The Future of Jewish Education

Our children and grandchildren will soon be veterans of two-months of “remote learning”.

Educators, pedagogues, social scientists, psychologists, and a large number of other interested and expert observers around the world are carefully studying the new, pandemic-originated educational environment and related structures. Their minds are to the future because, as we know, some of the educational – and societal – changes wrought by the corona virus will outlast the end of social distancing.

Articles imagining the new educational future appear regularly now.

We bring readers’ attention to one such speculation by Dr. Jonathan Mirvis, a Melton Centre Senior Lecturer in social entrepreneurship at the Hebrew University’s Seymour Fox School of Education.

In an essay published this week by eJP entitled Post Covid-19 – The Future of Jewish Education, Mirvis writes “when we move out of lockdown, we will find ourselves in a world that is radically different from the one we left with far reaching implications for diaspora Jewish education. Parents’ ability to pay for quality Jewish education will be limited and philanthropic resources will be under funded and overstretched.”

He acknowledges that most teachers have adapted well in creatively incorporating technology into their teaching. He states that technology will play an increasing role in the delivery of education. But Mirvis does not unqualifiedly embrace technology. He notes” we have also learned to appreciate the shortcomings of technology and value the importance of social face-to-face interaction…Many [students] feel lonely and sorely miss the social interaction of a classroom. Furthermore, holistic education requires real life social experiences in peer settings. As such, social frameworks must be an integral part of our new educational future.”

Mirvis thus offers four broad principles when imagining a new vision for Jewish education:

• Attract multiple participants of all ages;
• Develop personnel that includes parents and peers in addition to teachers and informal educators;
• Operate at an affordable price;
• Offer high impact programming.

Of course we take special note that he understands and emphasizes that whatever the shape and content of Jewish education in the future, it must be affordable.

•••

Be safe. Stay safe. Be well. Stay well. Be strong. Stay strong.

Shabbat shalom

GAJE

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