Elective Descriptions
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  • 1. Summer Institute: Families in a World of Transitions Description of Elective Options for Day 1 (August 10th) F OR A LL P ARTICIPANTSThe following are elective options for the afternoon session. Please indicate your top 2 choices on the registration form, and we will do our best to place you in your 1st choice. All sessions are filled on a first come, first served basis.Elective A: How to Build a Relational Culture Inside Your Religious School Jeannie Appleman This session will teach the fundamental principles and practices of uncovering and developing leaders, and building a deeper level of community and engagement, through relationship-building techniques.Elective B: Relationship-Building: The Key Component in Effective Outreach Paul Golin For over a decade, the Jewish Outreach Institute (JOI) has defined “outreach” as a methodology of best practices, which works to find and serve a variety of underserved populations on the periphery of Jewish life—and which can be translated for middle- and in-reach as well. Outreach methodology is about taking Judaism out to where people are (or where they’re “at”) rather than waiting for them to come to us, and relies on excellent—often experiential—educational offerings, coupled with engagement techniques to build trusting relationships between the unaffiliated and those who are deeply engaged in organized Jewish life. This session will provide an overview of JOI’s relationship-building methodology and explain how it is applied in JOI programs such as the Mothers Circle, Grandparents Circle, and Public Space Judaism offerings. Attendees will learn to recognize and lower inadvertent barriers to relationship-building with potential newcomers, and begin to identify opportunities to infuse their own programmatic offerings with outreach methodology, in order to create more relationships and with a more diverse target audience.Elective C: Belonging and Attachment as Sources of Psychological, Spiritual and Physical Wellbeing: Fostering ties that promote resilience and trust in students, parents and one another even in difficult times Rabbi Edythe Mencher In this session, we will review research about the protective aspects of positive, ongoing, cherishing relationships drawing upon the presenters experience as a psychotherapist, rabbi and writer. We will consider evidence of how even in insecure times of rapid change, the presence of individual, family and communal relationships serves as a buffer against assaults upon our sense of hope, faith and security. Consideration will be given to the lure of the cyber-technologies. We will reflect together about how to work together in Jewish settings to promote supportive, enduring ties among: staff members; staff and students and families; and students and families, and within families. The session will include experiential components and opportunities to consider both practical applications and to engage in envisioning ways we might ideally forge transformative and inspiring relationships.
  • 2. Elective D: Making Room at the Table: Conversations on Diversity and Inclusion in the Jewish Community Rabbi Andrea Myers Diversity and inclusion are values that many of our communities emphasize, but how do we go from talking the talk to walking the walk? This workshop aims to be a safe space for educators to explore issues they may be wrestling with around diversity and inclusion. Using a combination of texts, interactive conversation, and educational resources, we will explore how to engage with people who have been seen as "other" in mainstream Jewish life. We will address the challenge of not simply having the same conversations, but reframing them in response to the realities of contemporary Jewish families. Whether we are talking about sexuality, race/ethnicity, religious background, or other aspects of identity, the fundamental question remains: What does an educator need to know to be well-equipped for todays world? Elective E: Relationships as the Medium of Jewish Education for Emerging Adults: The Case of Hillel’s Transformation Rabbi Dan Smokler Over the last five years, Hillel has undertaken a massive project of educational transformation. At the core of this project is a methodology called "relationship-based engagement." In this session we will closely examine Hillels transformation and use it as a case study of how a nearly 90 year- old flagship Jewish institution can respond effectively to new challenges among its core constituency and within American Judaism more generally.Elective F: What Ive Learned from the Mega-Churches and Chabad About Building Sacred Communities Dr. Ron Wolfson Two of the fastest-growing, most successful groups in religious life are the mega-churches and Chabad. Ron will share the lessons learned from his research into their strategies for recruiting, engaging and retaining followers and how they may be applied to mainstream congregations.