A Model for Using Diversity to Bridge Cultural Differences
by Dr. Hana Bor
“Die!” That’s what it sounded like I shouted to my English-speaking students when they overwhelmed me one day with questions in our American Jewish classroom.
!די (Dai) is what I knew I was saying. It means “Enough! in Hebrew, the language I grew up speaking as an Israeli.
My students were shocked. I was confused by their reaction.
I asked why they look insulted. Then I explained what I meant and they took turns asking questions.
Eventually we understood each other and worked together.
That’s an example of a model we are building into our program of Master of Arts of Jewish Education (MA in Jewish Education) at Towson University in Maryland: recognizing diversity’s dangers and using diversity as a bridge rather than a barrier in education. We are working to bring new teachers into Jewish education, encourage professional development for veteran educators, and help develop a vital environment for day school, supplementary and informal Jewish education. Our students reflect their own diversity, coming from a variety of religious, educational and personal backgrounds.