The future strength and vitality of American Jewry depend on the quality of Jewish
education being offered today. Children and youth need to develop an appreciation for
the richness of Jewish tradition and they need to acquire Jewish knowledge and skills.
This learning will occur only if there are educational opportunities that attract, teach, and
inspire. In order to identify and understand such opportunities, the Jim Joseph Foundation
commissioned Brandeis University to map the world of Jewish education.
The mapping project focused on Jewish education from preschool through college. It
included all aspects of the field: formal and informal approaches, secular and religious
programs, well-established and start-up organizations, local and national structures, and
initiatives concerned directly with education and those concerned with capacity building.
The work entailed: (1) interviewing the executives of national agencies and foundations
concerned with Jewish youth education; (2) studying the philosophy and delivery of
Jewish education in eight communities; and (3) building a database of organizations and
programs devoted to Jewish youth education at the national level and in the eight
communities of our study. All total, we interviewed about 170 individuals and gathered
basic descriptive information on over 5,000 programs and organizations.
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