The Future of Jewish Learning: Where will we be?
The future of Jewish education is up in the air. It is anyone’s guess where Jewish education will be in ten years. One of the reasons why I founded Online Jewish Learning was because I have my own view on where this field is going and where it should be going. For centuries Jewish learning has happened in the classroom, brick and mortar buildings, often synagogues, where families would come a few times a week to study with teachers and the rabbi. Today’s Jewish student and family is a very different type of family from the “traditional” model above. Today’s families and kids are fighting an uphill battle against their own schedules. Time management seems to be the most valued attribute one can have as a person today. Between soccer and gymnastics and after school tutors students have very little time to focus on anything else. Often Jewish learning or Hebrew School becomes “extra” and is one of the first experiences or activities that is thrown by the wayside. After all, good Hebrew School attendance does not look as good on a college application as competitive gymnastics and debate team do.
My greatest goal for Online Jewish Learning was to give students who are over-scheduled or communities who need extra support an opportunity to engage in meaningful, flexible, and customized Jewish learning from the comfort of home. This does not mean that all of our students are online and do not belong to synagogues. We have partnered and continue to partner with many communities to expand their educational offerings beyond the classroom and into the home. By doing so, we enable communities to focus on hands on experiential learning in the classroom and our team can provide Hebrew language and Judaics support from home.
So where will Jewish education be in five, ten years? Our personal hope is that synagogues and other institutions begin to provide flexible learning models for their families so that all types of Jewish students and families can feel that they belong in a Jewish community. Online Jewish Learning will continue to serve as a bridge from the home into the community and vice versa. There is not one type of Jewish student or family, so too there should not just be one model of Jewish learning.
Interested in learning more? Contact us or visit our programs page to learn more about the many programs we offer for Hebrew reading, Bar and Bat Mitzvah preparation, and our communities page for more information.