Learning about Learning

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

Tag: rabbinics (page 3 of 3)

The sugyot that every Jew should know

Today we begin a new series of occasional posts featuring essential resources from current or past Mandel Center projects.

oldbooksWhat are the Talmudic sugyot (topics or discussions) that every educated Jew ought to know, the most famous or significant Talmudic discussions?  This document, compiled as part of the Bridging Scholarship and Pedagogy in Jewish Studies project, presents a list of 60+ sugyot nominated by a diverse group of instructors of rabbinic literature in various settings. The criteria clearly range widely, with the result that the nominees include both aggadic and halakhic sugyot, and sugyot chosen for their theological and ideological significance, their contemporary practical significance, or their centrality in discussions among commentators.

The resulting list is quite obviously the product of a committee, via a process of addition without subtraction or prioritization. It is hard to imagine that anyone would actually believe that these 67 sugyot are “what a Jew should know.” Nevertheless, with all of those caveats, the
list represents an interesting set – and there has been abundant interest in the results.

Download: What sugyot should an educated Jew know? [PDF]

Navigating the Live Action of the Classroom

In the teaching of Jewish studies, we have few shared understandings of how we get from point A to B, what those points even are, and what happens in between. We don’t really have a richly developed “grammar of practice”—that is, shared “language and structures for describing practice,” (Grossman, 2011) which can give us some basic common referents upon which we can reflect and build. In recent years, work on the teaching of Tanakh and rabbinics has begun to provide language for different orientations toward teaching these subjects, along with benchmarks for success. Nevertheless, we still lack a fully fleshed-out vocabulary for the pedagogy of Jewish studies that can help teachers and learners reflect on and navigate the live action of the classroom and improve and deepen their practice. Continue reading

Building a Field: the Teaching of Rabbinic Literature

The Mandel Center is committed to the study and improvement of teaching and learning in Jewish education in various settings – including higher education, where Jewish studies (both the study of classical Jewish texts and other kinds of Jewish studies) are flourishing.  How can we contribute to its improvement?  Well, let’s focus for the moment on the teaching of rabbinic literature in particular.  Here are some things we know about the teaching of rabbinic literature in colleges and universities. Continue reading

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