Successfully Raising Jewish Children in Today’s (Me-Centered, Media-Driven) Culture

JTS Faculty to Teach at Parenting Seminar at Beth Tzedec

Press Contact: Nina Jacobson
Office: (212) 678-8950

November 14, 2008, Toronto, ON

“Golda, Gangsta, My Child, Rashi, and Britney: Successfully Raising Jewish Children in Today’s (Me-Centered, Media-Driven) Culture” will be the focus of an afternoon of exploring character development and value-based education for children beginning at noon on Sunday, December 7.

Sponsored by Beth Tzedec Congregation and The Jewish Theological Seminary, the program will take place at Beth Tzedec, 1700 Bathurst Street, Toronto. Each session will be taught by members of the JTS faculty and repeated two times.

The program will begin with registration and lunch at noon, followed by a welcome and introductions at 12:50 p.m. Breakout sessions will be held from 1:00–2:00 p.m. and 2:15–3:15 p.m. The afternoon will conclude with a panel discussion from 3:15–4:00 p.m. Topics will include “Who are Jewish heroes and why do we need them?”; “How does Judaism view child development, and what difference does it make?”; and “'Then and there’ or ‘here and now’? Family, Memory, and Jewish Learning.”

Dr. Carol K. Ingall, Dr. Bernard Heller Professor of Jewish Education at JTS’s William Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education, will discuss “Jewish Heroes.” In her discussion, Dr. Ingall will address how heroes differ from role models, social functions the hero they serve, what the fascination with celebrities and superheroes reveals about the current moral landscape, and what North Americans can learn from Jewish heroes.

Dr. Ingall's research includes moral education in Jewish schools, the history of Jewish education, and the synthesis of student-centered instruction and Jewish cultural literacy. In 1999, her book Transmission and Transformation: A Jewish Perspective on Moral Education (Melton Research Center) was honored with the National Jewish Book Award.

“Judaism’s View of Child Development” will be discussed by Dr. David Kraemer, Joseph J. and Dora Abbell Librarian and professor of Talmud and Rabbinics at JTS. Childhood has been understood in radically different ways by different cultures in different ages. In his presentation, Dr. Kraemer will look at Judaism’s interpretation of the various stages of childhood and how this understanding impacts the way children should be educated and treated.

Dr. Kraemer is particularly interested in literary analysis of rabbinic literature and ritual, and the social and religious history of Jews in late antiquity. His most recent book, Jewish Eating and Identity Through the Ages, on the evolution of Jewish eating practices, was published in 2007.
Dr. Kraemer is also the editor of a volume on the history of the Jewish family titled The Jewish Family: Metaphor and Memory (Oxford, 1989).

In a culture that values innovation, youth, and the new, where does tradition and family fit in for the younger generation of Jews? This question will be explored by Dr. Michelle Lynn-Sachs, assistant professor of Jewish Education at The Davidson School, who will also address how the process, as well as the content of Jewish learning can lead to stronger connections with family and community.

Dr. Lynn-Sachs’ areas of interest include educational leadership, congregational studies, and sociology of education and religion. Her recent research project, "Inside Sunday School: Cultural and Religious Logics at Work at the Intersection of Religion and Education," is a comparative, ethnographic study of the aspirations for religious education programs in a Catholic church, Protestant church, and synagogue.

This “Special Afternoon for Families” is made possible by a generous grant from the Hereld Fund of JTS to enable outstanding JTS faculty to promote Jewish education.

The program is free and open to the community; there is a $10 cost for lunch. The registration deadline is Monday, December 1. Child care will be provided only for those registered in advance. Further information is available by contacting Beth Tzedec Congregation at (416) 781-3514, x 234, the JTS Canada Office, at (416) 789-2193, x 23, or Tom Wexelberg-Clouser, JTS Great Lakes Regional Director, at (248) 258-0055.