Extending the Conversation on Visions of Jewish Education: The Danger of Recipes

Sep. 22, 2005

Source: Journal of Jewish Education, Volume 71, Issue 3 September 2005 , pages 319 – 323


This article extends the conversation begun by Levisohn on Visions of Jewish Education -  by Seymour Fox (Editor), Israel Scheffler (Editor), Daniel Marom (Editor) in volume 71:1 of the Journal of Jewish Education, and continued by a number of respondents in volume 71:2.

These articles identify two notable themes among the responses:

The first is the issue of pluralism, and the tension between vision and exclusion. Despite the best of intentions, it seems unavoidable that vision-driven institutions must necessarily exclude certain ideas, certain practices, and most painfully, certain people; standing for something must always mean not standing for everything.

Second, several respondents are concerned in one way or another with the very nature of an educational vision. Particularly, the question arises whether the construction of a vision around the key question, "What is an educated Jew?", is limiting, either intellectually or practically.

Beyond discussing these two themes, the article extends the conversation about vision in Jewish education by raising a concern, which the author attributes to Franz Rosenzweig, about the way in which a commitment to organizing institutions according to vision may obscure the fundamental need for openness and spontaneity in educational arrangements.  

Updated: Apr. 09, 2008