The aim of this activity is to think about the components of a good Jewish educational system and to examine the reality in the community against the students’ ideal standards.

  • The task of the class here is to create their ideal Jewish educational system. Divided into small groups, the students should create a plan for an educational system for a Jewish community in their country (not their own community). Some of the questions that they need to take into consideration are:
    • Should all children in the community be encouraged to learn in Jewish institutions only or should children also be encouraged to study in the general education system? Does this differ for different age-groups? If so, why?
    • What should the supplementary system look like for children who go to non-Jewish schools? What are the criteria for a good supplementary system?
    • What should the curricula of Jewish schools be like? What should the balance be between Jewish studies and general studies? Should there be different schools for the different denominations or should there be pluralistic community schools where different denominations can study certain subjects according to their own philosophy of Judaism? Should there be pluralistic community schools where the students should be mixed for all subjects, including Judaism?
    • Should there be an informal educational system within the community? What would this look like ideally? Should there be different youth groups according to ideology? If so, which?
    • If the financial resources of the community are not sufficient to implement the entire plan, what should the priorities be? Where should cuts be made? What should the community make every attempt to implement?
  • The groups should present their plans and explain how they have reached their decisions. This should lead into a discussion around the individual points outlined above.
  • The next stage is to invite a community leader to come and present a survey of the educational system in the community. This should include an explanation of the compromises (if any) that the community has had to make for financial reasons and a survey of plans that the community has for the future (if any). The speaker should be sent a list of the above questions and should be asked to relate to them in the course of his/her presentation.
  • After this, the students should reassemble in their small groups for a few minutes and briefly work out their response to the presentation. They should also see if they can suggest one practical change or improvement that they would like to see the community implement.
  • The groups should come together and give their reactions and suggestions in the presence of the community representative.




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10 Dec 2006 / 19 Kislev 5767 0