An important conversation about Jewish education

We have, on other occasions in our weekly update, referred to the opinion of Dr. Erica Brown. She is renowned among scholars and educators for her writing and for her focus on Jewish education. We do so again this week.

Dr. Brown is the director of the Mayberg Center of Jewish Education and Leadership and an associate professor of curriculum and pedagogy at the Graduate School of Education and Human Development, The George Washington University.

She published a long article last week entitled Reflecting and Celebrating: Conversations on Jewish Education. In it, Dr. Brown encapsulates the key summary points from nearly a year of formal and informal interviews of “professionals in and around the universe of Jewish education”. She was “interested in the hard-earned wisdom of notable professionals in and around the field.”

In particular, she was determined to find out what the experts see “as the current contributions of Jewish education, particularly day school education, and could they point to successes? What are the most pressing leadership challenges today and the viable initiatives tackling these problems? What skill sets do they believe are most important to the work, and what kind of lay support is most helpful in achieving their goals?”

Dr. Brown distilled the most salient and repeated observations from her eclectic resource of experts into 18 bullet points with accompanying elaborative text. She hopes the document will “inform a communal agenda” aimed at ensuring the excellence of Jewish education.

We have reproduced only four of the 18 summary points – without any of the accompanying text. Their relevance to our situation in the GTA is evident merely by their titles.

Summary points:

4. Success lives at the nexus of strong practitioners and strong leaders.

5. We are generally more honest about acknowledging difficulties.

13. Day school education outside of the Orthodox community is really struggling.

18. Jewish education needs to be higher on the communal agenda

Readers are advised to consult the entirety of Dr. Brown’s article to benefit from the full effect of its substance and discussion. It is instructive. The full text can be found at:


Shabbat Shalom.


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