Gleanings: A Dialogue on Jewish Education

Spring 2017

Source: Gleanings, Volume 4, Issue 1


What do we hope to achieve from Jewish education? If we no longer view the ultimate goal of Jewish education as reducing intermarriage, then what are our desired outcomes? How does the dialogue about goals and outcomes play out in our multiple Jewish educational settings and in the relationship with the philanthropists who support Jewish education?

In this issue of Gleanings, the ejournal of the William Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education of The Jewish Theological Seminary, we seek answers to these important questions by presenting two articles that help us think more deeply about our desired outcomes for Jewish education. Our first article was written by Dr. Barry Holtz, who provides a history of Jewish educational outcomes over the last 30 years and how we might look at those outcomes today through the realities of technology, text, and philanthropy. In response to Dr. Holtz’s essay, we offer three responses from Dr. Susan Kardos, Dr. Chip Edelsberg, and Dr. David Bryfman.

Our second conversation features Dr. Jeff Kress and Dr. Jon Levisohn, who present a debate, perhaps fake in its hyperbole, but very much real in our field today: whether or not our goal is for learners to build knowledge and skills or if educators should focus on developmental outcomes. Three responses follow, each examining the issue through the lens of a particular educational setting: Charlotte Abramson and Rabbi Sheryl Katzman, day schools; Abi Dauber-Sterne, Hillel; and Rabbi Avi Orlow, Jewish camp. Finally, our dean, Dr. Bill Robinson, provides concluding thoughts and aspirations.

Updated: Apr. 19, 2017