Why I’ve devoted my recent career to advocate for the Jewish Community
I didn’t start out as a Jewish educator. I began my professional career as a Career Development Consultant*, and Jewish education was ‘something I always did on the side’, often while working full-time at my “real” job. I began working in Jewish education by tutoring while in high school, then teaching in supplementary schools while in college and beyond, and finally taking on a position as an Education Director at a synagogue.
The work attracted my passion slowly but resolutely and when I was offered the opportunity to work in Jewish camping full-time, I grappled with the challenge of giving up a career that had been very rewarding to me over the years. It was probably one of the hardest decisions I had to make.
It’s been over a dozen years since I began as a full-time Jewish educator. I’ve never looked back, and I’d like you to care about the future of Judaism as much as I do, often through the lens of Jewish teens.
I hope that the many years I spent teaching in supplementary schools, and working in camping (17 years as camper, counselor, teacher, advisor, Assistant Director). will add authenticity to my blog posts and distill over 35 years of experience working in formal and informal settings. I don’t mind shaking things up a bit, and would like you to journey with me as we envision a different future for Jewish teens.
*Career Development Consultant. I know that seems odd, working with others on Career Development, and changing my career. Careers are not static, but instead are reflective of individual growth, being ever in a state of change and development. The trick is to explore those paths!}
About the Blog: I want to challenge your assumptions, get you to think about the issues in different ways, and ultimately, try to get you to care about the Jewish community. My heart goes out especially to Jewish teens. Why? Because we are experiencing a crisis of commitment and they are an underserved population, that is until they get to the college campus.
Then program funding is available, from free trips to Israel, service trips abroad, and fellowships. Those are just some of the offerings. However, in the precious years from grade 8 (after Bar/Bat Mitzvah) to grade 12, beyond youth group and camp (great programmatic options) there’s not much more that’s compelling on a regular basis.
Teens are our future, and we need to pay attention to them if we want to change the leadership paradigm. I write for those of us working in the Jewish community: teachers, administrators, parents, counselors, advisers This is where I can share news, information, ideas, thoughts, concepts, and new programs with you.
Disclaimer: what I write about are thoughts based on my experiences. Having been the Director of one of the country’s largest supplementary community high schools for close to 15 years, I’ve seen the issues up close.
Please share your thoughts and comments! If you find it helpful to pass along a blog or two, please attribute appropriately and above all else, please let me know where you’ve shared it. It’s very gratifying to hear that my blog has made its rounds to Boards of Director meetings, Education Committee meetings, and more. I think we can change things….and I’m heartened that it has already started to happen!
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