Carpe Diem: Let’s Get the (Jewish Community School) Movement Together

August 5, 2014

Source: eJewish Philanthropy 


It happened for Hillel on Campus. It coalesced for Jewish Day Schools. Birthright Israel has done it. It came together for Jewish Camping. Each of these movements has succeeded in attracting and convening partisans and funders, creating excitement, attracting resources and making a huge difference in Jewish life in North America. Perhaps the biggest endeavor in Jewish life in North America has yet to flower in this way. It has great potential to transform Jewish life, and it is poised and ready. The majority of our children continue to receive Jewish education in synagogue and part-time settings and their families continue to be engaged in synagogue or Jewish community life. We have yet to seize on this huge opportunity for our community.


There are exciting things happening across the country. We are seeing a wave of innovation and change. New and exciting programs and experiments have been proliferating, including collaborations like the Jewish Journeys Project in New York, independent new models like Kesher in Boston and Edah in Berkeley, new resources and program online like Shalom Learning, and many other experiential and project based learning models in synagogues and other settings that meet the needs of families and inspire children and parents. These efforts are not only engaging families and students they are beginning to shape the future of Jewish life in North America.


The time is overdue for us to come together to celebrate this emerging movement, build the excitement and attract the resources that will be required for it to realize its full potential. It is time for us to convene, to share what we have learned, spark excitement, build a national agenda and seize this opportunity to reinvigorate Jewish education and Jewish life.


In response to Frim's call to create an active, vibrant form for sharing and inspiring innovation in Jewish community education, Iris Koller commented on his post:

"We need to talk together about what works and use technology to convene ongoing Communities of Practice to affect deep change. As colleagues we need to support each other through the process of growth so that we are prepared to meet 21st century opportunities and challenges.


The vibrant Facebook group JEDLAB  – over 3600 strong – is beginning to build an important and fluid network. Online connections are leading to joint study via Google Hangouts and in person meet-ups. While this group represents the spectrum of Jewish education settings and its members include part and full time teachers, professional and lay educational leaders, parents, and students, many are from part-time settings who come to JEDLAB with big questions as well as thoughtful answers for others.


It would be wonderful if Shinui and Nizan leaders would share what they are exploring and learning on JEDLAB. Together, we can continue to grow the impact of part-time Jewish education on the lives of our learners, their families, our teachers, and our communities."


Read the entire post and interesting comments at eJewish Philanthropy.

Updated: Aug. 07, 2014