Learning about Learning

Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Studies in Jewish Education, Brandeis University

Tag: history

For Camp Leaders, Some Questions and a Challenge

By Sandra Fox

Kiva Rabinsky, Seth Winberg, Sharon Feiman-Nemser and Joseph Reimer at the conference

At last month’s conference on Jewish summer camping, at Brandeis’s Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Studies in Jewish Education, I hoped my participation would place a friendly parenthetical question mark at the end of the conference title. This hope grew out my research, which  questions the assumptions Jewish leaders and educators hold about camp’s power, and highlights the perspective of the youth they seek to mold.  However, I ultimately found it refreshing to talk about camp with fellow scholars and practitioners–people who, like the historical figures I write about, participate in and shape the lived experience of Jewish camping today. Continue reading

The Americanization of Tikkun Olam

By Jonathan Krasner

When President Barack Obama declared at the first White House reception for Jewish American Heritage Month, in 2010, that America must “uphold the principle of tikkun olam—ourobligation to repair the world,” he became 3833624039_6743128b63_qthe latest in a parade of prominent American politicians, celebrities and opinion-makers, including Bill Clinton, Cornell West and Madonna, to invoke the term. The Americanization of tikkun olam reflects its ubiquity in American Jewish life, where many religious and communal leaders identify it as a core Jewish value.

This is remarkable when one considers that prior to the 1980s most American Jews had never heard the term. Continue reading

Summer Camps and the “Boys Problem”

In his article “American Jewish Education in Historical Perspective,” Jonathan Sarna demonstrates the historical antecedents of the pressing issues facing Jewish Education at the turn of the millennium and encourages us to turn more often to our predecessors’ approaches. In a move that should surprise no one, this eminent scholar of American Judaism believes that we need not recreate the wheel in every generation.

It is within this context that I want, briefly, to turn our attention to the publication last fall of Engaging Jewish Teenage Boys: A Call to Action, by Moving Traditions. Continue reading

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