PEJE Donor Assembly Social Action & Ethics Workshop

Posted on October 25, 2010

In 2003, PEJE had their assembly in Los Angeles and I was invited to present with a colleague on Social Action and Ethics. Below is the outline we used for that presentation. Reflecting on it I believe that these issues and points are still central to implementing a meaningful program in your school and community. I welcome your feedback and the opportunity to talk about ways that Areyvut can bring these programs and values to your school and community.

1) Introduction to Session

A) What school are you from?

B) How does your school already address this topic?

C) Why is this important to you?

D) What is your goal for the session?

E) Time permitting: What source motivates you?

Ideas for us to include in this portion:

A) Talking about these ideas & values as opposed to living them

B) Jewish values (=these values) make a Jewish Day School Jewish

C) This is something that applies to all Jews regardless of affiliation

D) It adds value to the already existing school structure & curriculum (connect your work to academics)

E) If done properly it can be a powerful catalyst in transforming individuals, families, the school & school community

2) How is this accomplished in schools?
What affects these ideas?

  1. Change the Bnai Mitzvah culture
  2. Devote staff training sessions to addressing these topics.
  3. Encourage & empower teachers to think “out of the box” in these areas.
  4. Honor teachers for their work in this area.
  5. Ownership: if you want the teachers to “buy into it” they need to feel ownership over it. Therefore, include them in the planning, meetings, provide training for them & let them attend conferences on the topic &/or related topics.
  6. Resources: invest in the necessary resources to make this viable.
  7. Start slowly & bread success
  8. Teacher(s): Teachers are essential for successfully addressing this in a systematic way. Consider piloting with one teacher or within one class or grade.
  9. Value added: view this as a way to add, enhance & compliment the teachers work not something to detract from it.
  10. Ask for help (from us) when necessary.

3) What is the best case scenario?

  1. Integration between general & Judaic studies
  2. The various stakeholders support this (principal, board, teachers & students)
  3. Staff development is an integral part of the process
  4. Organic to the nature & curriculum of the school
  5. Resources & time are dedicated to supporting this
  6. school dedicates resources and support for it
  7. Reflective practitioners: the programs are constantly being evaluated & thought is being given how to incorporate it better or more frequently into the school, how to train the staff more effectively…

4) 7th Grade Fund

5) Areyvut

6) Other possibilities

  1. Club &/or Elective: offer a club or elective in these areas
  2. Facilitate volunteer opportunities for your students
  3. Foster relationships with known agencies (hospitals, nursing homes, soup kitchens, etc.)
  4. Have a theme of the month or year
  5. Invite guest speakers to present on these topics
  6. Recognize students & teachers who excel in these areas & highlight them
  7. School/Synagogue connection: provide joint programs thereby making these values more relevant & connected to their lives.

7) Conclusion & Questions

  1. This is just the beginning of the conversation.
  2. Please let us know how we can help you address these values in your schools.
  3. Thanks!

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