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In 2011 we started following a cohort of 1,000 Jewish 11-year-olds as they entered Jewish and non-Jewish secondary schools in Britain. We were interested in finding out about their Jewish behaviors, attitudes and identity, milestones, and significant events. What follows in this article is an analysis of six family stories, which show how we have been charting change over time in three ways—through themes that develop within a single family over time, themes that develop across the sample of six families over time, and themes that resonate with all six families at one moment in time.
Updated: Aug. 01, 2021
Moving beyond COVID-19: What needs to be done to help preserve and enhance Jewish communal life [in Great Britain]?
This report touches on multiple themes, including the economic needs of disadvantaged households, how best to maintain the Jewish charitable sector, the importance of supporting local synagogue communities and Jewish schools, how to address the potential harmful effects of the pandemic on the community’s informal educational infrastructure, health measures that should be considered to help protect lives, intracommunal relations, and issues around the use of technology to help support and bolster Jewish life.
Updated: Mar. 21, 2021
Though the development of Jewish schools in the United Kingdom has increased enormously in the past 50 years, the planning of adult Jewish education in the UK has been almost entirely ignored. This article explores the purpose and provision of adult education in three communities in the United Synagogue, the largest synagogal body in the UK. Synagogue-based adult education is apparently provided with little planning or measurement of outcomes. Community leaders and members take differing approaches to its aims and success measurement, with socialization being vital for participants, most of whom are in their senior years.
Updated: Nov. 05, 2020
In September, the London School of Jewish Studies is introducing a new programme combining leadership skills and Jewish studies. The Teach to Lead programme, based on the Teach First model, will develop high-calibre Jewish studies teachers across primary and secondary schools. The new cohort will be tasked with re-envisioning Jewish education for the 21st century to ensure we don’t only replicate old methods and approaches but bring new perspectives and solutions. They will have the opportunities to learn from practitioners around the Jewish world. They must be able to think creatively about what our young people need today to respond to Jewish ideas and how to nurture thinking Jews who are strong in their identity, knowledgeable about their heritage and passionate about their Jewish faith.
Updated: Oct. 22, 2020
Richard Collis hopes his musical recording of the Shabbat service will help more people to become familiar with the liturgy. Back in London, over the next few years he began recording the melodies with a musician friend from Edgware, Yossi Yoffe. And now he has released a musical double-album of the Shabbat service from Nishmat to Adon Olam with 64 tracks in which pretty every word of the prayers is sung.
Updated: Oct. 22, 2020
The British Government Has Stopped Persecuting Jewish Religious Schools. Now Those Schools Should Take Stock of Their Own Shortcomings
In the UK, most ultra-Orthodox schools operate as public institutions and are therefore subjected to frequent scrutiny by the Office for Standards in Education (OFSTED). Recently this has caused particular friction because these schools refuse to comply with requirements that they teach elementary-school students about homosexuality, transgenderism, and so forth. Ḥaredi schools have received frequent surprise inspections during which students were asked invasive questions about sex and “lifestyle choices,” to the consternation of teachers, parents, and administrators. Thus British Ḥaredim are understandably relieved that OFSTED ruled last month that their elementary schools would no longer be under pressure to teach about same-sex marriage.
Updated: Oct. 22, 2020
United Jewish Israel Appeal (UJIA) is committed to supporting the Jewish informal education and Israel engagement field at this challenging time. We want to, as far as we are able, support innovative informal educational activities in the time of COVID-19. We want you to ensure that there are creative, exciting, engaging things for young people and families to do this summer that connect them to their Jewish identity and to Israel. Therefore, we are launching the UJIA Summer Engagement Fund (UJIA SEF). We have committed £100,000 to the fund. It will provide grants of up to £10,000 per project.
Updated: Jun. 10, 2020
‘Marching at the Speed of the Slowest Man’: The Facilitation and Regulation of Student Autonomy in a Pluralist Jewish Day School
Based on interviews and focus groups with parents, students and senior staff, this article investigates how England’s one pluralist Jewish secondary school has, in contrast, attempted to accommodate various forms of Jewish practice and facilitate students’ agency to determine their Jewish identities as desired. It reveals that students enjoy opportunities to actively negotiate Judaism, but that their autonomy is not without limits, and issues inherent to pluralism exist in executing an ethos accommodative of diverse, personalized expressions of Jewishness.
Updated: Sep. 25, 2019
Intra-faith contestation in educational spaces such as religious schools constitutes an issue that has received relatively little academic attention. In response, this article explores the ways in which England’s Jewish day schools have become bound up in broader debates regarding competing conceptualizations of Judaism and Jewish identity in a context of significant polarization in the Jewish community. The situation is centered on two recent developments within the Anglo-Jewish educational landscape: A Supreme Court ruling that has obligated oversubscribed Jewish schools to avoid selecting pupils based on matrilineal descent, and the establishment of a Jewish secondary school whose pluralistic approach to Judaism has been deemed antithetical to the Orthodox movement.
Updated: Mar. 20, 2019
Britain’s chief rabbi published a guidebook for Orthodox Jewish schools to help them provide support for LGBT students in the Jewish community. The guide by Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis calls for a zero-tolerance approach to homophobic or transphobic bullying, despite a biblical prohibition against homosexual acts.
Updated: Oct. 04, 2018