Source: eJewish Philanthropy
On February 28 - 29, 2016, Reshet (the newly established network for Jewish youth provision in the UK) is hosting its inaugural conference for the field of Jewish informal education, which we are delighted to be co-chairing. Research from the field indicates that the most pressing issue in informal education is figuring out how to work with young people in the 21st century. Consequently, the conference will explore four educational themes that impact upon how the newest generations of our community relate to Judaism and Jewish society: community, Israel, pressures on young people and technology.
We’re delighted to be hosting a range of presenters and speakers, including Dr. David Bryfman (a leading Jewish academic on teens), Scott Fried (an international award-winning speaker and youth educator) and Shelley Marsh (an influential thinker on informal education in the UK), and of course some of our own community’s very best.
At the centre of all our sessions, however, is the incredibly important voice of young people. It was vital to us that this conference didn’t surround and discuss young people without giving them a direct platform for their opinions. It is a model for how we would like communication in our community to be.
Of course, young people are not just the future – or even a future that we are at risk of losing to Facebook, FIFA and Netflix. Rather, they are our present leaders. Through school societies, youth movements, UJS and social activism, they are already creating the foundations that Jewish informal education rests upon, and without which, would begin to crack and crumble. To maintain a vision of the future that is vibrant, inviting and (most importantly of all), full to the brim of young energy, it is upon us to start listening to what young people actually want (and at times are already providing for themselves). This Reshet conference is our opportunity to jumpstart a new kind of communicative practice; it is down to communities all over the country to keep the trend working.
As a result of this, we’ll have the potential to move towards a new model of engagement – and indeed, a new communal philosophy – that can only benefit all of us: “if we build it together, they will come”.