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Big Ideas

  1. Recognizing and Reflecting the Diversity of the Jewish Community

    Recognizing and Reflecting the Diversity of the Jewish Community

    Community thrives on diversity. The Jewish community includes diversity of all kinds - geography, opinion, gender, religious practice, ability, family makeup, race, and more. All of these differences make the community stronger, more exciting, and more creative.  

    In fact, the population of Jews of color has been increasing in United States. In a report by the Jews of Color Field-Building Initiative, researchers estimate that Jews of color represent at least 12-15% of American Jews. More younger people identify as nonwhite than older people do. Learn more here.

    We recognize how important it is for Jewish children and families to see this diversity reflected in images as well as content, especially as they are creating and building their personal Jewish identities. Even young

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  2. What Will Religious School Look Like This Fall? SURVEY SAYS . . .

    What Will Religious School Look Like This Fall? SURVEY SAYS . . .

    It’s mid-August. For many students and teachers—particularly in the South and West—back to school is here while others will be back in session in mid-to-late September. We wanted to find out what back to school looks like in this awkward fall when things seem better even as we all remain cautious about what the Delta variant of COVID might mean in the coming weeks and months.

    So we asked, “What will religious school look like for Fall 2021”?
    47 schools from across the country responded in detail. And while uncertainty remains, and no one can yet retire the word ‘pivot’ (sorry!), educators have been finding ways to take the best from a stunningly challenging 2020 and move forward. Here are the results of the survey.

    How will your school be meeting this year?

    In contrast to last fall, when schools were zooming exclusively, most educators responding indicated that going into this school year t

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  3. Is the Time Right to Consider a Vision Change for Your Learning Program?

    The 2020-21 school year was marked by resourcefulness, experimentation, and creativity, among other things. It was different by necessity.

    As we emerge from the pandemic and look ahead to next year, when things will be different yet again, consider whether to step back and take stock of the big picture. Not the tachlis of what's working and what's not. But the overall vision of your learning program - what's the point of Jewish education and are you and the stakeholders in your community in alignment?

    "The answer to this question lies at the very heart of the approach we take in our educational spaces," writes Batsheva Frankel in The Jewish Educator's Companion. "We are always striving to be our best, wanting our programs to grow and improve. The process of considering change

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  4. The Perfect Hanukkah Children's Book for Today's Anxious Times

    The Perfect Hanukkah Children's Book for Today's Anxious Times

    Kids can sense all the anxiety around them. Here's a way to help them.

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  5. Time Constrained? Budget Crunched? Need a Judaics Curriculum? Start Here with Our Instant Resources

    Time Constrained? Budget Crunched? Need a Judaics Curriculum? Start Here with Our Instant Resources

    With so much uncertainty around the health of your community and how to reach and teach students and families in this environment, Behrman House has been looking for ways to help educators, to try to make things just a little easier.

    One of the things we have done is to develop a Judaics curriculum guide for part-time Jewish education programs that can help you structure a program to carry you through the school year. The guide is based on a variety of FREE resources that we have gathered together in one convenient place for you.

    This curriculum is particularly well-suited for small schools, those facing a budget crunch, or  those who may be cutting down on meeting times on Zoom and just need a few really good lessons to help you strengthen connections with your learners.

    The guide is a tool that’s based on 3 Big Ideas in Jewish Education. It shows you how the lessons are connected, and what learning will take p

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  6. A First Grade Boy and the Pandemic: A Snapshot Success Story

    I had the perfect first grade Hebrew class.  Everything ran smoothly.  As the students trickled into class on Sunday mornings, they played together quietly with clay, puzzles, and games.  We transitioned into a morning meeting for attendance and letter review. Then they worked on their Let’s Discover the Alef Bet packets and did related crafts and worksheets.  Before I knew it, it was time to send my happy students home.

    What, you don’t believe me? 

    OK, so there were a few “key players”.  One in particular, in fact.  He seldom participated in activities and didn’t gel with any of the other students. He rarely smiled. He said inappropriate things to his classmates.

    And then there was a pandemic.   We quickly pivoted to a zoom-only class in late March.  And the smile on my key player’s face!  He loved it!  He interacted with me and all his classmates.  He was adept at using his c

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  7. Placing a Value on Jewish Education During a Pandemic

    Placing a Value on Jewish Education During a Pandemic

    Should families pay less for remote learning? 

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  8. How to Talk with Children About Scary Topics

    How to Talk with Children About Scary Topics

    Q&A with Child Psychologist and Author Rona Novick

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  9. Contagion, Clinging and Closeness to God: A Hebrew Root For Today

    Contagion, Clinging and Closeness to God: A Hebrew Root For Today

    The Hebrew root for "infection" also points to "clinging to one another" - the best way to support each other and maintain a social glue. 

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  10. Meet a Model Madrichim Program

    Meet a Model Madrichim Program

    "Our teens are our crown jewels." What's M'kor Shalom's secret sauce? 

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