Rabbi Alvan Kaunfer, center front, leads the project in Boston in partnership with Engaging Texts.
Boston Community of Practice: Hebrew College, Nov. 2015
A dynamic group of educators gathered for a morning of professional development as part of an ongoing Community of Practice around Philosophical Inquiry in Jewish Education at Hebrew College. This initiative is led by Rabbi Alvan Kaunfer in partnership with Engaging Texts.
Members of this commuity of practice took part in a four day professional development seminar workshop at the Shoolman School of Education, Hebrew College in June 2015.
During the session we explored design elements behind the curriculum and then put this to practice by creating a community of philosophical inquiry around the concept of ‘growth’ as reflected in curricula for Tu Bishevat.
The Engaging Texts network provides a space where people engaged in the innovative practice of Philosophical Inquiry in Jewish education can learn from one another and develop strategic partnerships across communities throughout North America. The network provides partners around professional development; facilitates the growth of cross-communal collaborations and provides an online library of curriculum materials to network members. “One of the things I appreciate the most is learning with other educators I would …. read more
Laura and Alvan Siegal Summer Institute, Cleveland OH.
This year was our 3rd year of offering professional development in Philosophical Inquiry with Tanakh through the Siegal Summer Institute at Case Western University. The seminar brought together educators from across the denominations and from Synagogue Schools and Day schools around the country. To read what participants were saying about the workshop read more.
Beginners Seminar: Laura and Alvan Siegal Summer Institute,
Case Western University, Cleveland OH.
This year was our 3rd year of offering professional development in Philosophical Inquiry with Tanakh through the Siegal Summer Institute at Case Western University. The seminar brought together educators from across the denominations and from both Synagogue Schools and Day schools around the country.
The seminar was led by Dr. Howard Dietcher from Hebrew Univeristy, Jerusalem, Dr. Jen Glaser from ‘Engaging Texts’ and teachers in Cleveland who are completing their Teacher Educators training in this approach: Bonnie Gordon, Marla Wolff, Amelea Zamir and Benjamin Barnett.
Dr. Howard Deitcher, Siegal Summer Institute, 2015
Amelea Zamir (teaching) and Marla Wolf (to her left): participants in the training program for teacher educators based at the JECC in Cleveland.
There are many new features to see, so take some time to look around! Our homepage offers you notice of upcoming events and opportunities to learn more about this innovative approach to Jewish Education. For members of the network, logging in will continue to give you access to all our curricular resources, but now members can join working groups, initiate groups around common interests, and access our member directory. Read more about what is offered here
Step inside and see the changes
There are many new features to see, so take some time to look around! Our homepage offers you news from the field, notice of upcoming events, opportunities to learn more about this innovative approach to Jewish Education and the work educators engaged in this network are doing. A map of the USA shows where people are using this approach across the country.
For members of the network, we have new features in the members area – logging in will continue to give you access to all our curricular resources, but now there is more. Members can
join existing working groups, initiate new groups around common interests, and access our member directory.
Members connecting with Members
- The membership directory allows members to find one another and connect . Members can update their information by updating their personal page.
- Member profile page allows you to share who you are and your interests with other members – and offers you a way to find others who might collaborate around our work.
- Who is on line? Once you log in, your picture shows that you are online to others who are also logged in. An easy way to enable communication. See someone you have been meaning to say “hi” to? Click on their picture and send them a note..
Any member can create an interest group to collaborate with other members.
No permissions, no mediation – you can start it by opening a group yourself.
Groups can share documents, create forums, (and more).
Groups can be created in different ways:
- open (for all members to join),
- closed (where interested members contact the group facilitator) or
- private (good for groups working on a project with a fixed group of people).
- For a group to be maintained on the site, it needs to have 5 members.
Your Personalized calendar and the Engaging Texts Calendar
When visitors come to the site, they will see all the public events on the Engaging Texts calendar – this includes workshops, and special events.
When members log on their calendar becomes personalized, gathering all the dates on the calendars of groups they are part of and putting them in one location. A larger version of this with color coding possiblities can be accessed from the members area. Not sure when an event is happening, or when your community of practice or working group is next meeting? Look it up on your calendar!
In Verses 9:8-17 God turns his attention from Noah to himself. “As for me…” Within this passage he reflects on the act of establishing a covenant and remembering it – that is maintaining a covenant (keeping it over time), and the intention to keep it in the future (I will remember). God also reflects on the ‘sign’ (אות) , or rainbow, as representing the covenant (as a sign of the covenant), as a way of showing us his intentions (it stands as a sign between me and you), and as a way of reminding himself of his covenant. These exercises and discussion plans explore these subtle yet very powerful distinctions.
Proverbs 12:10 מִשְׁלֵי
יוֹדֵעַ צַדִּיק נֶפֶשׁ בְּהֶמְתּוֹ
A righteous man knows the soul of his animal
You should not sit down to eat until you have first fed your animals.
(Talmud, Berachot. 40a; Gittin, 62a)
|You should not buy an animal unless you can guarantee it will have an adequate food supply. (Jerusalem Talmud, Ketubot, 4:8)
Moses and David are often described in our tradition as devoted shepherds who gave every animal in their flock personal attention. It was this trait of their personalities that made them worthy in God’s eyes of leading the Jewish people.( Exodus Rabbah 2.2)
Once, while Moses was tending the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, one young sheep ran away. Moses ran after it until the sheep reached a shady place, where he found a pool of water and began to drink. When Moses reached the sheep, he said: ‘I did not know you ran away because you were thirsty. Now, you must be exhausted [from running].’ Moses put the sheep on his shoulders and carried him [back to the herd]. God said, “Because you tend the sheep belonging to human beings with such mercy, you shall be the shepherd of My sheep, Israel.”
Exodus Rabbah 2:2
Divide into small groups – half the groups will work with the Exodus text (Shemot 12:13) and half the groups with the in the rainbow text – they should create a skit that shows what they think putting the sign (אות) up is about (putting it on the door, in the sky) in light of their discussion.
Divide into small groups – create a skit that shows how you understand the rainbow text in light of some of the distinctions you explored in your community of inquiry.
Discussion Plan: How do Blessings work?
1. Can you ask for a blessing? If so, what do you think happens when you are ‘being blessed’?
2. Can you demand or force someone to bless you?
3. Can anyone receive a blessing?
4. Can anyone give a blessing?
5 .Can you give a blessing without realising you have done so?
6. Can a blessing ever be a burden?
7. Can you believe in blessings without believing in curses?
8. Can you believe in blessings without believing in God?
9. What blessing would you wish for?
10. What blessing would you like to give to someone else?