Write On! Executive M.A. Program in Jewish Education Students Interrogate Hot Topics in the Field

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Dr. Tali Zelkowicz, Assistant Professor of Education and Professor Sara S. Lee Chair for an Emerging Scholar in Jewish Education at HUC-JIR's Rhea Hirsch School of Education, taught The Social Context of North American Jewish Education to students in the Executive M.A. Program in Jewish Education (EMA) in June 2015.  She writes:

From left: Rabbi Jessica Locketz, Rabbi Shoshana Nyer, and Barbara Shimansky

True agents of change use their passion, but are then able to go beyond. During a one-week Intensive, I invite EMA students to begin their first hour presenting aloud to one another, an honest, unfettered, and even uncensored rant on the most burning feelings and thoughts they have about any one contested arena in Jewish education.

By the end of the course (five days later), students used social scientific tools, including interviewing and research of their field of interest, to produce a first draft of an article that combines their passion, along with fresh, bold alternative visions grounded in scholarship and empirical reality. In other words, they have gone beyond their own experience or “kishkeh data,” without ignoring it.  

In response to multiple sources of feedback, students revised these drafts and have the option of ultimately going public with their work. Here, for the first time, you can find EMA students’ “contributions to the field.” The authors hope their pieces further the discourse in the field, across many kinds of stakeholders, in these areas. Enjoy and feel free to respond; students have provided their email contacts to encourage open dialogue!

Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is North America's leading institution of higher Jewish education and the academic, spiritual, and professional leadership development center of Reform Judaism. HUC-JIR educates men and women for service to North American and world Jewry as rabbis, cantors, educators, and nonprofit management professionals, and offers graduate programs to scholars and clergy of all faiths. With centers of learning in Cincinnati, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, and New York, HUC-JIR's scholarly resources comprise the renowned Klau Library, The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, research institutes and centers, and academic publications. In partnership with the Union for Reform Judaism and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, HUC-JIR sustains the Reform Movement's congregations and professional and lay leaders. HUC-JIR's campuses invite the community to cultural and educational programs illuminating Jewish heritage and fostering interfaith and multiethnic understanding. www.huc.edu