Making Jewish Education Work: Jewish Service Learning

January, 2011
The fifth publication in the "Making Jewish Education Work" series of JESNA's Publications and Dissemination Project, this report explores lessons learned from the Berman Center's evaluations of Jewish Service Learning, in partnership with Repair the World.        
The learnings in this report are derived from three sources:
  • Evaluation reports developed by JESNA’s Berman Center for Research and Evaluation
  • Literature about, and reports from the fields of Service Learning and Jewish Service Learning
  • Anecdotal feedback from practitioners in the field of Jewish Service Learning
The report begins by defining and describing Service Learning in general and Jewish Service Learning in particular.
It then describes who participates in Jewish Service Learning and who provides professional support for Jewish Service Learning programs.
The paper then reports on the accomplishments of Jewish Service Learning programs.
It then lists a number of issues which much be addressed in order to maximize the reach and impact of Jewish Service Learning programs:
  • Provide staff of Jewish Service Learning programs with high-quality, ongoing professional development opportunities.
  • Develop and publish standards of quality for Jewish Service Learning programs.
  • Generate measurable outcomes for Jewish Service Learning programs.
  • Jewish Service Learning programs should facilitate connections between participants who successfully complete their programs and Jewish communal and activist organizations to allow for a seamless continuation of activism.
  • Streamline the process of identifying the "right" Jewish Service Learning program for prospective applicants.
  • Determine the scope of need for programs of different durations, different areas of emphasis/subject matter, and different aged participants.
The report also contains two appendixes:
  • A description of 11 Jewish Service Learning programs evaluated by JESNA’s Berman Center
  • Interim Standards of Practice for Immersive Jewish Service- Learning Programs — Developed by Repair the World
Updated: Feb. 13, 2011