Rabbinics Standards & Benchmarks Conference: Collaboration Begins

November 19, 2015

Source: AVI CHAI Foundation


In an atmosphere of anticipation and excitement, a group of Jewish day school educators, scholars of Rabbinics and education and experienced Jewish educators has begun to collaborate on a compendium of Standards and Benchmarks for the study of Rabbinics in Jewish day schools. The initiative is under the auspices of the Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education at the Jewish Theological Seminary. The compendium will guide Jewish day schools in planning and implementing goals for rabbinic studies for their students. It is especially heartening that the group working so collaboratively represents a cross-denominational selection of schools: modern Orthodox, Conservative and Community.


This effort officially kicked off with a three-day conference at the end of October 2015, to be followed by a series of writing institutes. Sixteen schools are participating as “partner schools”, and will be committing time, resources and faculty expertise to the writing process over the coming year. Their educational leaders and faculty members will work first within their schools on developing standards and benchmarks; the schools’ educational leaders will then come together for two intensive writing workshops in the coming months. They will be joined at the writing workshops by scholars from across the denominations to determine the most important goals for learning rabbinic texts and make those goals accessible through specific benchmarks and performance assessments.


The participants in the opening conference addressed questions like: What does literacy in rabbinic texts mean? How does the study of text differ when looked at from different perspectives, such as historic, literary or halakhic (based on Dr. Jon Levisohn’s “A Menu of Orientations to the Teaching of Rabbinic Literature”)? How can students learn the skills necessary for learning texts as well as experience the meaning of the texts in their own lives?

Read the entire article at AVI CHAI.

Updated: Nov. 25, 2015