Bubbling Up at JEDLAB

Peter Eckstein

Peter EcksteinTwas the season in the JEDLAB universe to continue to focus on what being Jewish is all about. Much of this grew out of the findings of the Pew report, and was accompanied by a collective “enough already” sentiment on the part of some JEDLABers. One discussion was in response to an article that appeared in ejewishphilanthropy: “Enough Identity Already”, by Jon A. Levisohn, who framed the whole identity discussion in the context of what skills an educational system needs to focus on to achieve its goals. JEDLABers weighed in with views ranging from declarations that the “identity” idea was being overused and is meaningless to an exchange about the definition of “identity creation” being a measure of success, but not success in and of itself. As one commentator wrote, ”As an educator, I can teach towards mystery of a body of knowledge, or a skill; I can teach to alter attitudes or to habituate behaviors. I can’t teach someone to have an identity. (Isaac Shalev). What do you think?

Adam Levine (yes, the “world’s sexiest man alive”) made it onto JEDLAB too. Jay Michaelson’s piece in The Forward, “Adam Levine is Sexy and Jewish. So What?” was the impetus for this discussion. The big question that folks tried to answer was “what makes a public person a Jewish role model or hero?” Is it just support of Israel? Does it involve living a Jewish life? What does this mean? Is Josh Molina a Jewish role model? Rahm Emanuel? Meyer Lansky? What do you think a Jewish hero is?

Not everything, of course was all about philosophy or politics. Jewish teaching and pedagogy was a bit topic as well. A discussion on the uses of VoiceThread, a tool to create online interaction, took place. VoiceThread is an online tool that allows users to create online conversations that focuses on specific content or media. One JEDLABER is using it to create a series of conversations between her students and a class they are twinning with in Israel. To learn more about VoiceThread, go here.

A group of JEDLABers interested in family education and technology is planning on having a Google Hangout to explore the potential for using digital tools to foster increased family engagement. The actual discussion will be taking place in the middle of January, so stay tuned.

To explore JEDLAB on your own – go here. Become part of the action!