Section archive - Informal Education
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B’nai Mitzvah Family Journey is a year-long pilot program for Russian speaking parents and their Bar/Bat Mitzvah aged children customized for the needs of the Russian-speaking Jewish families. This year-long program offers its participants an immersive, multifaceted experience so children and parents can learn together about the history, significance, traditions, and rituals of becoming Bar/Bat Mitzvah as well as main Jewish topics through a culturally sensitive lens and in the comfort of a like-minded community. Families will gather throughout the year for educational sessions, where parents and children learn about the history and traditions that have been passed down through generations. Participants will host Shabbat Dinners for peer families, learning the rituals and traditions and customizing the experience with their own personal touches. Each family will choose a personally meaningful Mitzvah Project, practicing the value of Tikkun Olam – acts of kindness performed to perfect or repair the world and deepening their engagement with the community and each other. Individual sessions for teens will help them prepare for the Bar/Bat Mitzvah ceremony and explore their own journeys among peers.
Updated: Oct. 05, 2016
B’nai Mitzvah Family Journey is a year-long pilot program for Russian speaking parents and their Bar/Bat Mitzvah aged children customized for the needs of the Russian-speaking Jewish families. This year-long program offers its participants an immersive, multifaceted experience so children and parents can learn together about the history, significance, traditions, and rituals of becoming Bar/Bat Mitzvah as well as main Jewish topics through a culturally sensitive lens and in the comfort of a like-minded community.
Updated: Oct. 05, 2016
USCJ Announces USY Reorganization to Strengthen Its Member Congregations’ Capacity for Teen Engagement
The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USCJ) announced today a reorganization of its youth movement, United Synagogue Youth (USY), to better achieve USY’s mission of helping kehillot (sacred communities) empower Jewish youth to develop leadership skills, a sense of belonging to the Jewish people, and a commitment to inspired Jewish living through meaningful and fun experiences rooted in authentic Jewish values. Guided by USY’s mission and vision, a committee spent the past several months collecting feedback from more than 1,000 parents, chapter staff and current USYers to evaluate the organization’s current strategy, business process and structural design. The committee was led by professional and lay leaders and included congregants, rabbis, teens, alumni and youth professionals.
Updated: Sep. 21, 2016
“He had a Ceremony—I had a Party”: Bar Mitzvah Ceremonies vs. Bat Mitzvah Parties in Israeli Culture
This article analyzes the gender differences in what the Bar/Bat Mitzvah ceremonies mean for the teens and their parents by surveying how they are depicted in popular Israeli culture since the mandate period until yesteryear. Relying on the classical anthropological assumption that ceremonies are a key to understanding a society, such a study can shed light on important aspects of the relationships between religion, consumer culture, and ethnic and national identity, on both individual and family levels. I will specifically argue that the gender difference in the popular depictions of bar and bat mitzvah discloses dominant patrilineal tendencies in current Israeli Judaism at the grassroots level.
Updated: Sep. 12, 2016
'From the Depths of Emotion and Awareness': Educational Program Development and Non - Formal Activities of the Youth Travel to Poland under the Ministry of Education 1988 - 2008
The youth trips to Poland that the educational establishment conducts through the Society and Youth Administration in the Ministry of Education have, for more than twenty years, been an important part of the instilment of the memory of the Holocaust and its meanings among the school students of Israel, and the shaping of their Jewish awareness. This article will present the way in which the non - formal education system within the Ministry of Education consolidates collective memory for deepening 'Jewish awareness' among the youths who take part in the trips to Poland, by examining the development of the educational program, 'It is my Brother Whom I Seek' (' Et Achi Ani Mevakesh ') between 1988 and 2008 , and by analyzing its learning materials, produced by the administration and its associates: Masua and Moreshet centers, Yad Vashem, etc. This historical - educational study enables learning about the processes of planning and development, ways of assimilating the (non - formal) educational system's policies, and the inputs required to this end.
Updated: Sep. 08, 2016
A new report from the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Studies in Jewish Education at Brandeis University, funded in part by CASJE (Consortium for Applied Studies in Jewish Education), offers an unprecedented look at the many ways, to what degree, and the reasons why Hebrew is incorporated at Jewish overnight camps across North America. Connection, not Proficiency: Survey of Hebrew at North American Jewish Summer Camps surveys the experiences and opinions of camp directors at 103 camps. As the report shows, the overwhelming majority of these camps are deeply invested in using Hebrew to connect their campers to their camps’ traditions, to Israel and to Jewish peoplehood.
Updated: Aug. 23, 2016
When primary encounters with Judaism happen outside the home, they are no longer connected to what our parents model as being truly significant and they are detached from the most impactful cocoon of all, where our life patterns are shaped. There can be little doubt that the priorities to which our parents commit themselves in the private domain are pivotal in signaling what they truly value, and have an enduring impact that is powerful. For years, Jewish educators have bemoaned the “drop off” phenomenon, where kids are “dropped off” at schools and youth groups that are supposed to “make them Jewish,” while the parents drive away to other pursuits. Even in those instances when parents are devoted to their own Jewish communal activities, these have far less influence on the next generation if they fail to permeate the home and ensure a thick home practice.
Updated: Aug. 10, 2016
Sometimes, as parents and educators we forget about the learning that takes place outside of the classroom. With all of the discussions currently going on about how to change what happens within the school building, we sometimes forget the valuable life lessons that can take place in the most unexpected locations and at the most unexpected times. This summer my oldest son attended Bnei Akiva’s Camp Amichai. His cousins had attended the camp for several summers and always seemed to have a great time. Yet, I was very apprehensive about letting my son attend. For starters, three weeks is a long time, at least here in Israel, to send your kid away. My Israeli friends could not believe that there was a camp program in Israel that was this long. Three weeks may not seem like a long time, but the longest he had been away from home “on his own” before this was three days! It was actually my wife who convinced me that our son was old enough and that it would be a good break period for all of us. For anyone who has ever raised an eleven-year-old, you know that the everyday routine is not without its ups and downs. Okay, good point about this 3-week break, but that was not my only reservation.
Updated: Aug. 03, 2016
The second annual Hagigah Ivrit of metropolitan New York, March 6-20, 2016 concluded with a sense of a new tradition in the making. Hagigah Ivrit, “Festival of Hebrew,” is a two-week celebration of local events and activities aimed at celebrating the Hebrew language and its culture. The festival in New York was part of an annual national Hebrew language celebration that took place in March in cities throughout North America. Hagigah Ivrit 2016 in metropolitan New York featured a broad range of events for scholars, students, culture vultures, and families that included film, food, songs, and fun. Building on its successful debut last year, the festival doubled its events and participating organizations to include 40 events in Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens, Long Island and New Jersey. Events were for enthusiasts of all backgrounds and levels of familiarity with Hebrew, from seniors to young children and their families and from fluent speakers to those with no prior Hebrew knowledge. All offerings engaged the audience in the beauty and history of the Hebrew language and provided opportunities to connect with Israeli culture and tale.
Updated: Jul. 19, 2016
This study focuses on the phenomenon of Israeli backpacking as a function of traditional, observant, and secular population segments. We explored whether and to what degree backpacking features are related to the affinity of backpackers with the Jewish tradition and faith. Our study was based on a sample of 120 Israeli backpackers who had returned to Israel in the past five years. An analysis of the survey indicates a clear association between the length of the backpacking trip and the affinity of backpackers with the Jewish tradition and faith.
Updated: Jul. 06, 2016