Advancing the Learning Agenda in Jewish Education

Advancing the Learning Agenda in Jewish Education

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Edited by Jon A. Levisohn and Jeffrey S. Kress

ISBN: 9781618117533 (hardcover) / 9781618118790 (paper)
Pages: 219 pp.; 4 figs.; 2 tables
Publication Date: November 2018

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Jewish educational projects and programs are thriving, attracting philanthropic support for exciting and creative approaches in every sector and setting. But underneath that energy, we are not as clear as we ought to be about desired outcomes, the kinds of learning needed to achieve these, and how those kinds of learning actually occur. This volume is the first of its kind to bring together scholars from inside Jewish education and from the learning sciences. It offers a set of critical perspectives on learning, sometimes borrowing models from other domains (such as science) and sometimes examining specific domains within Jewish education (such as havruta learning or the learning of Jewish history). Collectively, these contributions help to advance a smarter, sharper conversation about Jewish learning that matters.


Jon A. Levisohn holds the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Chair in Jewish Educational Thought at Brandeis University, where he is also serves as the director of the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Studies in Jewish Education. A philosopher of education, he focuses on the teaching and learning of classical Jewish texts, and on the desired outcomes of Jewish education. He is co-editor of Turn It and Turn It Again: Studies in the Teaching and Learning of Classical Jewish Texts (2013) and Beyond Jewish Identity: Rethinking Concepts and Imagining Alternatives (forthcoming).

Jeffrey S. Kress is the Dr. Bernard Heller Associate Professor of Jewish Education at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, where he also directs the research center of the William Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education. He focuses on developmental issues in Jewish education, especially social, emotional and spiritual development. He is the author of Development, Learning and Community: Educating for Identity in Pluralistic Jewish High Schools (2012) and the editor of Growing Jewish Minds, Growing Jewish Souls: Promoting Spiritual, Social and Emotional Growth in Jewish Education (2013).


Table of Contents

Introduction: What the “Learning Agenda” Is and Why It Matters
Jon A. Levisohn and Jeffrey S. Kress

PART ONE: Learning from the Learning Sciences

Activating Jewish Learners: Positioning Youth for Persistent Success in Jewish Learning and Living
Rena Dorph and Christian D. Schunn

Fostering Identity and Disposition Development in Jewish Education: A View from the Learning Sciences
Janet L. Kolodner

Learning about Learning in Jewish Education
Ari Y. Kelman

Old Traditions, New Practices: A Proposal for a Return to Text Study as a Centerpiece of Jewish Community and Family Life
Daniel P. Resnick and Lauren B. Resnick

PART TWO: Learning from Jewish Education

Observing Havruta Learning from the Perspective of the Learning Sciences
Baruch Schwarz

Learning the Whole Game of Shabbat
Joseph Reimer

What We Can Learn about Learning from Holocaust Education
Simone Schweber

PART THREE: Conceptualizing Learning Outcomes

Is this a Real Story? Learning Critical History and Learning Its Limits
Sam Wineburg

Learning to be Jewish
Eli Gottlieb

The Holistic Goals of Jewish Education
Gil C. Noam and Jeffrey S. Kress

Subject-Specific Learning Versus Jewish-Developmental Outcomes in Jewish Education: What Should We Aim For?
Jeffrey S. Kress and Jon A. Levisohn

Index