Section archive - Informal Education
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Indian play at North American Jewish summer camps offered three sets of overlapping lessons. First, by providing activities created and understood as respite from urban pressures, including donning and removing so-called primitive faux-tribal identities, camps reinforced Jewish urban, modernist values and virtues. Second, as Indian play recapitulated the colonial process that had displaced actual Indigenous people to make room for the White, European settlers—Jews included—it provided Jews a vehicle to perform assimilatory and nationalistic sentiments. Finally, playing Indian offered camp staff members techniques for imparting visceral and emotional engagement with forms of spirituality they thought campers could absorb, particularly ones that overlapped with Jewish notions of Creation.
Updated: Jan. 30, 2019
Veteran staff members play a key role in a camp’s success. They preserve camp culture, maintain traditions, and serve important roles in the peer-training environment that camps depend on. It is not surprising, then, that camp counselor retention is important to the business of camping. This study focused on five counselors from Jewish camps in the United States, all of whom were about to return for a fourth summer. The research explored common phenomena of young adults’ experiences as counselors, how they made sense of their experiences, and their motivations for returning to camp. The data offer insights to camp directors interested in increasing counselor retention.
Updated: Jan. 30, 2019
Given the centrality of Shabbat celebration to the weekly cycle of Jewish residential camps, it is surprising how little Shabbat-at-camp has been studied. This participant observational study of three American Jewish residential camps has focused on how Shabbat-at-camp is created and how the ritual celebrations engage the older campers.
Updated: Jan. 27, 2019
The MOFET International Hebrew Writing Competition for 2019 has come to an exciting conclusion, with 165 entries that met the requirements of the competition. The entries were classified according to three age groups (preschoolers - preschool to grade 3, primary and middle schools, high schools, universities and adults). Each age group was divided into three levels of Hebrew, beginner level, intermediate level , and advanced level). The entries came from many countries: Austria, Ukraine, Argentina, USA, Denmark, Hong Kong, Japan, Israel, Mexico, France, South Korea, Canada and Russia.
Updated: Jan. 10, 2019
We argue that much can be gained from organizing and consolidating efforts around common values and social and emotional learning (SEL). Despite the various articulated goals of Jewish education, there seems to be a consensus that regardless of the setting or denomination, we hope our students’ learning leads to the living of a meaningful life with deep connections to others, and an understanding that their actions can have a profound impact in this world. Judaism’s teachings focus on the development and growth of the self, how we connect with community, and how we conduct ourselves in the world. This focus, though longstanding, has gained momentum with exciting, emerging initiatives around thriving, shleimut (wholeness), flourishing, or reaching one’s full human potential.
Updated: Dec. 02, 2018
Lost & Found is a game series, created at the Initiative for Religion, Culture, and Policy at the Rochester Institute of Technology MAGIC Center. The series teaches medieval religious legal systems. This article uses the first two games of the series as a case study to explore a particular set of processes to conceive, design, and develop games for learning. It includes the background leading to the author's work in games and teaching religion, and the specific context for the Lost & Found series. It discusses the rationale behind working to teach religious legal systems more broadly, then discuss the hermeneutics influencing the approach to understanding the legal systems being modeled and closes with a discussion of the kind of teaching and learning involved in the design of the games and early stage data on the public play of the games.
Updated: Nov. 14, 2018
International Student Writing Competition: Poems and Short Stories on “To Choose the Light, "Livchor Baor"
The International Forum of Hebrew Teachers as an Additional Language is continuing its annual tradition, by conducting a writing competition for students around the world this year on the topic: “To Choose the Light, "Livchor Baor". The competition is sponsored by the Hebrew Writers Association.
Updated: Oct. 15, 2018
The purpose of this study was to identify interpretive strategies used by museums in connecting visitors to Holocaust survivors through testimony. As the Holocaust recedes further into the past and Holocaust survivors get older, Holocaust museums must find new ways to stay relevant and connect visitors to survivor testimony. Studies have indicated that meeting a survivor and hearing their testimony firsthand can be the most salient part of visiting a Holocaust museum, and therefore understanding how museums use survivor testimony now can help develop ways to continue to use it in the future.
Updated: Oct. 08, 2018
To understand more about Jewish camping in Europe, I spent time this summer visiting four Jewish youth camps. While much has been written about the successful Szarvas International Jewish camp in Hungary, most European Jewish communities organise their own summer (and sometimes winter) youth camps.
Updated: Oct. 07, 2018
The Tikvah Overseas Student Institute invites gap-year students studying in Israel to apply for a series of seminars sponsored by the Tikvah Fund. The educational programs that make up the institute supplement gap-year curricula by providing intimate settings for interdisciplinary study, dialogue, and camaraderie with other select students. By exposing our participants to great texts, intellectuals, and activists, the institute aims to inspire the next generation of thinkers who can lead the Jewish community, informed by Jewish values and ideas, as we confront the great questions of our times.
Updated: Oct. 07, 2018