Learning About Learning: Conversations with Scholars of Jewish Education
Join us virtually for a series of conversations hosted by Mandel Center Director Jon A. Levisohn, in which leading scholars of Jewish education discuss what they have learned from their investigations of various aspects of Jewish education, and why it matters.
Children’s Theories About Judaism
Children’s ideas about the world are rich, nuanced, sometimes amusing and surprising, and for Anna Hartman, always fascinating. In this session, she will share her doctoral research in the field of early childhood Jewish education, in which she explores the theories about Judaism that are held by young children, and provides a window into their process of exploring and participating in Jewish life.
What Girls Learn in Jewish Families
In the past, Jewish families, like many others, offered girls fewer educational opportunities than boys. But that has not been the case for some time now. In her recent scholarship, Ilana Horwitz has demonstrated the ways that girls raised by Jewish parents complete more years of college and attend more selective schools than girls from comparable socioeconomic backgrounds raised by non-Jewish parents, and argues that this is based on a distinctive “religious subculture” in the home.
What We Can Learn from Seymour Fox and the Visions of Jewish Education Project
In the 1990s and the early 2000s, Jewish educators and educational institutions started talking about “vision” in a new way, prompted by the efforts of the Mandel Foundation and especially its influential leader Seymour Fox. For many, the publication of Visions of Jewish Education (2003) was a landmark event in the field. In this discussion led by Ziva Hassenfeld, Jon A. Levisohn will discuss a forthcoming article in which he analyzes how Fox’s ideas about ‘vision’ in Jewish education developed over time, some of the challenges that he encountered, and what we can still learn from them.
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A CONVERSATION WITH
Past Event Descriptions and Videos
Jewish day schools expend significant time and energy in teaching Torah. But what are they trying to accomplish in this work? In this session, Ziva Hassenfeld discusses her soon-to-be published research on students’ learning to read Torah, in order to argue that Jewish day schools can induct students into a way of reading texts that will serve them in all endeavors, from their academic studies to text messaging with friends.
How Debbie Friedman (and CAJE) Gave Jewish Education a New Soundtrack
In this session, Judah Cohen discusses his recent article on the crucial role that Debbie Friedman played in making song leading a core part of the Coalition for Alternatives in Jewish Education (CAJE). He also addresses the changes in Jewish education that resulted from this alliance, and why it still matters.
How Do Jewish Day School Kids Think About the Holocaust?
Holocaust education is a staple of Jewish day school education. What messages do day school students take from this education? In this session, Meredith Katz discusses her recently published study, which explored how a group of day school kids navigated questions of particularism and universalism, and how Holocaust education helped them to see themselves as civic actors in the broader community.
Most analyses of Jewish education, like most analyses of general education in Western, liberal society, emphasize the individual student. But some communities approach education very differently. Mijal Bitton discusses her research into how the Syrian Jewish community educates its members, formally and informally, to maintain bonds of commitment.
The term "Jewish education" is used to refer to a broad array of practices, approaches, and institutions. Ari Kelman has written a new book, Jewish Education, forthcoming from Rutgers University Press in its Key Words in Jewish Studies series. The series includes books designed to "provide clear and judiciously illustrated accounts of terms currently in use and to chart histories of past usage." In this conversation, Kelman talks about a broad shift from what Jewish education has meant, in modernity, to what it might mean for Jewish life in the 21st century.
This conversation focuses on Sharon Avni's recent work on how the everyday acts of speaking, learning, and engaging with Modern Hebrew inform our understanding of contemporary American Jewish life.
How does a Jewish theater company draw upon Jewish history to wrestle artistically with universal human questions? How do they weave new narratives through the work of interpretation? In recent work, Miriam Heller Stern has addressed these questions, and analyzed how the model of a creative company can be a powerful way of conceiving of adult Jewish learning.
Learning at a Jewish Museum
What happens when young adults visit a Jewish museum? What do they learn about Jews and Judaism, and how are they changed by what they see, touch, hear and feel? In this talk, Laura Yares discusses findings from a pre-pandemic study of 30 young adult visitors to the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia, and describes the rich learning that can occur in episodic, leisure time Jewish educational settings.
How Camp Ramah Met the Challenges of the 1990s
The Jewish overnight camping industry was on the verge of major changes in the late 1980s, when Shelly Dorph became the head of the Ramah National Commission. Jonathan Krasner discusses the case of Ramah and how it reflects on the challenges and opportunities that Jewish non-profit summer camps faced in the 1990s and early 2000s, and what it means for Jewish camps today.