JEDLAB is 10,000 Strong

December, 2018

Source: JEDLAB Facebook group


Cheryl Cash-Linietsky is originally from Philadelphia where she attended Gratz College. Recently, she lived in Rochester NY and now lives in Far Rockaway NY. She has been teaching for longer than she wants to say and has taught in every setting possible in the Jewish educational world. Currently, she is teaching 2nd and 3rd grade in a JDS, is the Hebrew specialist at a supplementary school and also teaches on Sundays. She is one of the active moderators of JEDLAB.

As we light the last Chanuka candle tonight, I would like to share some thoughts about the JEDLAB Facebook Group and what this network is meant to be. It was created as a place to be creative, innovative and to think out of the box. It was created to bring all different flavors of the Jewish world together to try and bring new ideas, big ideas, to make a difference in the work we do. I joined when the network was barely 2,000 strong. It is amazing to me that we are now about to hit 10,000.

What attracted me to this network was the serious discussions of the big ideas of Jewish education and the people I was able to connect with. JEDLAB has really flattened the Jewish educational world. It doesn't matter if you are in a big city or small town, a seasoned teacher or a new one, what flavor of Judaism you practice, all are welcome. We are a very diverse group.

It occurs to me that most of us tend to live in our own little bubbles never interacting or getting to know those who's flavor of Judaism is different from our own. That isn't true of JEDLAB.

There have been amazing, respectful discussions both on the group and on separate online distance platforms like Zoom to discuss all kinds of issues from “Teaching Israel” to “Dyslexia in our Classrooms”. And the expertise that has been shared has come from every corner of the Jewish world and every flavor.

For me personally, I have created a network of people who are my professional learning network but beyond that they have become friends. And not necessarily people I would have become friends with in real time settings. Because, again we all tend to stay with those who are basically in our own bubbles.

My life is richer because of these connections, my learning deeper, my understanding of those I disagree with more profound and my bookshelves more crowded because of the people and connections I have made on this network.

We as a network, will have a Shehecheyanu moment in a few short weeks as we hit 10,000 members. But the real Shehecheyanu moment is when each of us reaches out and makes a connection with another person, when we decide to collaborate, when we listen to those we disagree with respectfully and when each of us steps up to lead.

JEDLAB isn't a top down group. Yes, there are moderators, but anyone can step up and lead. Anyone can post and push this community in a new direction. Set up real time JEDLAB meetings. PM (Private Message) someone you don't know. Set up a real time discussion. Explore, learn, grow! That is what this network is about-not selling a product but rather engaging in work that will enhance you as a Jewish educator and as a person.

Thank you, Tikvah Wiener, Ken Gordon, Yehiel Hoffman for starting this network. And to my fellow mods for helping to keep the vision alive. Happy Chanukah all.

Also see Sara Shapiro-Plevan's post about JEDLAB at eJewish Philanthropy.

Updated: Dec. 19, 2018