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Nurturing a Sense of Wholeness and Meaning

EDUC 802 - Session 8

Some of the key principles presented in the handbook include Levi (right) and High Five (left).

The High Five1) Enable Experience & Reflection2) Attend to Each Person3) Engage the Family4) Build Relationships & Community5) Redefine the Role of the TeacherBased on commentary from Dr. Jeffrey Kress, JTS, Dr. Bethamie Horowitz, NYU, and Dr. David Bryfman, The Jewish Education Project

A Vision of Wholeness

1) Start by watching this video about nurturing the whole person in Jewish educational settings. If you want to see the whole film produced by the Jewish Education Project, visit - http://youtu.be/kS7_anAzZlU .

3) Focusing on nurturing a "who-ness" and a wholeness not only involves a pedagogical methodology for educating the whole person, but it also requires a notion of the end goals of Jewish growth toward which educators are working. Below three different frames for conceptualizing such end goals are presented, namely balance, being, and kehillah.

Kehilla:Kress and Elias contend that a sense of wholeness is achieved through lived experience within the context of a community/kehilla. They assert that the end goal of becoming a mensch can only be achieved when integrated into the whole identity of the learner and supported by experiences that enable the learner to perform and solidify that identity.

Being:Shapiro presents a conception of personal wholeness based on living in the cycles of Jewish time. He highlights the value of awareness derived from the blast of the shofar, the connection of memory and action featured in the ritual of the Pesach seder, and the focus on consciousness and "being" interwoven throughout Shabbat.

Balance: One way to conceptualize wholeness is to focus on balance. The balance could be among various pathways of development, such as the framework illustrated above and featured in Ben-Avie's article. Balance could also focus on the balance of interests as highlighted in Sternberg's conception of wisdom which he defines as, "...the application of tacit as well as explicit knowledge as mediated by values toward the achievement of a common good through a balance among (a) intrapersonal, (b)interpersonal, and (c)extrapersonal interests, over the (a) short and (b) long terms, to achieve a balance among (a) adaptation to existing environments, (b) shaping of existing environments, and (c) selection of new environments" (231).

2) LOMED, the Jewish Education Project's effort to innovate congregational learning, has a very comprehensive handbook that outlines ways to implement a whole-learner approach to Jewish education.



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