Growing Jewish Education in Challenging Times: Seizing the Opportunities

June 7, 2010
In a summary post from the eJewish Philanthropy's Growing Jewish Education in Challenging Times series, Jonathan Woocher, Chief Ideas Officer of JESNA reflects on the great challenges facing Jewish education along with the great opportunities shown in the numerous posts which comprise this series.
He writes:

"This is a moment of enormous opportunity for Jewish education. Yes, there are real challenges out there, but we have never been in a better position to create a panoply of opportunities for Jewish learning that are engaging, inspiring, and impactful, even – and perhaps especially – for those who have been disappointed by or suspicious of what they perceive “Jewish education” to have been in the past.
Reading through the series of articles that have comprised the Roundtable on Growing Jewish Education, I am struck first by the sense of possibility they evoke and the recurring themes that contribute to this vision of success. When we provide opportunities to learn that respond to the real needs and aspirations of learners, that are serious and of high quality, and that engage learners as co-creators of their experiences, Jewish education “works,” and works extremely well.
Broad-scale change is never easy, but it’s a lot easier when we are building on changes already underway and on incisive ideas that are beginning to gain traction. The Roundtable provides ample evidence that such changes are taking place and that there is no shortage of ideas for how to extend and accelerate the momentum for change. This is the opportunity calling us today. We can grow Jewish education, both in terms of the numbers of participants and the quality, depth, and impact of the learning taking place, even in challenging times. We have the opportunity; we have the power; and we have the responsibility. All that remains is to do it."
Updated: Jun. 20, 2010