For Educational Leaders
Hebrew College provides professional development services for the Jewish community, including specific courses and programs for Jewish educators in the areas of Hebrew language, congregational education, and more. Whether you are new to your educational career or an experienced professional, our programs can help you increase your knowledge, refine your expertise, and advance your career.
MaTaRoT: Hebrew College’s Center for Jewish Professional Development
Your Goals. Your Growth.
MaTaRoT: Hebrew College’s Center for Professional Learning and Leadership is your hub for professional development in Jewish Education. MaTaRoT, meaning “goals,” describes our work together: Mentoring, Teaching, Reaching Together.
Our menu of 2021-2022 professional development offerings includes a variety of offerings for continual growth and innovation to help educators like you deepen and broaden your experiences as professionals, empowering you to support your students and their families. Join us. #PD@HC
Hebrew College’s menu of professional development offerings are guided by a belief that teaching is a complex and dynamic process that demands continual improvement. We believe that supporting teachers and educational leaders in congregational schools serves to deepen and broaden the experiences of the professionals, and thus the students and the families in their programs. By focusing on the intellectual and pedagogical growth of all of the professionals who interact with the students week in and week out, we are investing in improving the teaching and learning in these institutions.
Weekly Convening of Education Directors
Directors of Education in the Greater Boston Area are invited to join a weekly conversation guided by the interest of the group. In this group we share, explore, and critically respond to the opportunities and demands of our important work. This group is open to all schools in the CJP catchment area.
Communities of Practice (CoP)
Hebrew College convenes two CoPs which meet for 90 minute sessions over the course of nine months. These CoPs are an invitation to educators to carve out time and step back to reflect, refocus, and join with colleagues. Each CoP is an opportunity to create sacred time to deepen our practice, as we impart individual and collective wisdom in a safe and brave professional community of educators. By gathering with a defined purpose, along with an engaged and positive perspective, we bring new energy to our work. These CoPs will have a specific focus, to be determined. Some examples may include social-emotional learning, educational technologies and family or teen engagement.
These intensive ten-week, two-hour long modules take a sustained, deeper dive into relevant and timely topics in the field of Jewish education. Topics to be determined based on feedback from educators and could include topics such as Teaching Israel, Godly Play.
Hebrew College partners with national and local organizations, as well as individuals both within and outside of the College, to offer nine stand-alone seminars on a variety of current topics. These may include topics such as, Equity and Justice in Jewish education; inclusion & equality in Jewish life; Jewish arts; book discussions, etc. Organizations will likely include JArts, Gateways, Facing History and Ourselves, Keshet, and more. These subsidized seminars are available to all schools in the CJP catchment area.
The professional development team at Hebrew College is available for a set of individualized coaching sessions. Educators partner with an experienced coach to develop and deepen skills in areas such as change management, interpersonal communication, supervision, leadership, etc. to achieve professional goals.
Direct Service/PD Workshops
Hebrew College provides customized professional development workshops directly to individual schools. This is an opportunity to bring an experienced educator into your organization for staff development and training. These subsidized workshops are available to all schools in the CJP catchment area.
Program in Instructional Leadership (PIL)
This group of congregational school leaders meets to strengthen the vision and skill for teacher development in their programs. This professional learning community comes together over a two year period to learn and practice the core skills of mentoring teachers, to share experiences, and to identify and discuss key challenges and opportunities in the field of Jewish supplementary education. As part of the program, the instructor visits each participant’s site to co-observe a teacher, and then reflect on the observation and its follow-up, along with one additional visit based on the individual needs of the school director.
Project-Based Expeditionary Learning (PBL)
Hebrew College works with selected teachers and educational directors from schools to introduce project-based learning into their school curriculum and structure. The program focuses on training in the principles and implementation of expeditionary projects. Each school is matched with an experienced consultant to guide the teachers as the project(s) progress.
Educating for a Jewish Spiritual Life
Hebrew College’s Partnership with The Institute of Jewish Spirituality (IJS). Congregational schools work in teams on integrating mindfulness and meditation into their classrooms and community. Support provided by the Institute for Jewish Spirituality. Sessions include online content from the IJS, support and guidance from an IJS staff member and quarterly webinars for the cohort of participating schools.
Whole School Change with Ten Supplemental Schools – Year 1
Ten supplemental schools will be invited to work closely with Hebrew College professionals to create whole school change and meet the needs of individual communities. This highly focused, year-long program includes ongoing, consistent one-on-one coaching. The school director will partner with a coach to develop specific goals to focus efforts and work collaboratively. Progress will be continually assessed and schools may be invited to continue the process for a second year. Applications are required.
For Our Teachers and Their Learners: A series of virtual professional sessions in the time of isolation (2020-2021)
For Our Teachers and Their Learners was a series of sessions that served as a resource and a venue for Jewish educators to be in a community. During our sessions we explore and ‘practice’ various virtual educational modalities, share in Jewish textual learning and bridge between theory and practice as we share content and practices to support you and your learners.
>> Watch past online workshops here.
Director of Hebrew College Educational Initiatives
Digital Pedagogy of Literacy: The Hebrew Class of the Future
How will Hebrew Language classes look in the future? Come and explore how the integration of technology in second language instruction using the proficiency approach maximizes the effectiveness of Hebrew classes and promotes communicative performance of the learner. This course is offered in partnership with Hebrew at the Center.
>> Learn more
Torah Godly Play is an innovative approach to religious education that seeks not so much to tell stories of faith in order that we will “know” them, but as spiritual action of finding meaning, identity and God through storytelling and listening. The pedagogical ideal of this approach is that, from the earliest age, children are invited to experience and become increasingly aware of the spiritual call within sacred stories and of their own deep response as something naturally afforded by religious narrative.
Watch Hebrew College’s Rabbi Dr. Michael Shire tell the Exodus Story using the Torah Godly Play methodology.
Godly Play has developed over three decades in the United States by Dr. Jerome Berryman, a Christian theologian and educator. However, its respect for and attention to childhood spirituality, and the significance of story to hold and develop that through its unusually contemplative and playful style, addresses educational strategies common to Jews and Christians.
Godly Play was developed by Berryman as an outcome of his work with Montessori-based religious education combined with a contemplative reading of sacred texts (lectio divina). In Berryman’s analysis this is a return to the nonverbal, relational communication system that is foundational to spirituality, and with which we started as children before shifting to a reliance on language to express the spiritual.
As such, it uses specially created artifacts and symbolic objects to enable a trained storyteller to powerfully engage children and adults in the wonderment of sacred text, etc. It is not like anything else that we have witnessed in Jewish education and in some ways is countercultural to the norms in our community of grappling with the text or deconstructing it. It might be considered much more an encounter with the text. In addition, Torah Godly Play is not merely an educational method, but a means to also enact the theology and liturgy of Jewish language. The time spent together in Torah Godly Play is an enactment of a liturgical experience as much as it is a telling of a story.
I have been having the BEST time telling TGP stories each week on Zoom. In our small school we have been gathering as families each Shabbat morning for our usual circle time – a little t’fillah and a little community learning/conversation. I started with the intention of playing with TGP as one of a few storytelling strategies in order to keep it interesting. But the TGP work has gotten such rave reviews from teachers, parents and kids that now I’m committed to making it my primary – if not my only – strategy for our weekly Torah portions. It’s a whole different kind of immersion into text.
— Sue Bojdak, Leader of MTEI Recruitment; Director of Education at Congregation Sha’ar Zahav, San Francisco
As you can imagine, Torah Godly Play is a complex and intricate approach to religious education, inviting participants into an encounter with sacred time and sacred space as a community. There are already Torah Godly Play classrooms in synagogues, schools, and JCCs around the United States. Scripted stories of Tanakh and Jewish Festivals have been published. Hebrew College currently runs a community of practice for Godly Play practitioners, and a Facebook Group, as well as offers training seminars for Torah Godly Play in Boston. It also offers resources and consultation to synagogues and schools looking to establish Torah Godly Play classrooms and programs.
Examples of Torah Godly Play in Action
- Hebrew College’s Rabbi Michael Shire describes Torah Godly Play
- A Rabbi demonstrates her Torah Godly Play classroom
- Rabbi Michael Shire outlines the history of Torah Godly Play
- Rabbi Michael Shire presents a Torah Godly Play story to the Paradigm Project’s Jewish educators
- Introduction to Torah Godly Play Training, July 2020