|Letter to the Editor|
|Written by Jewish Chronicle Readers|
|Wednesday, June 13 2012 10:46|
Federation supports all forms of learning
I couldn’t agree with Marla Brockman more, in her letter to the editor published in the June 7 edition of The Chronicle. Brockman expresses her concern about the value, quality, and need for the continuation of formal Jewish education. I and the Jewish Federation believe in formal Jewish education as well. However, my blog and article only referred to one piece of the Jewish Federation’s involvement in Jewish education. My focus on informal education was used as a basis to point out how important collaboration is as a result of scarce resources, rather than an endorsement of one format of Jewish education over another.
The Federation is the largest funder of Jewish education — both formal and informal — in the community. We believe that both are necessary for a well rounded Jewish community. We support the Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy extensively. We created and helped fund the Teacher Education Initiative, to improve the quality of Jewish education in our supplementary synagogue schools. We are integral to the Day of Discovery program and helped the Rabbinical Association with funding to start the Shavuot and Selichot programs of learning that they run. We have also been there to assist the Kollel, which provides serious study opportunities throughout the community. CAJE, the Federations’ Jewish education department, also sponsors ongoing learning for education directors and youth group directors. We annually recognize a Teacher of the Year at our annual meeting. It was our study of Jewish education in the mid-‘90s that led to the Melton program. Our efforts to assist and fund areas of formal Jewish education couldn’t be broader.
Yet we also take great pride in the fact that we help Jews — both young and old — to experience their Judaism through less formal academic settings, such as camping, cultural arts experiences and trips to Israel. Studies show that cultural arts are very important to contemporary Jews in experiencing their Judaism, and our collaborative efforts with the Jewish Community Center speak to that. In addition, we take great pride in the fact that we helped bring the PJ Library program to the young families in our Jewish community where so much of Jewish learning and identity building takes place.
We are in a world of constant change; programs may come and go in both the formal and informal realms. This Federation however is steadfast in its commitment to the community: to continue to make Jewish education and identity a strong priority for years to come. More collaboration and better use of resources will be necessary to make this vision possible. It is this aspect that I addressed in my article. Kol Hakavod to Marla and to all those who believe in, support and teach Judaism and bring the “joy” into Jewish learning — whatever the format may be.