Pam Edelman writes about programs created by a small but growing vanguard of families addressing the Jewish educational needs of their children. She asks: Who are the parents behind these initiatives? What do they have in common? How might their actions inform the transformation of Jewish education?
"These parents are all highly committed Jews, visionaries, entrepreneurs, and adept community builders. They are exploring models of organized Jewish education that are alternatives to conventional Jewish day schools and Hebrew schools. Committed to leading Jewish lives, some are products of day schools; many grew up in engaged Jewish families; most, if not all, are very active in their synagogues or independent minyanim, and they support the Jewish community at large. They all strive for a meaningful, vital, Jewish existence for themselves and their children….
..they are part of a wider trend of empowered “prosumers” — parents who are blurring the intersection between the production and consumption of Jewish education. These prosumers may work in collaboration with local synagogues, or team up with other local entrepreneurial initiatives, or experiment outside the system. All are invested in learning from other innovative efforts and they are excited to connect with fellow change makers. They hope established Jewish educational institutions will follow by accelerating their pace of experimentation with new models and ways of thinking about Jewish learning."
Edelman thinks that the participatory and meaningful model adopted by these parents may well be the one which helps transform Jewish education.
Read her entire article in Sh'ma.