Learning and Teaching about What Matters

What issues in the contemporary world matter most to Jewish children, and how do children make sense of these issues? How do educators make sense of children’s ideas and their implications for the work of Jewish education? These are the central research questions of a qualitative study designed as a collaboration among researchers, Jewish children enrolled in both day and supplementary schools, and their educators. Drawing from interviews, storytelling exercises, and think-alouds with children, as well as interviews and collaborative investigations with educators as they examine the data from children, the study situates the ideas of both children and their educators as central to the work of Jewish education. The study seeks to develop new knowledge about how contemporary Jewish children make sense of what it means to live in these extraordinary times, and how their educators make sense of what it means to teach in them. 

Sivan Zakai and Lauren Applebaum are faculty members in the School of Education at HUC-JIR and affiliated scholars of the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Studies in Jewish Education at Brandeis University. This study is funded by an award from CASJE (Collaborative for Applied Studies in Jewish Education) at The George Washington University and is a research project at the Mandel Center.