Saturday, February 12, 2011

Innovating Congregations: Groundbreaking Day of Learning

Coalition of Innovating Congregations taking a Risk.

Teachers are shifting the learning; they are
not covering subjects.

Rather they are
starting to uncover the needs and questions of learners.

Three steps for Jewish learning that speaks to real life. Not required: gluing macaroni on a paper towel roll.


inquiry, reflection, meaning making

Support children and adults in

1. Inquiry--giving voice to learners' questions

2. Reflection--on one hand the Torah says this, on the other hand my friends say that, you should hear my parents think...and yet on the other hand..sort it out

3 Meaning what's the answer or idea that speaks to the learner, informs their actions..worth testing out?

If we are doing it right the cycle continues and then there is continual inquiry, reflection and meaning making.

Listen to Rabbi Brad Hirschfeld from CLAL.
Indoctrination is out. Begin with the questions of children and adults. Your answers, Mr and Ms teacher are not the same as learners' answers.
Special Thanks to Mollie Andron, Coalition Educator, for filming Rabbi Hirschfield.
Rabbi Hirschfield inspires us.

This Sunday, twenty five Jewish educators from LOMED, the Coalition of Innovating Congregations, are having a day of learning at Macy's. Macy's is a place where children walk on the way. Move over fashion week.

These innovating teachers will walk through and uncover their own questions.
What does Macy's stir in you?
Ten questions in ten minutes.

"What should I buy?"
"Why can't I have it all?
"What if I were thinner, fatter, younger, older..something I"m not?"
"How do I decide.."
And many more.

Then texts will be texted to them.
What's Torah have to say about those questions that stir "when you walk on the way?"

You did inquiry now reflect and work on making sense of it..meaning.

Reflect.. Sort it out

What's Torah say about your question?
What do your peer say?
What's your gut telling you?

What's Macy's telling you?
Self-care and body image, floors 1,2, and 3
Ethical work (are products justly created) any floor
money, tzedakah first floor Cellar
Food Cellar, 4th floor
Parent/Child relations 4 and 7th floors
fashion, modesty 1, and 2nd floor
impulse control, any floor
peer relations, 4th floor

TALK IT OUT, as my teacher Aryeh Tepper would say.

Meaning Making...what makes sense, what idea, value, thought now moves to action?

Does Jewish teaching speak to your questions, your daily life?

Rabbi Jeni Friedman said, "When I tell people we are having a day of Jewish learning at Macy's the general reaction is, 'I don't take my Judaism into the mall. I never thought of it."

Later in the afternoon, after experience learning that is a conversation, not a "covering of material," the LOMED teachers will transition and hear the questions of their learners.

Teachers will step in to the skin of one of their students and experience Macy's as a 7 or 10 year old.

What's the implication for Jewish education?
What are the tools that teachers can use to structure:
inquiry, reflection and meaning making?

What are the ways Jewish educators can create learning that speaks to the everyday life of children?

Ask the seven risk takers: West End Synagogue, Forest Hill Jewish Center, The Reform Temple of Forest Hills, B'nai Jeshrun, Park Avenue Synagogue, Temple Sha'aray Tefila, Ansche Chesed.

Flip the switch. Jewish education for children and adults today explores a Judaism:
for everyday life and honors the Torah of a learner's life.

Learning not in a classroom, but where children walk on the way..ok it is an experiment...we're taking a risk.

The status quo isn't good enough. No more macaroni glued to paper towel roll, even if glitter is involved.

Big Todah Rabah to Tamara Gropper for taking the lead in designing the day.