Strategies for Responding to these Challenges
We believe that the central response to all these challenges is to demonstrate and emphasize the positive benefits of belonging to the Jewish People. Rather than being a burden or source for competition and tension, we believe that belonging to the Jewish People is enormously valuable and relevant in today’s world.
We address some of these positive reasons in the Conceptual Overview.
In attempting to demonstrate the value and relevance of Jewish Peoplehood today, educators play a variety of roles for their learners – guide, mentor, role model and dialogue-partner – as they seek answers to formative identity questions.
Educators looking to address these challenges can use the following strategies:
- Emphasize the benefits and importance of belonging to the Jewish People. Highlight that belonging does not need to limit one’s individualism but enriches the set of resources Jews have at their disposal as they develop their unique individual selves.
- Emphasize the fact that the individual can define the intensity of his/her belonging to the Jewish People. There is a range of commitment and belonging; it does not have to be “all or nothing.” For some people it will be central to their lives while for others it will be one piece of a variety of networks, in a way that works for them.
- Highlight the fact that Peoplehood does not offer a “one-size-fits-all” approach. A range of options is available to individuals challenged by their relationship with the Jewish collective.
- Offer learners the perspective that having multiple collective identities does not necessarily spell conflict, but rather, multiple identities enrich us and our communities. Offer examples and live situations where this occurs. Encourage students to feel proud of their multiple identities rather than feeling embarrassed by them.
- Help learners discuss and debate the tension between individualism and collective identity. Offer examples where they can consider their own opinions about when it is valuable to sacrifice individual needs or desires for the sake of the group.
- Model an approach to Peoplehood that embraces diversity and pluralism. This is summed up by the the idea of “unity but not uniformity.” Learn about and respect diverse opinions and approaches, and emphasize the positive aspects found in difference.
- The Education Toolkit is a tool for the world-wide community of Jewish educators. We are committed to sharing resources across the field, and encourage educators to share their own resources and lesson plans, allowing us to create a user-driven program bank.Click here to submit a resource idea or lesson plan.