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Home » Network: Bridging the Gap from Shul to Home (2016)

Network: Bridging the Gap from Shul to Home (2016)

Bridging the Gap from Shul to Home

Facilitated by Brianna Spatz, Program Manager: Education and Engagement at Camp JRF

For educators and education directors

Tuesdays 1 p.m.-2 p.m. EST – Nov. 1, Dec. 13, Jan. 31, March 14 & April 25

One set curriculum doesn’t meet the needs of the diverse congregations across the Reconstructionist movement. Together, we’ll utilize available resources, brainstorm and develop new resources to take learning and engaging beyond the walls of the congregation and engage families. Our meeting dates are spread throughout the year to facilitate using materials and sharing experiences with one another. 


Meeting 1: Getting Our Footing
Meeting 2: Understanding Pop-Up Learning
Meeting 3: Exploring Courage
Meeting 4


1. Sterne, Abi Dauber. “Birthing” Jewish Habits,” Contact 15(2), Winter 2013, New York: Steinhardt Foundation for Jewish Life, 3-4
While the context of the article is the relationship between Hillel: the Foundation for Jewish Campus Life and the Taglit-Birthright Israel trip program, the author discusses the important finding of educational philosophers that “building habits, or a set of routinized  – almost intuitive – behaviors and thoughts has in making an “enduring commitment to Jewish life [and] learning…” This idea can easily be extrapolated to the shul-family/home relationship. (Full issue available as PDF here: https://steinhardtfoundation.org/publication/winter-2013/ )

2. From the Talmud: Menachot 43b

מנחות מ״ג ב

תניא היה רבי מאיר אומר חייב אדם לברך מאה ברכות בכל יום שנאמר (דברים י, יב) ועתה ישראל מה יקוק אלהיך שואל מעמך

Menachot 43b

It was taught in a Baraita: R. Meir said: a person must make 100 blessings each day, as it is written… (Deuteronomy 10:12) “And now Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you…”

Discuss this teaching from the Talmud in the context of the idea that learning cannot be isolated in the school but must permeate, be ritualized, and habituated throughout our entire – especially our home/ family – lives, throughout the day, everyday. Discuss this teaching in light of the above article’s contention. Did the early rabbis have a similar understanding as our contemporary educational thinkers about how learning for life is accomplished?

3. Schein, Jeffrey. “Ritual for the Jewish Family;” Carol Wolf Freedman. “Rituals for Our Time: a Book Review;” Jeffrey Schein. “Around the Family Table,” in Growing Together: Resources, Programs, and Experiences for Jewish Family Education, Jeffrey Schein and Judith S. Schiller, editors, Denver: A.R.E. Publishing, 2001, 321-323, 328-330
These short articles present some ideas and resources for ways that families can reinforce the learnings of the shul with new and renewed rituals that can become a part of family/home life. (Articles available to Network members by email.)

4. Thomas, Susan Gregory. “A Teacher’s Guide to Generation X Parents: How to work with well-meaning but demanding moms and dads,” Edutopia, http://www.edutopia.org/generation-x-parents-relationships-guide
One Gen X parent reflects for teachers what they want and need from their children’s schools to make up for what they never got from their Boomer parents.
If nothing else, they are demanding a relationship between home and school that considers the needs of the children as the primary focus of education.

5. “Family Engagement:Resource Roundup,” Edutopia, http://www.edutopia.org/home-school-connections-resources
“Explore tips, strategies, and resources to help improve the connection from home to school and improve parent involvement.”

6. Hospitality/Hachnasat Orchim

In this printable worksheet, families can work together on fill-in-the-blank exercises about how to welcome guests into a home


The Reconstructionist Network

Serving as central organization of the Reconstructionist movement

Training the next generation of groundbreaking rabbis

Modeling respectful conversations on pressing Jewish issues

Curating original, Jewish rituals, and convening Jewish creatives

The Reconstructionist Network