our own Jewish identities and living engaged Jewish lives, there is no way we’ll be able to transmit it to the next generation we’re trying to inspire.”