What is the Purpose of Jewish Education?

October 26, 2011

Source: Zeek


Maya Bernstein, Director of Education and Leadership Initiatives at UpStart Bay Area, discusses her vision of Jewish Education for the 21st Century, one which encourages the development of "Jewish educational activism". She describes how hevruta learning can be a model for how this type of ethical education can proceed.


She suggests that the process of Hevruta learning can inform and enhance the Jewish ethical activist classroom in the following ways:

  • Responsibility for the Other
  • Ideas are Multi-faceted and Complex
  • Deliberate Partnering – Paving the Way for Critical Relationships
  • Cultivation of Compassionate Listening
  • Movement between Intellectual Discussion & Personal Contemplation 
  • Nature of the Educational Relationship

She concludes:
"Hevruta is a powerful tool in facilitating the movement from study to action, and thereby helping Jewish wisdom stay relevant and agile in today’s world. Jewish education can contribute invaluably to the challenge of striving to define and create an ethical global community. In our Jewish educational environments, we must ensure that we train the next generation to engage in this process, armed with a set of values, texts, and tools unique to our tradition. The philosophical methodology behind hevruta learning to create ethical educational environments should be considered as one vehicle to help ensure that the Jewish education our children receive is one that will stay with them for a lifetime, and inspire and challenge how they behave as human beings in this world."

Updated: Dec. 06, 2011