Romemanu Mi’Kol Lashon – Raising the Discourse of Hillel Educators

June 21, 2015

Source: eJewish Philanthropy


Over 50 Hillel professionals met the first week of June at Capital Camps for the first Hillel Educators Kallah. Attendees represented the gamut of Hillel roles, directors, engagement professionals, campus rabbis, and more. Regardless of title or job description, we consider ourselves Jewish educators. But we were stuck when asked if we really consider ourselves educators – what was our pedagogy? What was our method and practice? How could it be assessed, and indeed, are we even able to really demonstrate our successes? It became clear during our discussion that if Hillel staff, regardless of academic training, are going to consider ourselves Jewish educators, we need a method and practice that will merge the central elements, or commonplaces, of Judaism (God, Torah and Israel) with the central elements of education (subject, learner, educator and environment). What would be a curriculum that could be shared by Hillel movement? Even further, how would we measure the successful implementation of that content?


Reflecting on my own work at the University of Michigan Hillel, we continuously create, evaluate and refine new access points to Jewish life. To do so, our event planning and funding process asks students to consider the big idea that drives their program, what outcomes are expected and how will they know their measurable goals have been met. And in addition to asking students to share photos of the event, students are asked to evaluate the program, describe the interactions between event planner and participant. We challenge them to articulate how the goals set out in the first place were met.


This allocation and assessment process itself is a learning experience for the student planning and implementing the program, and working with student leaders to edit and refine the process is a learning experience for the students as well. Refining our process to show positive learning outcomes for 6,000 Jewish students at Michigan is not an easy task. Imagining what it may look like to have a Hillel pedagogy for hundreds of campuses across the globe would be a tremendous challenge. But we are up to this challenge to raise our discourse. We have been charged with the sacred task of providing the tools for all Hillel staff to increase their ability to create transformative experiences with measurable positive learning outcomes leading to each Jewish student finding their unique voice within the ongoing Jewish narrative and, ultimately, to strengthen our community and to repair the world.


Read the entire post at eJewish Philanthropy.

Updated: Jul. 01, 2015