1. What happens to the ‘profession’ of Jewish education when teens are hired to teach classes in an elementary supplementary school? What is the underlying message we’re sending Jewish teens about the value of continuing their own education? Sure, it keeps teens connected, but at what cost? Read this post for a more complete picture of hiring teen aides.
2. We call ourselves the “Jewish Community” but we create barriers by the word “membership” when we refer to synagogue involvement. Why not just have a true community membership. Each family decides to contribute to a communal pot, and can participate in events at all synagogues in the community, without feeling that they need to be ‘invited’ or be a ‘member’. What if synagogues joined together in each community, and became specialists in their area of expertise? So, synagogue A’s pre-school is really great, but synagogue B has a great high school program. Synagogue C has great adult ed. Can’t we collaborate more effectively and efficiently?
3. Sometimes, parents ask me if there are similar ‘discipline’ problems in our community Hebrew High as there are in ‘regular Hebrew Schools’. What is going on here? Here is where community schools have a distinct advantage: when designing effective educational programs, would you create a model where the same students remain together, in the same class, year after year, from childhood up to puberty? NO? Then of COURSE there’s going to be discipline problems! Teens coming together in a community school experience new faces, fresh starts, innovative curricular choices, and a whole new social network. The rest of the work is creating compelling content.
4. We’re in need of new names. New branding. Here’s why: Hebrew School. Not an accurate name. Try supplementary school. Ugh. Something like school that is EXTRA? Yuck. New term: Complementary school. Really? This just complicates things by wreaking havoc with spell-check (did you mean complimentary?–you get the point). So, what we need is a new name, new brand for this category of Jewish education and what we really do. Do you have any ideas?