Stories from the Field: Sarah DeWoskin - Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion
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Stories from the Field: Sarah DeWoskin

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Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Sarah DeWoskinSarah DeWoskin
Director and Founder of LEV Children’s Museum
Based in Cooper City, Florida
Currently a student in Cohort 7 of the Executive M.A. Program in Jewish Education at HUC-JIR 

Sarah DeWoskin is the Director and Founder of LEV Children’s Museum. Sarah has been a Jewish Educator in various settings for the last 20 years, and has worked with children since she was a child. Passionate about continuously exploring her own Jewish journey, she is currently a student in HUC-JIR’s Executive Master’s program for Jewish Education. Sarah has worked in Jewish preschools, supplementary schools, youth groups, camps, and more. Through LEV, she is following her inner voice to create an innovative concept for engagement and education for Jewish families in South Florida and beyond. Sarah is married to a reform Rabbi and together they are raising three active children. 

About a year and a half ago, I founded a non-profit called LEV Children’s Museum, which is a mobile children’s museum built in tiny homes on wheels, immersed in Jewish culture. We recently constructed our first tiny home unit, which we began piloting here in South Florida a few months ago. LEV, which means heart in Hebrew, is also an acronym for Learn Engage Venture. LEV is a vehicle to literally and physically meet people where they are. Its portability allows us to collaborate with institutions and to connect with families out in the community…at parks, craft fairs, birthday parties and more. 

As the coronavirus pandemic grew and it became clear people would be inside their homes looking for engagement, I started processing how LEV could be a unique resource to families in a way that is in line with our mission. I wanted to find ways that we could still meet people where they are currently.

Bingo

One very important factor at the forefront of my mind was the fact that, with all the amazing resources we are providing parents, most add to the kids’ already overloaded screen-time. So it was important to me that whatever I offer leads to parents and kids engaging together in creative activities, coated in Jewish learning, off-screen. The other important piece was that families can take part in the activities using things found around their homes.

I started something called LEVing Together, which is a series of virtual interactives. I have been putting out weekly schedules that describe each activity. The interactive videos are either posted or go live on our Facebook page at 11am EST on the scheduled dates. The videos then remain on LEV’s page so parents can pull them up whenever they are looking for something to do with their kids. Each interactive brings out different educational discussions, based on holidays, Hebrew words, values, Israel or anything else. Activities thus far have included a nature walk, canvas art, baking, Passover bingo, outdoor creations, acts of kindness, and the list goes on. I have publicized these interactives through my own social media, LEV's Facebook page and through various educator platforms to get the resources out to families all over the country.  

LEVing Together

Below are some testimonials from people who have written in about LEVing Together:

  • "We made challah today after watching your LEV video. Many thanks from us. The challah was delicious!"
  • "Thanks for inspiring my challah making lesson with my students. I loved all of the aspects your incorporated during the steps."
  • "The videos are great! Your enthusiasm and the way you explain everything is so amazing. Bella can't take her eyes off the screen. The activity was simple and we had all the ingredients!"
  • "Kids LOVE this! We can't wait for LEV's next lesson."
  • "So cool! We are enjoying all the LEV activities you’re lining up for us. Thank you!" 

Check out the LEV Children's Museum Facebook page, where you can find all of the interactives and information, and visit our website for more general information. 


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