Section archive - Adult Education
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For many years, I’ve been involved in planning adult education programs for our community in Stamford. When the coronavirus exploded on us earlier this year in March, we were forced (as were all other communities) to immediately make alternate plans for the programming that we had in place. The Shabbat scholar-in-residence weekends we had booked had to be cancelled, of course. However, we thought we might be able to pivot—and continue to offer the regular weeknight shul classes and the onetime weeknight guest scholars online via Zoom (a technology that I had heard about pre-COVID, but admittedly never had used before March).
Updated: Jan. 11, 2021
Though the development of Jewish schools in the United Kingdom has increased enormously in the past 50 years, the planning of adult Jewish education in the UK has been almost entirely ignored. This article explores the purpose and provision of adult education in three communities in the United Synagogue, the largest synagogal body in the UK. Synagogue-based adult education is apparently provided with little planning or measurement of outcomes. Community leaders and members take differing approaches to its aims and success measurement, with socialization being vital for participants, most of whom are in their senior years.
Updated: Nov. 05, 2020
In the past few weeks, thousands of people around the world, who were only marginally connected to Jewish learning, if at all, have attended online classes. They are homebound, in desperate search for connection, intellectual stimulation and safe activities. We have a whole new population of learners who has joined the ranks of those who already participated regularly in classes. When life goes back to normal and people are allowed to leave their homes, go to work, etc., what will happen to those students? Will they turn around and say “thank you, this was great, but now I can go back to what I did before?” Or will they have experienced something that has deeply touched their souls and from which they can no longer move away? Will these new learners join our in-person classes? Or will they expect online learning options? What offerings will we, educators, need to create for them?
Updated: Apr. 30, 2020
Most of us learned content through lecture, and demonstrated mastery by writing papers. In other words, through modeling plus drill and practice, we learned to create well-structured, interesting talks. Despite deep praise for chevruta, i.e., learning in pairs or small groups, no one showed us how to proceed. For three decades, as both student and teacher, I have been chasing this esoteric knowledge. Today, I would like to share some of what I caught — one possible method of teaching text through discussion.
Updated: Jan. 20, 2020
At no point in history have there been more ways of learning Hebrew. Thanks to modern technology, there are many, many options out there, even for those with limited budgets, schedules and mobility — ranging in price from absolutely free to thousands of dollars. In addition to the traditional route of consulting books or signing up for an in-person class through a synagogue, Jewish community center or university — or traveling to Israel where there are myriad in-person courses and programs, you now can choose from an array of online courses, apps and software.
Updated: Dec. 11, 2019
The Council for Higher Education in Israel has set a goal to increase the number of Israelis of Ethiopian origin enrolled in undergraduate and graduate programs. The initial target, which the council hopes to meet by 2020, is to increase the number of students from the community who are pursuing a bachelor’s degree to 1.7 percent of the student body, similar to their percentage in Israel’s overall population. Currently that rate stands at 1.54 percent, or 3,567 students. Only a tiny number of Ethiopian Israelis who have earned undergraduate degrees continue on to postgraduate degrees.
Updated: Oct. 07, 2019
The paired study of the Jewish Talmud in havruta is a traditional, well-established and prestigious form of study. Havruta conversation is a confrontational speech event in which disagreements are not only expected but also appreciated. The aim of this study is to explore for the first time disagreement patterns carried out by women studying in havruta pairs. Twenty one havruta conversations were observed and recorded, and semi-structured in-depth interviews were held individually with the participants.
Updated: Dec. 13, 2018
Most Jewish religious schools begin the day with a traditional morning prayer. After that, students spend much of their time studying Talmud, the central text of Jewish law. But at Romemu Yeshiva, set to open next year, students could begin the day with yoga and meditation, study Kabbalah or Jewish mysticism, then pore over Hasidic texts that afternoon. And some of those students may not even be Jews. When it begins its classes in the summer of 2019, Romemu Yeshiva will take its place among a constellation of intensive Jewish study programs for adults in New York City. But unlike other yeshivas, such as the Hadar Institute, Romemu will depart from a traditional focus on understanding and analyzing rabbinic texts. Romemu students will study Talmud and Jewish law, but their curriculum will also emphasize concepts like mindfulness, movement and mysticism.
Updated: Dec. 13, 2018
A couple months ago, while preparing a staff retreat, one of my colleagues suggested that I lead a session on the why’s and how’s of Jewish learning at Moishe House. I have done Jewish learning as a student and a teacher, inside and outside of Moishe House, in Israel and elsewhere. But this made me realize I had never taken the time to formalize the attributes of Jewish learning at Moishe House. I knew that the session would give me the opportunity to confront and thicken my perception with my peers’ perspectives, so I jumped to the occasion.
Updated: Aug. 29, 2018
The Limmud Impact Study looks at how successful Limmud has been in taking people ‘one step further on their Jewish journeys’, what these journeys consist of and their wider impact on Jewish communities. The study focuses on Limmud volunteers and draws on a survey of ten Limmud volunteer communities in eight countries - UK, USA, South Africa, Bulgaria, Hungary, Germany, Israel and Argentina - together with focus groups conducted with Limmud volunteers from around the world.
Updated: Aug. 14, 2018