The core elements of creating and sustaining powerful part-time Jewish education programs
In response to the national census on part-time Jewish education released this spring, and the arrival of many new school directors in our community this fall we have created a new series spotlighting the essential elements of creating an engaging congregational school program. This six-session series will feature a mix of big-picture and on-the-ground ideas, and will be taught by an all-star team of Jewish LearningWorks partners.
If you are a new education director, or a veteran director seeking to be inspired, we hope you’ll join us for one or more sessions this year.
Spotlight is for new and returning congregational educators
This year half of our part-time Jewish education program directors are new in their roles. This six-part series will support them by exploring the core elements of a powerful part-time Jewish educational program. Together we’ll build community, review best practices, and consider how to return to vibrant learning post-pandemic.
- Aimed at: New and veteran directors of part-time Jewish educational programs that teach children K-8.
- Structure: 6 virtual sessions, 2 hours each. Zoom link provided upon registration.
- Fall sessions: October 25, November 15, and December 6, 2023.
- Winter sessions: Schedule coming soon.
Transmission and Translation – Embracing a World of Both/And
By Dr. Tali Zelkowitz
October 25, 2023 from 10 am – Noon
In this session, Dr. Tali Zelkowicz of the Wexner Foundation,will invite us to define and question the long-held competition between “Jewish Education” and “Jewish Engagement,” and to revisit our assumptions about what it means to offer meaningful and impactful Jewish experiences. Successful learning is a continual calibration of the necessary and productive tension between education’s two dominant goals “Translation” (the desires, needs, and purposes of the learner to make meaning, feel authentic, seen, as an empowered and creative agent), and “Transmission (a given set of concepts, ideas, perspectives, values, texts, skills, behaviors, habits of mind ).”
But today, and for some time, these two vital energy sources have not typically been working well together, often functioning as rivals, causing many schools to choose between designing for one or the other. What huge potential vistas would be revealed if as Jewish educators we could step into the “Whole” and respond to the question “translation or transmission?” with a confident, paradoxical “yes.”
Re-Engaging Your Why
By Lisa Langer
November 15, 2023 from 11 am – 1 pm
Much has changed about the Jewish educational landscape during the past decade, to say nothing of the past three years! Jewish educators are as committed as ever, yet many of us are struggling to align the needs of our host organizations, and the needs of our families, with what we know to be best practices in education. Lewis Carroll wrote — if you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there!
In this session, facilitated by Lisa Langer, we’ll go back to our why — exploring both what aspirations we have for our learners, and what aspirations they have for themselves. Together we’ll consider how the structure, teachers, curriculum and setting of our program advances those aspirations, and where there may be a mismatch. We encourage you to bring a copy of your program’s mission statement, and to spend a few moments thinking about what feedback you’ve recently collected for your families that may inform this interactive session.
Social, Emotional and Spiritual Learning – The Heart of Jewish Education
By Dr. Nancy Parkes
December 6, 2023 from 10 am – Noon
The research is clear: social and emotional skills are necessary for both academic and personal success. As educators our goals are many, but certainly we hope to facilitate learning that leads to knowledgable Jews, who live Jewish values and make a difference in this world. In order to do so, we need to think intentionally about how we teach children and teens to relate to each other and to adults; how we teach empathy and caring; and how we teach responsibility and resilience. Just as importantly, we want our learners to be happy and to reach their fullest human potential. Teaching and incorporating social, emotional, and spiritual learning (SESL) into every lesson can lead to the achievement of all this and more!
This interactive workshop with Dr. Nancy Parkes will introduce, and encourage you to engage with SESL tools and strategies. Along with sharing examples, there will be time to meet with your colleagues to discuss ways to incorporate these tools and strategies into your daily schedule and curricula. Watch this short video to learn a little bit about SEL.
All directors of part time Jewish educational programs are eligible to participate.
- Fee: $72 per session, or $175 for the first three sessions if you register by Tuesday, October 10.
- Registration is open until the series is full.
All trainings at Jewish LearningWorks are subsidized by our generous donors. To arrange a cost adjustment, please email Dana Sheanin at email@example.com.
About Our Presenters
A native of the Pacific Northwest, Dr. Zelkowicz completed her undergraduate work in Sociology on the Dean’s List at the University of British Columbia before attending Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles, where she received rabbinical ordination and an MA in Jewish Education from the Rhea Hirsch School. She earned her doctorate at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, as a Wexner Graduate Fellow. She received a Young Scholar’s Award from the Network for Research in Jewish Education and was granted a Writing Dissertation Fellowship from the National Foundation for Jewish Culture. Her articles and chapters on identity formation appear in a variety of journals, magazines and anthologies.
As a sociologist of Jewish education, Tali is endlessly fascinated by cultural straddling and the ways we manage the tensions that are produced by being a part of and apart from American life, as Jews. In 2016, after a decade of research, writing and teaching graduate students in rabbinical, educational and non-profit management degree programs at HUC in Los Angeles, Tali was fortunate to be able to translate her research on integration and identity work into practice at Columbus Jewish Day School, where she served as Head of School. Tali is delighted to be able to integrate sociology, education and Judaism as The Wexner Foundation’s first Director of Curriculum and Research.
Tali lives in Columbus with her film-animating and children’s-book-authoring husband, Benny, and their two children, Gavriela and Asher. When she is not integrating disciplines, she loves scuba diving, softball, board games, traveling, table tennis and is determined to coordinate a recreational Kosher Iron Chef competition one day soon.
Lisa Langer, RJE (she/her) is an Associate Director of Congregational Innovation and Education at the URJ and is a Clinical Faculty Mentor for the Executive M.A. program in Jewish Education at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. She has been a leader, practitioner, mentor and consultant in the field of Jewish educational change and innovation for nearly 30 years. Her experience spans all spaces where Jewish learning thrives, including congregations, camps, central agencies, day schools and homes.
Lisa is a graduate of HUC-JIR and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She lives in Menlo Park, CA.
Nancy Parkes is an educational consultant and founder of JTeachNOW. Her current focus is in helping Jewish educators and directors bring social emotional and spiritual learning to their settings. Several of her articles on the topic have appeared in eJewishphilanthry and she is currently working on an SESL toolkit for Jewish educators. For the past two years, Nancy has worked with educators enrolled in a certification program in Social Emotional Learning at Rutgers University as they translate their learning into their Jewish educational settings. Nancy also continues to work with schools, organizations, and educators as they embark on, or are in the process of, change as they redefine Jewish education for the 21st century. Nancy gave an ELI talk on this topic in 2015. For the past two years, Nancy has worked with the Matan organization helping leaders of schools and organizations bring inclusion into their settings, and taught Jewish Leadership at JTS. Nancy served as the Director of Congregational Learning at Temple Israel Center in White Plains for ten years, creating a new model of education that included full time community educators. She has become an outspoken advocate for synagogue schools and for the partnership between Rabbis and educators in bringing about innovation and change in this setting. Nancy received her M.A. degree in Jewish Studies and Education in the William Davidson School of Education at JTS and is currently earning her Ed.D there.