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Summer of Jewish Learning

The summer can be an extraordinary season to fill with powerful experiences – the kind of experiences that elevate us, and change us. Each of us has the power to create such experiences for ourselves and others regardless of our skillset or time availability. What’s important is to do it with love!

Our team invites you to explore the following resources for Jewish learning this summer. Scroll down to find suggestions that include books, films, activities and Torah. We hope you find something for yourself and your loved ones!

Jewish Learning with Children

Through movies? Yes! In a 2020 paper, psychologist Ryan M. Niemiec investigates how therapists can use movies to help us develop what is best in ourselves: “character strengths” like creativity, curiosity, kindness, hope, prudence, bravery, persistence, and forgiveness.

If you will be spending time with children you love this summer, Liliana Peliks, Jewish LearningWorks’ Director of Marketing recommends “The Making of a Mensch,” a 11-min film by Tiffany Shalin that looks at the science of character strengths through the powerful ancient Jewish teachings of Mussar.

Through music and games? Yes again! If you are staying away from screens while driving long distances with children this summer, Jewish LearningWorks Senior Educator, Liora Brosbe, recommends Travel Time – a program from the archives of the Bureau of Jewish Education, put together by beloved and veteran Jewish educators from the Bay Area. Travel Time is packed with thought-provoking activities for kids (6 and up). The perfect solution to the question “Are we there yet?”

Print the guide, pack it in the car with crayons, and play these songs along the way!

  1. T’fillat Haderech from “And You Shall be a Blessing.”
  2. It is a Tree of Life, composed by Cantor Richard Silverman of Temple Israel, Westport, CT.
  3. Asher Yatzar from “Renewal of Spirit.”
  4. Ani V’ata, lyrics by Arik Einstein.
  5. Opening Your Eyes from “The Book of Miracles.”
  6. The Old Man and the Pear Tree from “Listen to the Trees.”
  7. Brothers: A Hebrew Legend by Florence B. Freedman.
  8. Brainteasers from Jewish Folklore.

Jewish Learning with a Friend

If you have planned leisure time with your partner or friends and family  this summer, make it meaningful by getting curious about how we all learn differently! We recommend exploring Pirkei Avot 5:15, using this text study prepared by Jenni Mangel, Director of Educational Leadership at Jewish LearningWorks.

Jewish Learning by Yourself

Dr. Kathy Schwartz, Jewish LearningWorks’ Senior Director of Professional Learning, recommends “Witness: Lessons From Elie Wiesel’s Classroom” by Ariel Burger. The book chronicles the intimate conversations between these two men as Burger sought Wiesel’s counsel on matters of intellect, faith, and survival while navigating his own personal journey from boyhood to manhood, from student and assistant, to rabbi and teacher.

Buy or borrow a copy from the Jewish Community Library. You will be transported to the sacred space of the classroom, and get to know Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize recipient Elie Wiesel as an extraordinary human being, and a master teacher.