Search results for: Woocher Jonathan S.
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It isn’t really the 25th anniversary of what came to be called the “Jewish continuity” endeavor in North America. The first Continuity Commission was established in Cleveland before the 1990 National Jewish Population Survey was mounted; and the first results of the 1990 NJPS – including the alarm-ringing, hand-wringing statistic of a 52% intermarriage rate – didn’t appear until the calendar had turned. But, 1990 is a convenient enough date to mark the beginning of a significant effort that has unfolded over the past two and a half decades aimed at strengthening Jewish identity and engagement among American Jews, many of whom, it was argued then and since (viz. the reactions to the 2013 Pew study) are in danger of or are already being lost to Jewish life as active participants.
Updated: Aug. 04, 2015
Since the end of the summer, I’ve had the opportunity to participate in two day-long meetings dealing with Hebrew in day schools and other parts of our Jewish educational system. Both meetings, though forward-looking in their focus, reflected what seemed to be a shared sense among participants that Hebrew language learning and teaching—despite some notable bright spots—generally faces an uphill struggle in our schools. The problem is not one of lack of good curricula or pedagogic knowledge, though there certainly are concerns about finding and preparing an adequate supply of capable teachers. Rather, again and again, participants in the conversations pointed to a “crisis of confidence and commitment”: the lack of a clear sense of purpose and growing questioning from parents, students and even school leadership as to whether the time and energy devoted to teaching Hebrew could be better spent elsewhere.
Updated: Jan. 05, 2015
Jonathan Woocher offers an extended meditation on the need for a new paradigm for Jewish education to meet the individual and communal needs of the Jewish people in the 21st century. An impressive panel of respondents from the Jewish educational world will offer their reactions and analyses of Woocher's piece in the next issue of JJE.
Updated: Sep. 27, 2012
Jonathan Woocher examines what constitutes success for today's day schools and what should constitute success to for our students as 21st century learners and as 21st century Jews. He indicates that what is needed is a far-reaching reconception of the nature of school, one less aligned with the strictures of American success and more aligned with Jewish culture and values and a larger vision of educational excellence.
Updated: May. 13, 2012
In a blog post on the URJ blog, Dr. Jonathan Woocher, Chief Ideas Officer and Director of the Lippman Kanfer Institute at JESNA, calls for a reinventing of Jewish education. That isn't because Jewish education today is bad; it's because it can be much, much better than it is. In order to have Jewish education serve the needs of the 21st century North American Jewish people, it is necessary to accelerate a few paradigm shifts that are already under way.
Updated: Aug. 30, 2011
For millions of American Jews, the words “Jewish education” most likely conjure images of days spent in synagogue classrooms decoding Hebrew, reciting prayers, learning holiday customs, and reading about biblical figures. This is the past, but not the future of congregational education. This form of part-time, mostly afterschool and/or weekend Jewish learning has been the most popular single setting for the Jewish education of Jewish children for many decades. More than 2,000 supplementary schools (most, though not all, of which are part of synagogues) are the main source of Jewish education for more than 230,000 Jewish children in North America making them the largest 'network' operating in the arena of Jewish education. Despite its popularity, supplementary education has long been subject to often biting criticism as ineffectual or worse. In recent years, these critiques have sparked renewed efforts to improve and even transform congregational education. The breadth and scope of these efforts, encompassing hundreds of synagogues and dozens of communities, have made it more urgent that we understand the dynamics of congregational educational change: how it works and how to make it work better. This article draws on a large body of evaluation research conducted in the main by the Jewish Education Service of North America (JESNA) research team across many settings. Turning to this corpus, the authors tease out some general principles for what it would take to transform congregational education, something that they believe is desirable, difficult, but doable.
Updated: Mar. 08, 2011
In this article, the authors explore the broad implications of the impact of the technology revolution on Jewish education. It is adapted from the “core narrative” that is part of JESNA’s special website devoted to technology and Jewish education.
Updated: Jan. 31, 2011
Redesigning Jewish Education for the 21st Century, the initial Working Paper of the Lippman Kanfer Institute, lays out the case for change in how we do and deliver Jewish education in order to keep it relevant and effective in the 21st century. The Paper describes three core 'design principles' for the Jewish education we need: that it be learner-centered, relationship-infused, and life-focused. The Working Paper imagines what an educational system based on these principles might look like and discusses a variety of strategies for making the changes needed.
Updated: Aug. 29, 2010
In a summary post from the eJewish Philanthropy's Growing Jewish Education in Challenging Times series, Jonathan Woocher, Chief Ideas Officer of JESNA reflects on the great challenges facing Jewish education along with the great opportunities shown in the numerous posts which comprise this series.
Updated: Jun. 20, 2010
Dr. Jonathan S. Woocher of JESNA discusses the options facing Jewish day school stakeholders faced with global economic recession, combined with underlying demographic factors which endanger the growth and development of day schools. This paper is based on a comprehensive study, Day School Education in Challenging Times: Examining the Strategic Options, carried out by JESNA’s Lippman Kanfer Institute.
Updated: Jun. 06, 2010