By Sue Bojdak, Director of Education, Temple Sinai - Oakland
One aspect of the EWJ program that Temple Sinai really values is the way in which it has enabled us to engage new lay leaders in collaboration on adult learning. The lay committee structure has brought new people into discussion about adult learning, into leadership in our community, and into more active participation generally. Thanks to our core group of EWJ lay leaders we are poised to revive our adult education committee which has lain fallow for a decade.
We also appreciate the way in which EWJ has brought together a new mix of learners. We have had a strong group of adult learners for some number of years now on Sunday mornings who are mostly people in our community with grown children. The particular outreach focus of EWJ to adults with school-aged children has increased the participation of that population in our Sunday morning adult learning programs. At the same time the quality of speakers and the wide range of engaging topics has enabled us to maintain many of our core learners. In the end we get a wonderful cross-section of learners and the opportunity to bring together different generations for a shared learning experience. I’m delighted that we have just been approached by a preschool parent asking for childcare so that we could increase our reach to folks with even younger children as well. It’s unusual in our congregation to have programming that includes adults across such a wide span of ages and stages of adulthood. We are delighted that EWJ seems to have increased our capacity to engage more learners at this wider variety of life stages and given us a chance to build our community across generational divides. It’s a real blessing.