Reinvigorating Hebrew Schools: A New Approach

July 1, 2009

Source: The Jewish Week


In this opinion piece, Jonathan Woocher, JESNA's Chief Ideas Officer, tries to provide an answer to a very pressing question for American Jews: "Can supplementary education provide a meaningful and satisfying Jewish educational experience"?


His reply: By adopting an innovative approach, mapping the current landscape and working with existing providers and potential new ones, to build a “system” that would offer as many high-quality options as the market can support that goal might be attained.


"Such an approach would not in any way displace synagogues from their roles as primary providers — though it might free them to think creatively about new ways to configure their programs. For instance, several congregations could combine to operate a set of magnet schools with different curricular emphases, or meeting times could be established that would be available to all their members. Nor would this approach make less necessary or valuable the work taking place today aimed at helping providers ensure that they deliver the highest quality Jewish learning experiences. What it would do is enable us to engage more children and families in Jewish learning, with greater satisfaction, and with greater impact."

Updated: Aug. 05, 2009