Tuesday, November 8, 2011

working late

Went for dry gin martinis with Miriam, our social media director. We both liked extra olives. Back to the office to finish up details for the weekend. I'm going to Saul and Liz Kaiserman's apartment to host learning in their home this weekend.

I told Ron Wolfson about our plans. Ron said he'd put it in his book about relational Judaism. Sorry Ron has to write the book. Wouldn't you think it is intuitive by now, people before the policy? Human need before the agenda?

Over drinks at the pig n whistle (where else would Jewish educators go for a drink?)
Miriam asked me "what drives you?" Pretty nice for her to give two cents about my story. I was willing to share. Mostly no one asks.

I've seen it. I've tasted Jewish education that really makes a difference in people's lives. I've seen a kind of Jewish community and experience that helps people deal with daily crud. And helps young people be drawn to a profession of teaching, of service of the rabbinate. Only because I've seen it, tasted it do I believe it is possible. I believe despite every barrier and every slow going process imagined.

But come on..green light it, please.

I mentioned Community Synagogue of Rye. They offered a new model of Jewish education to their 5th and 6th graders. "Okay if we get ten children, we'll try our model." So instead they got 25 families. What happened. They hired three, very cool, informed "madrichim/teachers" to lead three havurote of children.
Big Shout out to Shana Zionts, their Coalition Educator. A Wow educator.

Each week, a group of 8, 5th or 6th graders meet together guided by this very flexible, open, role model young Jew. Who by the way is pretty smart and informed. Their teacher/madrich works with them to say, "What are you interested in?" What are you passionate about? That's what we'll learn together." The questions of learners direct learning.

The big idea..no matter what bubbles for you, there is a way to explore your questions, your wonderings and ponderings in Jewish life. The message to these 11 year olds:

Go for it, today and all your life,
Judaism is a rich place to explore
, discover, mull over and see the possible. Answers are tough to come by, here is a way to uncover them.

The group meets in one another's homes weekly. Or some weeks they go to the yoga studio. One week they went to the mall and interviewed folks on video about prayer. What did they learn..wow, everyone prays, not just Jews.

Once a month their families come together at Temple to celebrate a holiday/or Shabbat.

Come on, let's say it, the future is here. It is so simple.

Rye figured out how to replace Hebrew School with community, and relationships. It is not rocket science that the learner is part of co-construction of the curriculum.

At Rye they are figuring out how to make Judaism vibrate in the synagogue, the home and the yoga studio. This is not just play, deep content is part of this.

Did I mention, they learn fundamentals of Hebrew weekly on skype?

This is tomorrow, and you now Kol hakavof to Community Synagogue of Rye for making it happen today.

HELLLLLOOO Jewish community, I've got to ask you, outright, what's holding you back? Seriously, what are you waiting for? I've tasted learning that has impact. This is another version.
Candocan do. You can do it.

Last reflection:
A woman, who recently became a grandmother. told me "I do the cando method of grandparenting."

" What's that?" I asked.

"You know," she said, "whatever the parents say to do, you say, can do. If they tell you to burp the baby upside down, you say, "I can do it."

So Jewish community, it is time for the "cando method." The future is here, make it happen. Rye and other congregations are doing it. Stop tip toeing around a little here and a little there.
Can do, be bold.

Your children and families are counting on you to take a risk. Now.

Hey by the way, this is what it looks like out my window at this late night hour. Do you see the dance classes? It is either the cha cha or the macarena ..I want to join, hey can do!