HAYIDION The Prizmah Journal

The Educated Jew

The Educated Jew

The authors here are engaged in an argument leshem Shamayim, for the sake of Heaven, over the question of what should a Jewish day school produce. Some emphasize cultural knowledge: Hebrew fluency, tefillah mastery, literacy of core texts in the Jewish library. Others view middot as central: ethics, commitment, curiosity, caring; while yet others choose social action as the goal.

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Praying Without the Lake

by Eve Rudin Jul 01, 2010

For too long, the two polar extremes of Jewish education—“formal” and “informal”—were destined to never meet. “Formal” modes of day school and supplemental education were reserved for instruction and stereotyped as “boring” and only content-driven, while “informal” experiences such as camp, youth group and Israel experiences were reserved for Jewish socialization and pigeonholed as emotional “fluff.” Thankfully, these simplistic distinctions have been questioned and the field has evolved so that “schools no longer limit their educational work to formal instruction and contexts such as camps and Israel experiences employ many different methods to accomplish their educational goals.”

Bridging Dualism: Cross-Curricular Learning in the Jewish High School

by Rebecca Shargel Jul 01, 2010
RELATED TOPICS: Mission & Vision

In many of our high schools, students are accustomed to a schedule that separates the day into English, History, Math, Science, Hebrew, and Judaic subjects. Segmenting the day into distinct subjects helps students develop skills and in-depth knowledge of specific content areas. This structure accommodates teachers, textbooks, and parents. Teachers are typically trained as subject specialists and they utilize textbooks that support their subjects (especially in general studies). Moreover, parents are accustomed to this structure, as it was dominant in their own school experiences. The problem with learning exclusively in this way is that when students envision subjects as discrete “islands” they lose the opportunity to see how different subjects are connected and to ask common questions. If high school programs facilitated more cross-curricular connections, students could find deeper meaning in their studies by seeing recurring themes and patterns that cut across disparate subject areas. Students would realize that some of the same questions are posed in science and Judaic studies or in humanities and the arts. These cross-curricular connections could facilitate learning that is more interesting and leads to a richer and deeper understanding of material.

Shema Bekolah—Listen to Her Voice: Women and Gender in Jewish Education

by Judith Rosenbaum Jul 01, 2010

For centuries, the picture of an educated Jew was clear and unchanging. He (it was a given that the educated Jew was male) had mastered a certain body of knowledge, including biblical, rabbinic, halakhic, and liturgical texts, as well as the languages in which these texts were written (Hebrew and Aramaic).

Creating Jewish Citizens

by Jill Jacobs Jul 01, 2010
RELATED TOPICS: Mission & VisionStudents

The “Goldberg Jewish Community Day School” prides itself on involving students and faculty in social justice. Faculty and administrators point to the twice-a-year service days in which students serve meals at soup kitchens, sing at a nearby retirement community, and clean up the park across the street. They boast that the annual eighth grade bake sale raised more than $3000 for disaster relief, and that the Tikkun Olam Club collected 300 cans for the local food pantry.

Jewish Day Schools as Incubators of Kavannah

by Saul P. Wachs Jul 01, 2010

Kavannah can mean intention, attention, purpose, devotion, meaning, significance. Kavannah is often the subject of intensive discussion in the context of prayer, specifically, formal worship. There is a tension between the value of praying with kavannah and the value of Keva. Keva refers to that which is fixed and in the context of prayer, it would include all of the elements that are mandated by Halakhah (Jewish law) or Minhag (local custom). The Jewish service is, in many ways predictable. On Shabbat morning in the synagogue, one can expect to hear the weekly Torah portion as well as a reading from the Prophets. The Shema and the Amidah will be included in the service as well. Adults can appreciate revisiting the familiar and the comfortable, particularly if their lives are constantly bombarded by change and challenge. Young people are more likely to be emotionally moved by that which is new and unexpected.

Talmud Torah Keneged Kulam: Martin Buber’s Secular Vision of the Educated Jew

by Judah Levine Jul 01, 2010
RELATED TOPICS: Mission & Vision

Pre-modern Jews had at their disposal a fairly self-evident response to the question: What does it mean to be an educated Jew? Most basically, the “organic” Jewish community recognized only one source of knowledge and values: the Torah and the rabbinic tradition of its interpretation. As such, one was educated if he had a familiarity with the canon, some ability to study it on his own, an abiding dedication to Torah study as a value, and a knowledge of the beliefs and practices that bound one to the community and linked one generation to the next.

Visions: Past, Present, Future

by Interview with Daniel Marom Jul 01, 2010
RELATED TOPICS: Mission & Vision

Tell us about yourself. What inspired you to become a professor of Jewish education?