Experiential Jewish Education: A Response to Pew

By Aaron Levi This is the second in a series of articles written by participants and alumni of the YU Certificate Program in Experiential Jewish Education (EJE), highlighting EJE related ideas and practices. Jack Wertheimer and Steven M. Cohen’s recently published articles in Mosaic argue that more Jewish education (specifically day school education) will result in increased Jewish endogamy and more Jewish babies, stating: “The gradient of engagement extends downward from the high of those who have attended day schools for nine or more years” and dwindles to those “who have received no Jewish education and who are correspondingly the least likely to be engaged in Jewish life” (p. 6). How do the Pew study and the Wertheimer-Cohen piece recast our ideal Jewish educational objectives, and how … [Read more...]

When Kolb met Hillel: Using Reflection, Conceptualization, and Experimentation with College Students

The authors lead an interactive session on the use of the Kolb Experiential Learning Cycle on their campuses for fellow Hillel professionals at the recent Hillel International Global Assembly.

By Benji Berlow, Lior Cyngiser, Erica Frankel and Michelle Lackie [This is the first in a series of articles written by participants and alumni of the YU Certificate Program in Experiential Jewish Education (EJE), highlighting EJE related ideas and practices. This article was written by four Hillel professionals.] How Students Learn When designing a program or experience, we as educators often pour most of our energies into the things that we can control: the content, the learning environment, and the method of imparting knowledge and do not spend enough time on what we cannot control: what the learner actually learns. And while we cannot control what our learners learn, we can create the maximal environment for the application of what it is that they learn. Through the EJE certificate … [Read more...]

Montreal Takes Communal Day School Capacity Building to the Next Level

By Dr. Harry Bloom The good news: Jewish day schools remain an extremely good investment. Knowledgeable community leaders understand the high return that Jewish day schools provide by graduating Jewishly literate, passionate, proud, highly educated, socially conscious Jews. Thus they make great efforts to support Jewish day schools. That support has traditionally taken the form of per capita funding or financial grants for tuition support programs. Recently, however, large communities have been matching funds from national foundations, including The AVI CHAI Foundation and the Jim Joseph Foundation, to engage day school support organizations - such as PEJE, the YU School Partnership, and the Jewish New Teachers Project - to offer communal capacity-building programming to their schools. Such … [Read more...]

At P’tach Lo II: Putting Essential Questions into Practice

By Rabbi Zac Kamenetz (Johnson) Last May, I wrote an article advocating for the inclusion of essential questions (EQs) at the center of experiential Jewish education as a means of creating purpose-driven, creative and fun programs. As BBYO’s Jewish Enrichment Team has refined the focus and reach of its educational framework - now known as ‘Kivun’ - we have created a set of EQs for our own teen membership. By integrating these questions into various points of our programming - chapter meetings, regional conventions and summer immersive experiences - our members will come closer to fulfilling our mission of having more meaningful, Jewish experiences together. Built upon Kivun’s three core outcomes - Identify, Connect and Improve - the questions below and others will shortly be piloted in the … [Read more...]

Boundary Crossers: Adult Jewish Learning Summit Explores Collaboration

By Judy Mars Kupchan and Dr. Bernice Lerner In a spirit of exploring opportunities for collaboration and learning, nineteen providers of adult Jewish learning gathered recently in Newton, MA. Co-sponsored by Hebrew College and the Florence Melton School of Adult Jewish Learning, the Summit for Leaders in Adult Jewish Learning opened a long-overdue conversation about how to advance the place of adult learning in today’s Jewish communal landscape. Forty leaders crossed the boundaries of their own silos to consider common challenges, learn from respected faculty, and discuss the role of adult learning in building our Jewish future. Veteran organizations represented by Drisha Institute, Rohr Jewish Learning Institute, Hebrew College’s School of Adult Learning, Florence Melton School of Adult … [Read more...]

The Lippman School and The Northern Cheyenne Nation – a Paradigm-shifting Educational Partnership

By Sam Chestnut and Rabbi Lee Moore What do the Jewish community of Akron, Ohio and The Northern Cheyenne have in common? We each struggle with how to transmit our cultural heritage - and a sense of peoplehood - to our young people. When Jewish students from The Lippman School visit the Northern Cheyenne Nation in their homeland, they witness a people determined to remain in the land that is sacred to them. Northern Cheyenne prophets and leaders built a great nation there, have survived genocide and persecution, and are beginning to thrive again - seemingly against all odds. Sound familiar? When Northern Cheyenne students visit the Jewish community of Akron, they learn about the ways in which a people in diaspora have developed mechanisms to maintain cultural identity, and yet continue to … [Read more...]

Kohelet Foundation Launches New School

The Kohelet Foundation announces the creation of the Yeshiva Lab School (YLS). Rooted in a constructivist model of education, YLS hopes to advance the Jewish day school field by employing replicable, empirically supported and developmentally appropriate methods of pedagogy. To meet the needs of the growing Orthodox community, this school will also be the first philosophically Modern Orthodox elementary school in the Philadelphia area. … [Read more...]

Making Philanthropic Investments Last: The Role of Financial Sustainability


[eJP note: This is the first in a series of pieces on the Jim Joseph Foundation’s Education Initiative. This piece shares insights and lessons learned about the institutions’ financial sustainability plans for programs supported through the Education Initiative. See below for more.] By Dr. Mark Schneider Dr. Yael Kidron American Institutes for Research Launched in 2010, the Jim Joseph Foundation’s Education Initiative has supported the development and expansion of 18 degree and certificate programs as well as leadership institutes at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute for Religion (HUC-JIR), The Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS), and Yeshiva University (YU). The Jim Joseph Foundation provided the resources needed for program development, staffing, student tuition assistance, and … [Read more...]