Thursday, November 29, 2018

What do we mean by "lifelong learning?"

A piece I wrote for Jewish Federation of North America's "Ideas in Jewish Education and Engagement" blog appeared on November 28. Entitled, "What do we mean by 'lifelong learning,' I describe two of our most successful (and explicable) programs here at Emanu-El and the big ideas about Jewish education that underscore them.

Here's the tl;dr take-aways:

  1. Our classes form a microcosm of Jewish community, where diverse opinions can be expressed and, through thoughtful reflection and mutual respect, our students learn to accept one another for who they are and what they believe, and empower one another to grow as individuals.
  2. We study ancient wisdom in the context of intergenerational relationships.
  3. Our teen leaders are role models, sharing their expertise and modeling their commitment to Jewish life.
  4. The teens are proud of their growth as leaders and of the connections they make with the younger kids. Many describe their work as “giving back” to the community 
  5. We publicly acknowledge and celebrate students who go “above and beyond” school attendance. 
  6. Children play a crucial role in shaping the lives of the rest of their families.
  7. For parents, coming to school-based family activities normalizes the experience of participating in synagogue life, making it easier to prioritize it over other ways to spend their time and to consider coming to another activity even without their own children. 

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