Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Teaching Torah to non-observant young adults

An area of Jewish education focused on young adults, which is at once ancient but at the same time very new is the teaching of the Rabbinic Tradition. “Learning Torah,” the study of Jewish text from the historic canon of Bible, Talmud, and Midrash, has until very recently been the domain of Jewish organizations which either focus on the religiously observant or preach religion to the non-observant. In the last five years, Torah learning initiatives are emerging, which aim to engage non-observant young Jewish adults without the intention of converting them to religion. These programs attempt to use traditional texts as a resource for sparking intellectual and emotional interest in Jewish life.   

Given the lack of existing research and the incipient state of knowledge about methods for engaging young Jewish adults in Jewish life in general, and for Torah education in particular, Hillel with the support of the Jim Joseph Foundation convened a conference in New York City on June 22-23, 2010, entitled “Towards a Third Space: A New Dimension in Jewish Education for Emerging Adults.”   

Rabbi Scott Aaron and I wrote up an overview of the lessons we took away from the conference.  Download article here.  

The conference website is found at: http://www.thirdspaceconference.com 

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