HOT TOPIC: How do we set and meet our stated goals in Jewish education?

Naomi Sandberg


 There’s a concept in educational planning called “beginning with the end in mind.” As we plan Jewish educational experiences for the next generation, we need to begin with what we hope the next generation of young Jewish adults will look like.  Then we need to figure out how to get them there.

So, what do we hope our next generation of young Jewish adults will look like?  When I think about this question, as a parent, I can’t help but think of my own young children.   I hope that as Jewish adults they make Shabbat an important part of each week that is spent with family and friends.  Their bond with Israel should be strong.  They should be well versed in prayer skills and meaning so they could walk into any synagogue and, despite some minor differences in liturgy and tune, follow along and participate comfortably in the service.  Giving tzedakah (charity) and performing acts of hesed (kindness) should be second nature to them.  Celebrating holidays with ritual and tradition should be a regular part of their lives.  They should, without question, identify as Jews and plan to raise Jewish children. Above all, each one should grow up to be a mensch!

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