Thoughts about a Jewish Education
This is a topic that has been addressed a thousand times and in a thousand different ways. What can we do to improve the education of Jewish children. I would change the focus to read more along the lines of what can we do to improve Jewish education.
One of the key problems is that there is a lack of understanding/consensus on what the ultimate goal of being Jewish is. It may sound foolish, it may seem silly, but I submit that this is a question that many cannot answer. Here are several things that need to be addressed.
Why be Jewish?
What is the goal of being Jewish?
What does it take and mean to be a good Jew?
There are more questions that can be raised, but this is a good start. I would argue that if you want committed Jews who are interested in a future and continuing Judaism you need to be able to answer these questions.
I would also add that there need not be one answer to these questions, there can be many. That does not mean that there are not some central core beliefs that must be adhered to be a Jew, obviously there are, but that is a discussion for a later date.
On a side note I should mention that posts like this are best started when I have more time to write and am not limited by repeated calls to dinner. In the interest of Shalom Bayit I must run for now.
Good Shabbos to all.
Anshel's Wife November 29, 2004 at 4:37 am
My son goes to an orthodox day school. He is in the fourth grade. The kids are learning chumash in Hebrew, Yiddish, and English. Their tests contain sections on translation. My son’s knowledge of Hebrew is so beyond mine and I am so proud of him. When he davens, he knows what he is saying. Sure, I can read along with him, but I don’t know what I’m saying. So, yes, Stacey, you are right. I went to a Conservative/Reform hebrew school back in the seventies and I’m still trying to catch up.
Stacey November 27, 2004 at 4:03 am
There is one thing that has always bothered me about Jewish education and my BIL and I were discussing this tonight. We are taught to read and write Hebrew at a young age, but not taught what it means. In other words: translation. And I think it’s wrong and turns many Jews off to going to services, because it is not meaningful to not know what one is saying. The curriculum of religious school needs to be changed so that our children know what they are reading and saying.