As planning for the start of the school year yielded to performing, many educators offered their reflections and insights about the lessons learned over the past six months of pandemic-related “revolution”.
Seven acknowledged experts in the fields of Early Childhood Education, Part-Time Jewish Education, Day Schools, Jewish Camp, Teen Engagement and Education, and College Engagement and Education, published a synopsis article last week on the eJewishPhilanthropy website entitled “What’s Going on in Jewish Education? Answers from Leaders in the Field.”
The article is worthy of our attention due to the collective expertise it gathers in one place.
We shall reproduce but a few of the authors’ conclusions. All of the educational fields discussed in the article are vital in and of themselves as well as for how they fit together to form an integrated, inter-dependent communal system matching families and children to appropriate learning format, where the diversity of approaches adds strength and where all parts understand that the sum is the surety for the individual.
From the three overarching themes identified by the authors, we note:
“The last six months have affirmed that Jewish learning can play an important, even vital, role in people’s lives. Demand for Torah study and other educational offerings shows that people want these opportunities especially at difficult times in life. Some look to Jewish learning for deeply personal reasons. Others look at these learning experiences as ways to create or strengthen a support network of peers. Whatever the reason, Jewish education is part of many people’s lives right now.”
From observations about day school education:
“Perhaps the most poignant lesson to emerge is the fundamental understanding of the role teachers play in creating a vibrant community. We all know that our educators do much more than teach a subject – they build connections with our children to Judaism, to learning, and to their community. Faculty, true front-line heroes, have become role models of resilience, flexibility, and hope.”
From observations about college students:
“Young Jews are clamoring for meaning, friendship, and community. They will hungrily participate in the study of Torah if invited through a warm, giving relationship. Even as our classroom shifts, from the quad to the Zoom room, the demand for Jewish learning endures.”
There is much in these observations for us to consider and take to heart and on which to continue building the infrastructure – education – that is the best guarantor, in perpetuity, of the future of the Jewish people. It falls to us to help ensure that all families can afford to find their place in that infrastructure.
Be safe. Stay safe. Be well. Stay well. Be strong. Stay strong.
Shabbat shalom. Gmar chatimah tovah.