Jewish Education

Reflection on Art and Passed Down Memory, a production of our Educators Art Network.

On Thursday, March 2nd,  35 educators joined us at the CJM. Representing day schools, congregational schools and other Jewish organizations, art teachers, Jewish studies teachers and educators with other specialties came from all across the Bay area from as far as Fresno, Petaluma, Castro Valley and Palo Alto. 

We dove deep into Jewish themes, Art, and memory as we explored the CJM exhibition “From Generation to Generation” with Fraidy Aber and Janine Okmin from the CJM. Four stations representing different media set the stage for reflections through theatre, soundscapes, writing and art. 

We explored the powerful teaching tool of Zachor and passed down stories while Tamar Forman, our artist-in-residence, led us through text study and a hands on art activity with clay. Our sculptures told stories of personal interpretations and memory. The medium, technique and idea were all based on Native American art tradition.

Participants took away much from the program.  One commented that the workshop was " the most meaningful experience at CJM since it opened.”

Led by Vavi Toran, our Integration of the Arts department, hosts professional development workshops all year long.  

For more information, CLICK HERE.

A Message from our President

For me, learning is the nexus of our past and our future. Jewish learning is the gateway to a profound heritage that touches and explores every aspect of the human experience with honesty, wisdom and humor.  Only through education can we embed generations to come with the richness of our intellectual and spiritual history, making it a central, meaningful part of their lives as Jews, today and tomorrow.   

Jewish learning inspires us to examine what it means to live by values deeply rooted in Jewish tradition: critical thinking and debate, welcoming the stranger, responsibility for the vulnerable, repairing the world.  Jewish learning builds connections to the past, among Jews across generations and cultures, to Israel, and to values that can help make a better world.

Jewish LearningWorks is the only organization in the Bay Area that provides the backbone for high-quality Jewish learning – ensuring that teachers have the highest possible knowledge and pedagogical skills, that curricula are up-to-date, and that first-rate educational opportunities are available in the plethora of learning environments, styles, and readiness that our diverse community and modern life demand. 

In today’s world, Jewish learning must be both broad and deep.  I am proud of how Jewish LearningWorks accomplishes this, through a range of offerings from our extensive programs for professional educators, to Israel-related initiatives, to opportunities that provide in-home and event-based experiences for Jews with a variety of interests and learning needs. 

 I am particularly grateful for the dedication and capabilities of our extraordinary board of directors, our devoted programming and administrative staff, and our exceptional CEO. 

As the parent of three now-grown children, I have witnessed and experienced the impact that strong Jewish education has had on my family and our community. When I became involved with Jewish LearningWorks, eight years ago, I realized how deeply my family’s Jewish education was impacted by this organization. I am grateful to Jewish LearningWorks and honored to serve as its board president. 

L’shalom,

Julie Dorsey

Reflection on Enchanted Journey with Piyut

One participant shared this feedback:

"You brought us into the world of Piyut with a welcoming wide smile and delicious food, tastefully presented. The Moroccan decor and Tsipi’s attire and her twinkling eyes with endless longing for her childhood experiences were magic keys that opened the gate to the world of Piyut.

The balanced combination of knowledge and spirit enriched both the mind and the soul, that doesn't know how thirsty it is for that poetic world, obscure and beautiful, and which highlights the ancient Hebrew language of past generations.

You invited us to this poetic world through all the senses! We felt the piyut through body and soul. We stroked the glorious words as we visited Jewish homes in Spain, Morocco, Yemen, Iraq and Israel.

 

A pleasure!

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

 

Thrilled with the turnout and the impact of the latest program from our Integration of the Arts Initiative. We spent the afternoon with educators from all over the Bay Area for a sweet taste of Piyut, Hebrew poetic liturgy. 

Many thanks to our wonderful partners from Piyut North America, JCC of the East Bay, and Tehiya Day School; to our fearless leaders, Rabbi Tsipi Gabai and Vavi Toran, and to each of the educators who attended and have returned to their classrooms or communities ready to engage young minds with new and wonderful tools.

 

A window into the work:

We transformed the space with rugs, artifacts and props to create a festive and lively atmosphere.  We opened the program with traditional music in the background and delicious Middle Eastern food in our bellies.

We presented piyutim as the sound track of the Jewish people, and discussed the contemporary revival of this music in Israel and around the world. Rabbi Tsipi Gabai shared her personal strong connection to piyutim through her history from home, synagogue and her rabbinic studies.

We dove deeply into five piyutim, with an examination of the text, the origin, poetic elements, and community of origin. Rabbi Tsipi Gabai with the aid of two musicians - Katja Cooper on percussions, and Rachel Sills on the Oud, taught each piyut. Katja demonstrated on the different percussion instruments, their origin and purpose and Rachel introduced the Oud which is perhaps the instrument most associated with Middle Eastern music.

Midway through the program we introduced a reflective tool encouraging participants to complete one of the statements: 

“Singing piyutim connects me to…”

“Singing piyutim connects me to teaching about…”

 

We then formed a circle and improvised a dance interpretation of their responses, which included concepts and words including: past and present, heartbeat, happiness, ancient, roots... 

We introduced curricula and books for teaching Piyutim in the classroom and gave participants kits including 18 recorded Piyutim and Mizmorim created by Piyut North America. 

Toward the end of the program, we shared our learning and were blown away by the impact, just in a few hours.

 

22 participants attended, representing three day schools, six synagogues, several private tutors, one Hebrew immersion program, and one preschool, from all over the Bay Area and as far as Lake Tahoe Region.

 

 

For more information on Piyut, Integration of the Arts or upcoming professional development opportunities, email VToran@JewishLearningWorks.org.

Experiential Educator Training Program with Yeshiva University now closed

Bay Area Experiential Jewish Education Regional Cohort November 2015 - January 2016

The YU Experiential Jewish Education Regional Cohorts are dynamic, multi-city professional development initiatives for regionally based Jewish educators, providing them with language, concepts and theories to deepen their practice and better their trade.

COURSE NOW CLOSED.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT ILAN VITEMBERG

ivitemberg@jewishlearningworks.org | 415.751.6983 x 149

or visit ejewisheducation.com

This professional development opportunity was a partnership between Jewish LearningWorks, Yeshiva University, The iCenter, and the Jewish Community Federation & Endowment Fund

*Time and location subject to change