The Chronicle #60/2002
New Directions for Jewish Education - The New York School of Education
A two-part series, the Spring 2003 Chronicle will feature the Rhea Hirsch School of Education (PDF format)
By Ruth Friedman
"We want to be seen as a full partner in the greater New York
area community working toward alleviating the severe shortage in
experienced educators for the Reform Movement," states Jo Kay,
the Director of the New York School of Education (NYSOE). Awarded
the prestigious 2001 Covenant Award for outstanding Jewish Educators
in North America, Kay has been praised for "[having] modeled
Jewish education's finest practices."
That's what she is doing for the NYSOE - strengthening the master's
and continuing education programs in Jewish Education. Complem-enting
HUC-JIR's Rhea Hirsch School of Education in Los Angeles, the NYSOE
offers unique options to its students: an education core and a specialization
core in Family Education, Adult, Informal Education, and Day School
Education, which are areas of expertise among the program's faculty.
Kay is also creating a "Gateways to Learning" Continuing
Education program for professionals to advance within the field
of Jewish Education, and is planning to develop a M.A. in Teaching
(MAT) in partnership with a local school of education.
The NYSOE's distinguished faculty, expanded course work, study
in Israel, and flexible options for full- and part-time study, as
well as the extensive internships available in the New York area
are offering new and exciting opportunities for recruiting and training
Jewish Education professionals. In the words of Dr. Jonathan Woocher,
President of the Jewish Education Service of North America: "HUC-JIR's
newly redesigned and expanded M.A. program could not be more timely
or more welcome....The program will help address the acute shortage
of quality teachers and educational administrators, as well as the
rapidly expanding need for family, adult, and informal educators.
The positive impact of this program will be felt throughout North
UJA-Federation has awarded the NYSOE a $168,000 grant for four
years to initiate its Educators Outreach Initiative, which will
recruit students for master's, continuing education, and professional
development programs. One approach will be to teach in communities
to educate lay learners with the hope of recruiting some of them
to the School.
The School aims to attract those already working in the field of
Jewish education and others who are contemplating a career change
or starting a new career. Offering full- and part-time options,
students may choose to continue working while also attending school.
Evening courses will begin this fall, to help facilitate the schedules
of working students. For those already teaching at synagogues, many
are being encouraged to pursue continuing education so that they
can become professional educators or Directors of Education.
With the generous support of a $180,000 three-year grant from the
Covenant Foundation and a $30,000 three-year grant from the Gimprich
Family Foundation, the NYSOE has the resources to develop its Continuing
Education Program for Jewish Educators. Students can choose to enroll
in courses needed to complete Certificates in Adult, Family, and
Continuing Education and Professional Development opportunities
will significantly expand during the summer of 2003, with the opening
of the school's Summer Institute Program. Two three-week summer
sessions will provide study options for educators already in the
field and for those contemplating Jewish teaching careers.
The School has begun to implement the new, more intensive, master's
program. Students spend the first year of study in Israel or participate
in an eight-week summer study program there (for those unable to
leave their job or their families). Students then return to New
York. The full-time program takes two or three academic years of
study to complete, and includes courses in Bible, History, Jewish
Education, Teaching and Learning, Hebrew, Philosophy, Rabbinic Texts,
Theology, Midrash, Liturgy, Hebrew Literature, Administration and
Staff Development, among others. Kay is working with Dr. Lisa Grant,
Assistant Professor of Jewish Education, to develop new courses,
which integrate the most current educational research. This fall,
for example, the NYSOE will offer courses in Educational Leadership
and Supervision, Curriculum and Evaluation, the Changing Needs of
the American Jewish Family, and Foundations in Jewish Education,
to name a few. Degree requirements have gradually increased over
the past several years from 32 to 70 credits, and more rigorous
prerequisites to enter the program have been instituted.
Placed in clinically supervised internships in their specialization
areas, education students work closely with mentors and experts
in Family and Adult Education or work with experts in Informal Education
(to work in youth programming, camping, Israel trips, JCCs, museum
education, or any other educational setting outside the traditional
Education students are an integral part of HUC-JIR/New York's community.
They study together with rabbinical and cantorial students, participate
in monthly symposia and daily tefillot with them, and work side-by-side
in the student governing councils.
The NYSOE has already begun to forge collaborative relationships
with other organizations. These partnerships include working with
the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (UAHC) on an annual Early
Childhood Educators Conference as well as working with the UAHC's
Youth Division to develop and evaluate curriculum. The NYSOE is
also partnering with the Jewish Community House of Bensonhurst,
where students from the former Soviet Union have placements to teach
families, adults, and teens in their camp program, and with Avoda:
Objects of the Spirit and the Hillel at New York University's Bronfman
Center, to develop courses and seminars connecting the arts to Jewish
study and learning.
For further information on the New York School of Education, please
contact Jo Kay, Director, at (212) 824-2213 or email@example.com.
Senior Practica of Recent Graduates of the NYSOE
As part of the new program at the NYSOE, the Senior Education Practicum
(equivalent to the Senior Sermon for rabbinical students and the
Master's Recital for cantorial students) demonstrates education
students' expertise in a particular area and gives students the
opportunity to present their Master of Arts in Religious Education
Thesis/Project research and its application to Jewish education:
"Teaching Sephardic Lifecycle Rituals"
Keith Breese ('02), Grants Manager and Adult Education Director,
Colorado Agency for Jewish Education, and Curriculum Writer for
the 7th grade, Temple Emanuel, Denver, CO
"Re-Envisioning Jewish Family Education: How Jewish Identity
Development Research Should Affect Jewish Family Education Practice"
Joanne Doades ('01), The Education Project Specialist and the Chai
Curriculum Project Coordinator, UAHC Department of Education, New
"The Voices and Images of Women as Healers"
Maggie Duwe ('02), Adult Educator, Central Agency for Jewish Education,
St. Louis, MO, and Outreach Coordinator and Teacher, Central Reform
Congregation, St. Louis, MO
"The Communicative Approach to Teaching Hebrew"
Carmit Federman ('02), Teacher, Solomon Schechter Day School, New
"To Those Denied: Teaching The Holocaust to Russian (Soviet)
Vladimir Golender ('01), Educator, Temple Beth El of Fairfield,
CT and Congregation Beth Ahm, Washington Heights, NY
"Education for All: Special Needs Education as Seen through
Our Sacred Texts and Applied to Our Congregational Schools"
Tobi R. Innerfield ('01), Educator, Temple Emanu-El of Lynbrook,
"The Sacrifice of Isaac: How to Make This Biblical Narrative
Meaningful to Middle School Students"
Marina Inzlikhin Dvorkin ('01), Former Education Director, Congregation
Beth Am of West Essex, Verona, NJ, and Israel Educator, Boston,
"A Study of the Jews of India: Do Ritual Observances Contribute
to Jewish Identity?"
Elena Schwartz, Educator, Temple B'nai Chaim, Georgetown, CT