Gleanings: Jewish Expression Today and Implications for Jewish Education

Spring, 2019

Source: Gleanings, Volume 6, Issue 1 


Empirical studies and anecdotal evidence continue to inform us that “traditional” forms of Jewish expression—attendance at religious services, keeping of kashrut, Shabbat, and other halakhah—are diminishing among a significant majority of non-Orthodox Jews. We also see a rising and emerging prominence of different forms of Jewish expression, seeking spirituality through yoga, Mussar study, and a reconceptualization of one’s theology. We also see expressing one’s Jewish identity and practice through art, performance, acts of social justice. Lastly, we are seeing prayer and theology expressed differently through the reconceptualization of G-d language, and self-improvement through seeing Judaism as a vehicle for positivity and human flourishing.

How do we, those doing and supporting the work of Jewish education, educate our learners for this new landscape? How might we think of our approach, our curriculum, our learning environments, and our relationships with our learners differently? What are the implications for Jewish education?

Just as our previous issue, Diversity in Jewish Education, asked us to consider Jewish education today as a result of the diverse learners today’s Jewish community displays, this issue informs us of various forms of Jewish expression that are currently trending and transcending our landscape, and how Jewish educators can craft their vision and practice for their learners, while being both proactive and responsive to today’s landscape of Jewish expression. We are pleased to offer pieces by our JTS faculty, alumni, as well as several partners and key voices from the field of Jewish education. We hope you find these discussions helpful to your work as we each aim to keep the faith of Jewish life, however it may be expressed, long into the future.

Updated: Apr. 18, 2019