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A Time for Families to Be at the Center: The First National Symposium of the Jewish Early Engagement Forum
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens, (Ecclesiastes 3:1), and now it is time to put families with young children at the center of attention for the Jewish community. This is the message that Rachel Raz, founder of the Jewish Early Engagement Forum, and Director of the Early Childhood Institute of the Shoolman Graduate School of Jewish Education at Hebrew College in Newton Massachusetts, gave to approximately 120 attendees at the first National Symposium of the Jewish Early Engagement Forum (JEEF) on July 13, 2016. Given the increasing rate of intermarriage and the decreasing rate of affiliation with Jewish organizations, Raz made the case that the Jewish community must act quickly to form meaningful connections with families with young children in order to avoid losing more and more families.
Updated: Aug. 03, 2016
Now is the time to seize the momentum of Jewish early engagement and provide consistent programming for Jewish families across the nation. Many of our young adults have benefited from national Jewish camping initiatives and the national Taglit Birthright program, and have started to solidify their Jewish identity. As our young adults marry and start to raise families, we must continue to help them using a national approach with the task of creating a Jewish home and raising Jewishly identifying children if we want to ensure the future of the American Jewish community. One possibility for the Jewish community today is to determine how best to share our locally successful strategies of Jewish early engagement to even out the field so that regions that are not as successful can benefit from localized success in early engagement. The Jewish Early Engagement Forum (JEEF) has been established by Rachel Raz of the Early Childhood Institute of Hebrew College. JEEF builds upon conversations spanning two years about how to enable the architecture of a nationally uniform early engagement strategy for the American Jewish Community.
Updated: May. 26, 2016
To help increase the quality of Jewish education our young children receive, Hebrew College’s Early Childhood Institute (ECI) is expanding its offerings. ECI now offers the basic course, Child Growth and Development, a class that is required for Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care Lead Teacher Licensure. This course is a recent addition to the ECI suite of programs comprised of the Masters of Jewish Education with a Concentration in Early Childhood Education program, Jewish Early Childhood Certificate program and professional development seminars and conferences.
Updated: Apr. 13, 2016