The New Old Journey
Updated: Mar 16, 2018
I’ve made a big change this year. Turning towards freelance curriculum development is both an exciting and scary proposition. On the one hand, it allows me to do the work about which I am most passionate–namely, designing, creating, and implementing immersive Jewish experiences. I get to consult for and support professionals and organizations seeking to actualize their educational vision for specific groups of learners. The curricula and experiences we create can potentially alter a learner’s life trajectory. That’s a huge privilege. At the same time, I now have to forge my own path and form my own voice within the Jewish community. I have to have confidence that my background, training, skills, and experiences will create unique added value in the curricula that I help design, write, and edit.
My evolution as a person and professional is, of course, unique to me. But I believe they also derive from the same dynamic struggle that has characterized Jews in the modern world since their emancipation in Europe in the 18th Century. When the ghetto walls opened, those who ventured beyond had to develop new areas of knowledge, skills, and sensibilities. They had to reflect on their Jewish practices and decide if and in which form they were compatible to the lives they chose to lead. They had to think critically about how to translate Jewish history and heritage to a new generation of Jews very different from the ones that preceded them.
In America today, the Jewish community is undergoing a dramatic sea-change. Many Jews are eager to re-examine and reinterpret the communal mores and conventions guiding America’s Jewish community for the past 50 years. Social, economic, and cultural upheavals—in America, Israel, and around the world—necessitate asking enduring questions that could generate potentially discomforting responses but that may also benefit the Jewish people in the long run. So: What does it mean to be Jewish in 2018? What Jewish knowledge, skills, and sensibilities does this generation require, and how are these different than in the past? How can Jewish education uplift the Jewish people as we continue to evolve throughout the 21st Century?
Come join the conversation, and let me know what you think!