Accelerating Change in Jewish Education
Jewish education today is on the cusp of dynamic and dramatic change. Old paradigms are being challenged and giving way to new approaches and methods that can engage and empower 21st century learners, enabling them to draw on the riches of Jewish tradition to lead more meaningful, purposeful, and fulfilling lives. Learning is moving beyond the classroom into the community, homes, and cyberspace; silos separating educational venues and formats are being broken down; alternative models and new options are appearing; teachers are playing new roles as guides and mentors; learners and their families are taking charge of their own educational journeys.
This process of change is gathering momentum, but it remains scattered and sporadic. As a result , Jewish education still struggles to keep pace with the rapid changes taking place around us and tens of thousands of potential learners remain or become disengaged. To respond to this reality, the Lippman Kanfer Institute is spearheading an initiative, together with partners from throughout the Jewish educational world, to accelerate the pace of change in Jewish education.
This initiative incorporates three levels of activity:
The first involves building a wide and strong network of support for Jewish educational innovation and change. The Jewish Futures Conferences, organized in partnership with New York’s Jewish Education Project, are bringing hundreds of community leaders, educators, thought leaders, and young people together to explore new visions and new ideas for creating vibrant Jewish learning and living. The Jewish Education Change Network, with nearly nine hundred members from every part of the Jewish education world, is a meeting ground for all those pursuing and promoting positive change in Jewish education. Its online resources, blogs, forums and webinars offer participants the opportunity to learn about and share cutting edge thinking and practices and discuss critical issues. The Institute also engages in a variety of advocacy activities, including frequent articles and blog posts and presentations at conferences and other gatherings.
The second component of the Lippman Kanfer Institute’s Accelerating Change Initiative involves work with key institutions and sectors in Jewish education where change can generate significant system-wide leverage and ripple effects. Most recently, the Institute has been involved in helping both the Conservative and Reform movements formulate and pursue efforts to create more integrated, learner-centered educational systems for their constituents. The Institute has also partnered with other national organizations to expand the roles of the arts and technology in Jewish education, two key drivers of broad-scale change.
The third major element in the Lippman Kanfer Institute’s initiative focuses on helping communities make systemic change on the local level. The Institute works with central agencies for Jewish education and federations in communities across the continent to educate local leaders and funders about the case for change, to encourage far-reaching conversations about new ways of working together, and to help communities develop sophisticated agendas and strategies for change.
To give further momentum to its work on accelerating change, the Institute is introducing additional elements and strategies, including ways of empowering families to become more deeply engaged as change makers for themselves and others and preparing and supporting local community activists to be effective change catalysts and facilitators.
Dare to dream big for Jewish education! Bringing together forward thinking communal and institutional leaders and innovative educators, Jewish Futures conferences and convenings explore developments in 21st century society, culture, and technology and their implications for Jewish life and learning. Click here to visit the Jewish Futures website.
Jewish Education Change Network
The Jewish Education Change Network enables all those who are working for change in Jewish education – educators, parents, volunteer and professional leaders, financial supporters, advocates, and learners – to connect with one another, to learn what leaders in the field are doing, to share their work, and to access ideas and resources that can help make Jewish education a more engaging, satisfying, and impactful experience for learners of all ages.
PUBLICATIONS AND RESOURCES FROM PREVIOUS LIPPMAN KANFER INSTITUTE PROJECTS
Jewish Education 3.0 - Technology and Jewish Education: A Revolution in the Making
The Lippman Kanfer Institute's Jewish Education 3.0 (JE3) project brought together professionals working in Jewish education, media, and technology to explore the far-reaching impact and implications of new communication technologies for Jewish learning and teaching. More than a dozen papers prepared for the project, as well as a myriad of resources and regular updates on new developments in the world of technology and education, can all by found on the project's website: www.jesna.org/je3.
Jewish Education and the Arts: Realizing the Potential
The arts are a powerful vehicle for engaging learners, for deepening their educational experience, and for developing important skills and dispositions that extend well beyond the realm of the arts themselves. Integrating the arts fully into education builds enthusiasm for learning, provokes wonder and reflection, unleashes creativity, broadens perspectives, draws new meaning from familiar experiences, and forges connections among students as they create and critique collaboratively. This proposition is now widely accepted in the general educational world. But, in Jewish education, the arts are utilized to their full potential only sporadically, and the infrastructure and financial support needed to expand the role and impact of the arts are by and large missing. To help Jewish education fully take advantage of this power and potential, Avoda Arts, the Foundation for Jewish Culture, and JESNA’s Lippman Kanfer Institute joined forces in 2009, with support from the Lippman Kanfer Family Foundation, to explore potential strategies for expanding and enhancing the role of the arts in K-12 Jewish education. Read the report on strategies and resources for expanding the role and impact of the arts in Jewish education here.