Anna Pava, Chair of the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) Office of Education and Engagement published an instructive, important article this past week on the eJewishPhilanthropy website. Entitled Redefining Jewish Education: Federations’ Goals for a New Century, Pava writes that it is through Jewish education that individuals will be able to answer the increasingly asked question “Why be Jewish” and all its various iterations that are increasingly being asked by mostly young North American Jewry.
Writing from the broad “macro” North American perspective, Pava states “Jewish education has transformed to address these questions in a truly diverse and multifaceted landscape of opportunity, for varied ages and stages, happening across settings and around the world.”
She writes with pride about the efforts of Jewish federations across the continent to respond to the urgent double-sided need to bring young Jews to Jewish schools and to make Jewish schools places where young Jews and especially their parents will want to learn.
“As Jews and Jewish life have changed and as Jewish education has transformed, so have Federation priorities. Today, Jewish education and engagement is the cornerstone of federation work,” she writes.
Pava concludes by saying “Jewish education is no longer at the side but at the forefront of what we do. Through experiences and through relationships, through study and through doing, we connect and provide tools for people to raise engaged Jewish families and build Jewish communities of interdependence, warmth and joy.”
GAJE notes Jewish education has always been at the forefront in Greater Toronto community. The Federation of Greater Toronto and its forebears long ago understood the necessary, essential and direct relationship between Jewish education and life-long Jewish engagement. Jewish education has always been a key Federation priority in our community. Indeed, the Federation recently re-emphasized Jewish education’s pre-eminence and announced a reinvigorated effort to make education affordable to all families who seek it for their children.
And as we noted in the weekly update in Dec. 21, Federation deserves kudos – and support from the entire community – for its forward thinking. It has been “at the forefront” for a very long time.