Beyond More Jews Doing Jewish: Clarifying the Goals of Informal Jewish Education

Jan. 27, 2007

Source: Journal of Jewish Education, Volume 73, Issue 1 January 2007 , pages 5 - 23

Why has it been so difficult to define the goals of Jewish informal education? Often informal educators define their work in terms of the goals of Jewish socialization. Those terms have worked to attract funders' support, but also limited the educational creativity of this field. This article argues for a dual defining of goals: socialization and educational. Defining the educational goals leads to considering the works of Cremin, Peters, and Csikszentmihalyi who disentangle the enterprise of education from the broader sweep of socialization.

Viewed apart from its socializing functions, informal Jewish education becomes the moment for going deeper and experiencing our Judaism in its full creative potential. A camp music program is offered as an example of how these two goals can operate together, but lead in distinct directions.

Updated: Apr. 01, 2008