HAYIDION The Prizmah Journal


Nurturing Faith

Nurturing Faith

Faith is the most elusive quality to inculcate, the hardest to measure. Yet at some level, everything Jewish day schools seek to achieve depends upon it. The sense of belonging and connection that is fundamental to Jewish identity resides, at heart, in a sense of emunah, of trust and belief in something larger than ourselves. This issue considers factors that nourish Jewish faith of different kinds.

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Deepening Spiritual Awareness: A Work in Progress

by Tamar Rubin Dec 11, 2010

Children explore ideas and ask questions differently as they move through childhood. This is a maxim that we take to be self-evident when it comes to academic subjects such as math and writing, and educators adjust what they teach and the methods they use accordingly.

The Four Children: Nurturing Diverse Daveners

by Tsafi Lev and Yonatan Rosner Dec 11, 2010
RELATED TOPICS: PluralismTefillahStudents

In a community formed by anything less than 100% like-minded people, the outcome of tefillah betzibur (communal prayer) is a polite, well-intentioned tangle of different customs, divergent expectations, decidedly real impediments of faith, and a paradoxical hope that everybody in the room will be able to balance equal measures of both individuality and belonging. In the larger Jewish community this is mitigated by a variety of synagogue choices: Reform, Chabad, Conservative, Reconstructionist, Orthodox, or no synagogue at all. Even if a community Jewish day school offers a variety of prayer modalities, however inclusive of the panoply of Jewish expression, the school setting does not allow for the central choice which makes “adult” synagogues work: the choice to attend or not attend. The high hurdle of requirement is all the more intimidating when it is considered with the other significant challenges of a school’s tefillah program.

Nourishing Diversity: The Leader as Catalyst

by Susan Weintrob Dec 11, 2010
RELATED TOPICS: PluralismLeadership

Jews are very proud of their support of diversity. Chests swell when remembering Abraham Joshua Heschel, of blessed memory, who marched with Martin Luther King. We publish books about our rescue of Jews from the former USSR, Yemen, Iran or Ethiopia. We love Jewish basketball players, Jews from China or from the “lost” Lemba tribes of Zimbabwe.

Experiences That Nurture Faith

by Binny Freedman Dec 11, 2010

We live in an age that is thirsty for meaning, and perhaps our greatest challenge as educators is to transmit a sense of meaning to our students. But how can we effectively nurture faith? My sense is that the task has become a cerebral affair, instead of the experience it is meant to be, and that the solution lies not in trying to convince our students of anything, but rather in sharing meaningful, joy-filled Jewish experiences with them.

Religious Talk, Experience and Reflection: Developmental Considerations

by Nancy Flam Dec 11, 2010

There are so many ways for us to become more knowledgeable and skillful in nurturing the spiritual lives of children within the community day school environment. In the following reflections I focus mostly on a few of the challenges and opportunities of the middle and high school years.

When Doubt Enters the Room

by Michelle Friedman Dec 11, 2010

Jeremy graduates from public high school after attending the local community day school that ends at 8th grade. He enters college at a large state university and takes a course in comparative religion. His roommate, Partha, is a smart, friendly young man from an Indian Hindu background. The two have thoughtful discussions late into the night. Jeremy finds himself wondering, “Partha is a great, ethical guy. Why was I taught that all the stuff he believes in is idolatry? Why isn’t his religion as valid as Judaism?” He takes more courses in eastern religious thought and joins a Buddhist meditation group.

Nurturing the Spiritual in Jewish Education

by Michael Shire Dec 11, 2010

Jewish education today is mainly concerned with the transmission of knowledge, the development of ritual skills, the formation and strengthening of Jewish identity and the affirmation of values. It deals little with the nature of religious experience, the development of religious growth, or the field of spirituality in general. It has found this area of religious education difficult to promote in a modem secular society with teachers and parents ambivalent about their own religiosity, let alone about transmitting it to others.