Section archive - Informal Education
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I asked Zachary Lasker, the director of Melton & Davidson Education Projects at the William Davidson Graduate School of Education at the Jewish Theological Seminary (and former director of Camp Ramah in California), what makes camp the incredibly potent experience it is. He answered, “Studies have shown us that the more immersive an experience is, the more ‘sticky’ it is, in a good way. That goes for learning anything: language, music, culture.” Because overnight camp is an immersive, shared experience, it feels hyper-real and intense. You’re with your friends 24/seven. You see them in multiple contexts: You see what they’re good at and what they struggle with; you gain insight into your own accomplishments and struggles. You and your bunkmates fight and you make up, because the intimacy of camp means you can’t (and don’t want to) fight indefinitely. “An hour in camp is like a month in the outside world,” Lasker said. “Everything cycles so quickly.”
Updated: Jul. 11, 2018
Prayer is apparently becoming less meaningful to many Orthodox Jews, as well as to Jews in general, but a pioneer program being tested in a handful of yeshiva high schools — including Kohelet Yeshiva High School in Merion Station — is hoping to reverse that. An organization called Legacy 613 (the 613 references the number of mitzvot in the Torah) is behind the program, which was launched in the 2016-17 school year.
Updated: Jun. 28, 2018
All fourth- to eighth-graders in Israel will get the opportunity starting September, 2018 to hone their spoken English skills in after-school lessons costing just NIS 4 ($1.10) an hour, the Yedioth Ahronoth daily reported Sunday. The joint initiative of the Education Ministry and the Association of Community Centers’ Shalem volunteer organization will make affordable lessons that would cost around NIS 150-200 ($42-55) privately. Shalem will provide the English-speaking teachers from its pool of community volunteer retirees.
Updated: Jun. 20, 2018
The purpose of this narrative study was to examine how blended learning could offer a unique and powerful pedagogy for Jewish family engagement, allowing families to incorporate Jewish learning and behaviors into their daily lives through both the support and empowerment of a community of peers. Specifically, this research aimed to illuminate the narratives of participants in a challenge group created to empower participants to incorporate Shabbat dinner into their families’ week.
Updated: Jun. 06, 2018
Reducing Israeli-Jewish Pupils’ Outgroup Prejudice with a Mindfulness and Compassion-Based Social-Emotional Program
This study evaluated the effectiveness of a newly developed mindfulness and compassion-based social-emotional intervention, Call to Care-Israel (C2C-I), in reducing prejudiced attitudes of Israeli-Jewish youth toward the Israeli-Palestinian outgroup. The C2C-I combines social-cognitive and social-emotional driven mindfulness and compassion practice into one program to create a community of care and cultivate compassion toward the self and others.
Updated: May. 23, 2018
This article is an anthropological history of the bar/bat mitzvah ceremony in the Yishuv and Israel of the 1940s and the 1950s, when this ceremony radically grew in terms of the space, time, and economic resources devoted to it, as well as expanded to include girls. To explain that shift, I suggest distinguishing classic rites of initiation from the system of life-cycle ceremonies typical of modern consumer culture, which emphasizes the transition between temporal markers rather than social statuses and imposes no task on the birthday celebrant.
Updated: May. 16, 2018
Nearly 400 ninth-graders from the Interdisciplinary High School in Hadera accompanied students from the nearby Neve Etgar School for Children with Special Needs on a Tu B’Shvat tree-planting activity earlier this year. The Hadera students decided to organize a music and crafts activity for the special-needs kids a week later. The two groups might never have crossed paths if not for a program called Tikkun Olam (Repairing the World), launched in September 2016 by ALEH, Israel’s care network for children with severe complex disabilities, in partnership with Israel’s Ministry of Education.
Updated: Apr. 11, 2018
Koolulam’s popularity has soared since it kicked off in Tel Aviv in April 2017, with Israelis jumping at the opportunity to come together with thousands of strangers — to sing. The NIS 40 ($11.50) tickets for recent Koolulam events have sold out in mere minutes. In under an hour, participants learn a three-part arrangement of a Hebrew or English song, and then perform it for a video to be shared on social media. Views of the videos reach into the hundreds of thousands, and millions in some cases.
Updated: Apr. 11, 2018
Foundation for Jewish Camp Rolls Out New Initiative to Address Issues of Gender, Sex and Power Dynamics in Camp Community
As more than 750 Jewish summer camp professionals, educators, philanthropists and communal leaders gathered on March 18 for Foundation for Jewish Camp’s (FJC) seventh biennial Leaders Assembly, FJC unveiled a new initiative to prevent harassment and abuse, sexist language and behavior in the camp community. The “Shmira Initiative” aims to change camp culture on all levels, implementing a shift in staff programming, training, policy and enforcement around issues of gender, sex and power. Shmira, in Hebrew and in the vernacular of Jewish summer camp, means guard duty, embodying the social and individual responsibility every community member must ensure a safe environment.
Updated: Mar. 28, 2018
Kayitz Kef is a program in Hebrew language immersion running at 10 Jewish day camps across America that its backers hope will grow to 48 camps in the next decade. For six hours a day, a staff of mostly Israeli counselors speaks only Hebrew to the campers as they participate in the routine activities of summer camp. English isn’t used unless there’s a safety concern.
Updated: Mar. 13, 2018