Rikma Community Day: Formal Education in Israel - Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion
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Rikma Community Day: Formal Education in Israel

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Thursday, January 31, 2019

Rikma students

Rikma, a specialized M.A. program focusing on educational leadership with an emphasis on pluralism and community, held a community day on January 30, 2019. Rikma educates leaders to take responsibility for the renaissance of Jewish culture. At the heart of this program is the building of bridges between education and society, between Israel and the wider Jewish world, and between individual Jewish identity and Jewish peoplehood.

The current Rikma cohort consists of 15 students with a record of achievement and commitment to the field.  The participants occupy key positions in both formal and informal educational settings.  Several students in the new cohort have recently returned to Israel after extended periods abroad acting as shelichim, emissaries in a variety of frameworks. 

The Rikma Community Day was a special end-of-term field trip dedicated to the topic of Formal Education in Israel. The day focused on issues, challenges, and forward-thinking in the school system. Students and professors visited two of Jerusalem’s leading high schools, Boyer and Keshet. They met with Yuval Seri, Head of Jewish Israeli Culture, Ministry of Education. The day ended at the newly renovated education department at HUC-JIR's Taube Family Campus in Jerusalem, with student presentations on topics they tackled throughout the semester. The students presented short presentations in the ‘Pacha Kocha’ Japanize format (four slides in four minutes).  Amongst the topics that were addressed were: a new look at Israeli delegations to Poland; how to encourage young reform adults to continue community life; the challenge of cultural and spiritual language for secular Jews; where does the Israeli national memory start, from the Holocaust or Mount Sinai; and new trends for Jewish marriage in Israel. The presentations showed a deep integration and innovative thinking of the various courses learner throughout the semester.

Professor Michal Muszkat Barkan said, “Our new Rikma cohort of students bring to the field of Jewish education a unique combination of creativity and commitment. They showed high academic competencies during the semester that was evident in the outstanding level of integration at their presentations.”

Rikma students

Rikma, which means tapestry, is a two-year program, requiring one day of study at the Taube Family Campus in Jerusalem and at Hebrew University in Mount Scopus.  The program aims at increasing students’ capacities in four areas:

  • Teaching and learning aspects of Jewish and Israeli culture in innovative and diverse ways;
  • Enhancing the continuity of formal and informal Jewish education, forging links between educational institutions and the wider community;
  • Discovering the diversity to be found within Israeli society, in Jewish and non-Jewish settings, while enriching education towards tolerance and coexistence; and
  • Deepening acquaintance with and ties to the Jewish people across its geographical and denomination boundaries, while increasing a sense of identity and belonging.

Rikma is supported by the Department of Jewish and Israeli Culture in the Israel Ministry of Education and Jewish Agency for Israel. Students receive an M.A. in Education from the Hebrew University's Melton Center for Jewish Education upon successful completion of the program.

To learn more, please contact Dr. Muszkat-Barkan at mmbarkan@huc.edu.

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 leaders to serve 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, museums, 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