Thank you for visiting our new JEX website. This new branding – specifically the idea of experience – reflects what Beth Tzedec Congregation’s youth, teen and family education and programming is all about. We provide meaningful and relevant experiences for everyone that deepens their connection to Jewish life and the Jewish community.
Since becoming Principal of the CS|X program three years ago, I have been working to change how it is we teach. The content that we want our students to learn – Jewish traditions, Shabbat and holidays, Hebrew language, familiarity with prayer, a love of Israel – is still the same. What is new is how these subjects are conveyed. We now use fewer textbooks and do very little seatwork. Our faculty design lessons that involve games, play and movement. We take advantage of the wonderful resources available to us in the synagogue building, including our gym, kitchen, library, museum and sanctuary.
Most importantly, what we teach and how we teach is directly connected to where our students are at in their own lives. This means that we have to know who each learner is, what makes them tick, what they are passionate about and what excites them. We then connect who they are to the subject matter. This approach helps with the stickiness factor – the likelihood that what they are learning will be remembered, retained and acted on.
Experiential education is also a key to improving stickiness. We can all remember that impactful assembly, activity or field trip far better than something we learned sitting at a desk, because this style of learning – experiencing something in a relevant way – is both more memorable and ultimately more effective than seatwork and learning by rote.
My teacher, Dr. Jeff Kress, has identified the 6 key components that lead to an impactful Jewish educational experience:
- Strong relationships and sense of community
- Engagement of emotions and spirit
- Multiple entry points and opportunities for co-creation
- Scaffolded opportunities for reflection
- Connections with other experiences with similar goals
- Authentic integration of Jewish content
Our school uses these principles as a check-back to ensure that we are really crafting meaningful, relevant and enjoyable experiences for our kids. After all, walking your dog is an experience, but not necessarily an impactful one. Here at CS|X, experience is the driving component of who we are. I invite you to learn more for yourself by calling me at 416-781-3514 ext. 231 or by emailing me at email@example.com.