Section archive - Trends in Jewish Education
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The Jewish community, like most of the world, still does not yet know when the current crisis will end. We can, however, begin to think about parts of our life that will be different after this period than they were before. For Jewish education specifically, thinking ahead is critical; it will fall to Jewish communal and educational organizations to bring the Jewish community back to life, and to revitalize it so that it can emerge even stronger. We accept that our world will look different in a post COVID-19 era; there will be mourning for what’s lost, but new things built as well. So, I am starting to imagine a better future.
Updated: Jun. 14, 2020
Understanding How Under-Engaged Jewish Teens Self-Articulate and Self-Express Jewish Identity and Jewish Identification
This study was inspired by the abundance of literature regarding the withdrawal of non-Orthodox American Jewish teenagers from an active Jewish life. This situation has been called an “epidemic that threatens the future of American Jewry” (Ravitch, 2002b, p. 254). This study sought to answer the primary research question: How do under-engaged Jewish teens self-articulate and self-express Jewish identity and Jewish identification? Portraiture methodology was used to capture how three Atlanta-suburb teenagers articulated and expressed their Jewish identity and Jewish identification. Each of the study participants grew up attending supplemental Jewish education programs and celebrated their Bar or Bat Mitzvah ceremonies, but then disengaged from organized communal Jewish education or social experiences. As current high school junior and seniors, the study participants reflected on how Judaism has shaped who they are, their interactions with Judaism in their daily lives, and the ongoing meaning they derive from being a part of the Jewish people.
Updated: Jun. 02, 2020
Six months ago, when we first began planning this issue, we were focused on resilience of individuals, particularly in educational setting. The original introduction included a story about a thirteen- year-old who had a bad morning and didn’t want to go to school, who ultimately pulled herself together and had a fabulous day. The articles we looked for included personal stories about resilience, educational strategies for building resilience, and whether resilience can be taught. Little did we, or anyone, understand then just how critical this topic would become in such a short period of time.
Updated: Jun. 02, 2020
This issue looks at ways that school stakeholders experiment to use their time more effectively or in service of particular goals. Time is considered one of the “commonplaces” of education, something assumed to be as unchanging as the classroom walls and the sports field. There are the daily schedule, weekly schedules, and annual calendars; calendars for development, admissions, sports, assemblies, and more. And then COVID-19 burst into our lives, ripping up all of those calendars, throwing our best-laid plans out the window and challenging us to recreate them as best we can, in the eye of an ongoing storm.
Updated: May. 13, 2020
Even though I do not possess medical knowledge, as a rabbi and social activist, I believe I can try to humbly prescribe ethical vaccines that can remedy jilted nerves and worried minds. My words are not meant to heal physically but to inspire spiritually. At this challenging time, it seems appropriate that those in the positions to (re)build confidence should do so. In that spirit, I am sharing thoughts on how we might be able to spiritually cope with the uncertain reality that has rapidly spread throughout the world. The coronavirus is not only a disease of the body, but also presents an existential crisis that has put governments, businesses and, most important, communities and individuals on edge.
Updated: Mar. 20, 2020
Data-driven studies suggest that Holocaust education remains an area with much room for growth and improvement. Contemporary Holocaust education centers on several critical discussions: when to teach about the Holocaust, at what age, how much time to devote to its study in otherwise packed school days, and how best to tackle this difficult subject with primary (ages 5–11) and secondary (ages 11–17) students. The four books considered here all contribute to a growing literature on Holocaust education and make significant interventions in these central debates.
Updated: Mar. 04, 2020
Beyond Institution-Building: Seymour Fox as an Educational Thinker: Reflections on Visions in Action: Selected Writings
The dominant perception of Seymor Fox as a leader and institution builder, then, has overshadowed Fox’s intellectual work and it is here that Jonathan Cohen, one of Fox’s distinguished former doctoral students, has done a great service in putting together an anthology of Fox’s writings published by the Mandel Foundation in Israel and Keter Publishing. Cohen, a longtime faculty member at the Hebrew University, has served as Director of the Melton Center for Jewish Education, as well as head of the Hebrew University’s School of Education.
Updated: Mar. 04, 2020
Dimensions of Time in the Jewish Educational Thought of Joseph Lukinsky: Reflections on Maybe the Lies We Tell Are Really True edited by Barry Holtz and David Kahn (JTS, New York 2016)
This article represents a first attempt to analyze and synthesize the theological, hermeneutic, and educational insights of Joseph Sander Lukinsky, who was one of the foremost Jewish educational thinkers and master practitioners of recent times. Particular attention is paid to Lukinsky’s theology of revelation, to his educational theory, his hermeneutic orientation, and his practical pedagogy. The conclusion represents an effort to integrate the major insights gathered from these areas into a coherent web of thought.
Updated: Mar. 04, 2020
What if we had an “Ahava Yomit” project? Promoting and recognizing daily acts of love. Celebrating acts of giving, chesed, and generous loving. Courses, programs, and projects in our schools focusing on acts of love. YouTubes and workshops dedicated to daily acts of love.
Updated: Feb. 24, 2020
Different Solutions to Similar Problems: Parents’ Reasons for Choosing to Homeschool and Social Criticism of the Education System
This article addresses the way in which characteristics of the education crisis in the postmodern era are manifested in parental deliberations when choosing to homeschool their children in Israel. Based on a review of the characteristics of the education crisis and examination of possible solutions, homeschooling is presented as an optional solution to this crisis.
Updated: Feb. 17, 2020