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The tension between Torah's timelessness and the impulse to be timely is a constant in Jewish education. One can study Torah and appreciate its timelessness.  One can roam the land of Israel and feel what Abraham Joshua Heschel referred to as the "echo of eternity."  Still, every now and then, someone writes an article about how to "make Jewish education relevant." 
We feel these tensions in multiple ways.
As Jewish LearningWorks undergoes a strategic planning process, we consider what is precious and what should be changed.  These considerations are relevant across our entire community as our society evolves - what aspects of our community can or should change, and what warrant preservation?  The answers aren't obvious, or easy.
Jewish education's relevance has emerged in another context. Educators and parents are exploring the connections and conflicts between Jewish teachings and recent trends in our country and the world. Observing the state of public discourse some core Jewish values and teachings, such as  B 'tzelem Elohim (we are all created in the image of God),  shmirat halashon (mindful speech),  anavah (humility/balance),  derech eretz (literally, "the way of the land" referring to treating others with dignity, decency, and common courtesy) have at times felt counter-cultural.   If so, the greater the imperative to teach them.  Thus, Feast of Jewish Learning organizers chose "The Power of Words" as this year's theme (keep scrolling).
The task of the Jewish educator is to enable the student to apply timeless Jewish wisdom to the timely questions of the day.  The tradition is deep, wide, and rich. Our children must be connected to it and informed by it.  "These words which I command you," says Deuteronomy and the  Sh'ma prayer, "shall be upon your heart."
"Upon your heart," suggests these teachings are more than intellectual exercises - they are intended to guide us in the essential questions of our lives.  The Kotzker Rebbe taught that UPON our hearts (rather than IN them) suggests that learning is about more than transmission - it requires us to actively OPEN our hearts to hear and to learn.
The educator must have one foot squarely planted in the timeless tradition and another in the here and now - to help students open their hearts and apply the wisdom of our tradition to the challenges of the day.
We're engaging educators and parents in this conversation - to look deeply at the education we provide to our students in light of the needs of the day.  What should be strengthened?  What changed? Would you like to join the conversation?  Please reach out!
When Heschel tuned into the "echo of eternity" as he walked the land of Israel, it was more than just the feeling of timelessness.  He heard the words of the prophets resonating in his ears.  He channeled those words to help him understand and influence the world he lived in.  Heschel, steeped in the tradition, made it relevant to his time.  So may we.
David Waksberg
CEO Jewish LearningWorks
Special Event |Registration Open
Feast of Jewish Learning

Saturday, January 21st
7:00 - 11:00 pm 
Congregation Beth Am, Los Altos Hills

Select from workshops and study sessions on text, tradition, arts, ethics and more, led by incredible Bay Area teachers and artists.

*Spending the day at the women's march?  Join us after!
Tu'B'Shvat Webinar
Embodying Tu'B'Shvat - A Webinar with Julie Emden
Wednesday, January 11th | 12-1pm PST 
3-4pm EST

Join mind-body-spirit teachers and practitioners from across the country for a special webinar.

Master educator, Julie Emden will lead an embodied practice exploring Tu'B'Shvat and
it's mind-body-spirit connection.

Enhance your personal practice or bring the teachings to your community!

      Register Here

Jewish Community Library
Hebrew Storytelling for Preschoolers with Koren Zuckerman

Sunday, January 8th
11:00am - 12:00pm
Jwish Community Library, SF

Presented by Koren Zuckerman

Jewish Community Library
Genealogy Clinic

Sunday, January 8th
12:00 - 2:00pm
Jewish Community Library, SF

Presented by Bay Area Jewish Genealogical Society

Jewish Community Library
The Marriage Plot: A Presentation by Naomi Seidman

Sunday, January 8th
1:30 - 3:30pm
Jewish Community Library, SF

Presented by Naomi Seidman

Embodied Jewish Learning
Sacred Dance Circles for Women in Berkeley

Sunday, January 8th
7:30 - 9:30pm

Presented by Julie Emden

Adult Education
Teaching our Children About the Holocaust
Sunday, January 8th
10:00am - 12:00pm
Congregation Etz Chayim, Palo Alto

Presented by Ilona Shechter
Embodied Jewish Learning
Embodying Tu'B'Shvat

Wednesday, January 11th
12-1pm PST | 3-4pm EST

Presented by Julie Emden

Shalom Hartman 
Jewish Values and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Wednesday, January 11th
7:0 0 - 9:00pm
Congregation Sha'ar Zahav, SF

Presented by Shalom Hartman Institute of Northern America

Jewish Overnight Camp Fair

Sunday, January 15th
4:00 - 6:00pm
Oshman Family JCC, Palo Alto

Presented by Oshman Family JCC

Jewish Community Library
Pepi Litman, Comedienne in a Hasid's Pants

Thursday, January 19th
7:00 - 8:30pm
Jewish Community Library, SF

Presented by Jeanette Lewicki

The Bay Area Community
Feast of Jewish Learning: The Power
 of Words

Saturday, January 21st
7:00 - 11:00pm
Congregation Beth Am, Los Altos Hills

Presented by South Peninsular Area Rabbis 
and Executives, Jewish LearningWorks,The Jewish News Weekly of Northern California and 
the Jewish Community Federation

Jewish Community Library
Film Class: 'Little White Lie'

Thursday, January 26th
7:00 - 9:00pm
Jewish Community Library, SF

Presented by Howard Freedman

Jewish Community Library
Recipes for Success: Lizzie Kander and the Settlement Cookbook

Sunday, January 29th
1:30 - 3:00pm
Jewish Community Library, SF

Presented by Bob Kann

Jewish Community Library
Drop-In Book Club: 'When A Crocodile 
Eats the Sun: A Memoir of Africa' 

Sunday, January 29th
2:00 - 3:30pm
Jewish Community Library, SF

Presented by Jim Van Buskirk

Embodied Jewish Learning
Sacred Dance Circles for Women in Berkeley

Sunday, January 29th
7:30 - 9:30pm

Presented by Julie Emden

Koleinu Coming to America

Tuesday, January 31st
7:00 - 9:00pm
Congregation Emanu-El, SF

Presented by Noah Aronson, Marsha
Attie, Josh Breitzer, Gideon Herscher,
Arik Luck, Rollin Simmons, Lizzy Weiss,
and Roz Barak

Include Special Needs
Family Camp Reunion and a Taste of

Sunday, February 26th
3:30 - 6:00pm
Congregation Neivot Shalom

Presented by Cheryl Cohen

Embodied Jewish Learning
Sacred Dance Circles for Women in Foster City

Wednesday, February 1st
7:15 - 8:30pm
PJCC, Foster City

Embodied Jewish Learning
Joy! A Weekend Retreat for Women

Fri. Feb.10th - Sun. Feb.12
Westerbeke Ranch, Sonoma

Presented by Julie Emden, Mia Miriam Cohen, 
Kendra Fried, and Tracey Green
For Families with Young Children

Jewish LearningWorks | 601 14th Ave | San Francisco, CA 94118