Search results for: Jewish literacy
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It is problematic when the primary focus is on process, the “how” of Jewish education, sidestepping the “why” and “what” questions. What does it mean to be an educated Jew in 21st-century America? What should the content of a Jewish education be? And why is the chosen content important in shaping the next generation of Jews? To return to the language of the marketplace, it’s not enough to consider how an educational program will prove enticing to learners without also asking what today’s learners need to master in order to become active participants in Jewish life.
Updated: Jun. 13, 2019
BimBam (formerly G-dcast) is a Jewish media studio. Our creative team has worked on over 300 short videos and apps, and we have big league experience from Apple, Pixar, the New York Times, etc. Usually, people find us through our work—they don’t ask us too many creative questions beyond, “Can I do a part in a video?” That’s because they or their kids already love the programs, and it’s easy to see our track record. Our Judaism 101 and early childhood education videos have clear and easily shared metrics—high viewership numbers, great audience retention curves and accurate aim at the demographics we’re targeting. What we do get asked routinely is, “Since this is media, how can you know that you’re really having an impact? What proof do you have that video can build Jewish identity or literacy?”
Updated: Jul. 27, 2017
What would happen, I wonder, if we did a better job bridging the academy and the community, convening spaces where greater interaction rather than token interaction becomes the norm? This is what CLAL, the National Jewish Center for Leadership and Learning, is attempting with a new initiative at the University of Pennsylvania that brings rabbis and academics together to create a bridge of ideas. That’s what I’m trying to do in the arena of Jewish education with a new initiative at George Washington University: the Mayberg Center for Jewish Education and Leadership. In the future we hope to develop new graduate degree programs in Jewish education, a distinguishing feature of which will be close partnerships with local and national Jewish organizations. A central tenet of the Graduate School of Education and Human Development, where the Mayberg Center is housed, is engagement between researchers, educators and communities in which teaching and learning happens. We also plan to offer a certificate in Jewish literacy, aimed primarily at Jewish communal professionals, as the only “non-Jewish” university to do so. The center will convene annual conferences to tackle areas where integrating research with what’s happening in the trenches can change the way we live and work.
Updated: Jan. 25, 2017
A century ago, Israel Friedlaender—scholar, communal activist, and educator—played a key role in such educational institutions as the Teachers Institute of JTS, the Bureau of Jewish Education, the Menorah Society, Young Israel, and Young Judea. A JTS professor and prolific writer, Friedlaender has been described as “the teacher of the Jewish youth of that generation.” Yet, scant attention has been devoted to exploring his educational thought and action agenda. This retrospective focuses on Friedlaender’s activities and impact in advancing Jewish education and considers the relationship of his legacy to current directions in the field.
Updated: Nov. 16, 2016
At Hillel International we have developed a “Jewish Fluency Assessment,” and we use it help us set a bar for the kind of knowledge and abilities we increasingly expect Hillel staff to have. The creation of this assessment was spurred by a new project supported by the Maimonides Fund, called the Ezra Fellowship. The assessment was developed by researching Jewish literacy tests and courses that are used at other institutions (the Jewish Agency For Israel’s test for shlichim, Bar Ilan University’s undergraduate requirements, synagogue Judaism 101 courses, etc.), and by having discussions and focus groups with Hillel professionals about the specific knowledge that is needed to respond to the issues that arise most often for Jewish students on college campuses.
Updated: Mar. 23, 2016
As part of a recent study, I met individually with Jewish studies teachers at pluralistic day schools, asking them questions about their goals as teachers and what they hoped to impart to their students. Our discussions included the topics of both Jewish identity and Jewish literacy, but while all teachers interviewed emphasized the importance of cultivating in students a strong Jewish identity, only about half of them described Jewish literacy as a pathway to the development of Jewish identity.
Updated: Mar. 23, 2016
When formulating a vision of what they want their students to learn, day school educators need to start with a shared understanding of Jewish literacy. This issue explores the connections between a vision of Jewish literacy and a Jewish curriculum. Authors consider the purposes and goals of literacy; suggest ways that Jewish sources can serve as an educational framework; advocate for various subjects, curricular emphases and pedagogical or delivery methods; and share specific initiatives that they have developed.
Updated: Mar. 16, 2016
The typical Jew in a Western country today may be a highly educated professional, but is Jewishly only semi-literate. His (or her) Jewish education was from a Sunday school, or afternoon congregational school. Forgetting about the quality of that education, it is extremely limited in its intensity, and usually not much reinforced at home or by the suburban environment in which so many Jews live. Many Jews cannot read Hebrew at all; of those who can, many can sound out the words, but without comprehension. Is this “The People of the Book?” Is it any wonder, then, that with so much Jewish illiteracy, so many Jews feel estranged from Jewish life, and do not have a strong stake in raising Jewish children?
Updated: Feb. 12, 2015
For all of us, day schools are an investment in the future. In the end, this isn’t about just preserving the identity of individual Jews. The Jewish day school is about strengthening Jewish communities — because Jewish day schools can function as core pillars of the Jewish communities they serve, places where ideas are shared and relationships made. They can help foster a sense of togetherness among Jewish families. They can be hubs for Jewish continuity, conduits to other Jewish agencies, synagogues and camps, and ultimately the mechanisms that will create the identified and engaged Jews who will support programs such as Birthright Israel for those young people that fall outside of day school reach.
Updated: Jan. 22, 2014
In this opinion piece, Dr. Marc Kramer of RAVSAK, takes issue with those who assume that the main argument in favor of day school – the main reason why parents should send their children there – is its impact on Jewish identity. He argues that the real argument is that Jewish day schools uniquely make possible authentic Jewish literacy.
Updated: Aug. 28, 2013