Month: May 2016

Ever-Reforming: Educational Technology and the Changing Rabbi

In the early 1800s, the blackboard was an innovative technology that forever changed the way in which students interacted with the teacher and material in the classroom. Now a blackboard or dry-erase board is a clue that you have walked into a classroom. This technology changed the physical space as well as teaching model in classrooms around the world. Of…

Helping Our Youngest Jews Find Meaning in Music

The music that we hear often influences, whether consciously or not, the emotions that we feel at any given time. Music that is upbeat and in a major key suggests emotions such as joy and satisfaction. A slower tempo and a minor key make us more likely to feel such emotions as sadness or sorrow What happens when we hear…

Teaching Midrash in the Reform Sunday School Setting

The study of rabbinic text is essential to not only understanding Jewish tradition but also developing Jewish identity. Studies in Mishnah, Talmud, and Midrash force us to struggle with the reality of being Jewish just as our early sages did long ago. Facing complicated circumstances, our sages had to develop a mindset to ensure the continued transmission of faith, knowledge,…

Teaching Interfaith Cooperation: An Example of Service-Learning as Ethical Learning

I disagree with the ethic undergirding the oft-quoted rabbinic aphorism “the study of Torah is equal to them all” (Mishnah Peah 1:1). I disagree because the rabbis articulate in this statement a worldview in which “[l]earning Torah was…the supreme commandment.”[1] Chaim Stern in Gates of Prayer amended “the study of Torah is equal to them all” to read “‘the study…

Making Jewish History Come Alive

What is your favorite memory from your childhood related to Judaism? Is it your mother lighting Shabbat candles? Is it your grandfather leading the seder? The feeling of hot dripping wax from the Hanukkiah on your fingers? Whatever it is, my guess is it is not from Sunday school. Why is that? Well, many of our Jewish memories are based…