Pushing Students Beyond Their Comfort Zones

Wayne L. Firestone

Our new engagement methodologies are based upon peer-to-peer relationships; we help identify student social networks as a means to engage their peers and help them connect to the Jewish community. In record numbers, Jewish university students are actualizing this role in a very real way—for example, taking hammers and power tools in their hands to help rebuild the Gulf Coast. This is not a comfortable experience. It is growth through discomfort as students push themselves to the limit and labor to better the world around them. Elsewhere, students are taking part in building themselves and their communities through active, experiential learning. They are discussing, debating, arguing, and agonizing over our ancient texts in an effort to answer very modern and often personal questions. We must challenge them to challenge themselves, to embrace the uncomfortable and to engage the world in active dialogue. ♦

Wayne L. Firestone is President of Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life. He can be reached at [email protected].
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HaYidion Nurturing Leadership
Nurturing Leadership
Summer 2009