Thoughts on New Models For Jewish Education
by Noah Aronson
If a teacher or parent tells a child that they HAVE to do something or NEED to feel something a certain way, what’s the first thing that child does? — So, obviously telling a child that he or she needs to feel a certain way about Judaism will inevitably have the same effect. This problem only gets compounded in a religious school setting because nine-out-of-ten children we’re teaching are being forced to be there by their parents to be.
I must admit that I certainly wasn’t the child at the front of the classroom begging my teachers to teach me how to chant the v’ahavta! It took me many years of pushing Judaism away for me to eventually find my way back, slowly. It wasn’t until I started creating my own personal relationship with God and then with Judaism that I truly began to love and appreciate all the beauty that Judaism has to offer. And, just to be clear, there are still many aspects of Judaism that I haven’t fully gotten behind yet and it may take me many more years to feel comfortable with them (i.e., I still have issues with the idea of “chosen-ness,” but that’s a conversation for another time!).