Why am I going to a Jewish Education conference called the RealSchool Summer Sandbox? I’m not a Day School educator. I work in Congregational Jewish Education. I’m a religious school director. My focus has been mainly in part time Jewish educational frameworks. What is it about The Sandbox that has intrigued me so much that I’m going to take a chance and travel to the wilds of Teaneck, NJ? I think the answer can be found in the question. I’m going to take a leap of faith. I’m going to take that chance. I’m throwing something at the wall and I want to see if it sticks.
We know that Jewish education needs to undergo a transformation so that, simply put, we will have Jewish grandchildren. What has worked (or maybe not worked quite so well) for the past 50 years is fast becoming irrelevant. All of us who are engaged in Jewish learning and teaching are looking at new models and innovative paradigms: Integrating technology, incorporating experiential education, creating student centered learning environments for our students who are learning in Jewish contexts, to name a few. We don’t know what’s going to work, so we need to experiment. We need to try new things without fear of failure. We need to see what sticks.