BECOMING AN EXPERIENTIAL JEWISH EDUCATOR – WHAT DOES IT TAKE?
Experiential Jewish Education (EJE) is fast emerging as the way to transform Jewish learning for this generation of youth and families. New programs are being offered through professional institutions, including the Jewish Theological Seminary and Yeshiva University. While many supplementary schools are offering professional development for their faculty in this area, educators typically get assorted pieces of the puzzle, e.g., community building or active learning techniques, but lack the broader framework and conceptual understanding. The questions that propel me as I design professional development are:
• What are the tools, knowledge, traits, and skills needed to be an experiential educator, and how are they acquired?
• What is the philosophy of this nascent field?
• What is the mindset of the educator?
After fifteen years of working in Experiential Jewish Education, I find it helpful to unpack the what, how, and why of this particular craft.