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ERIC Number: EJ938395
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004
Pages: 10
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-1524-4113
Texts in Tension: Negotiating Jewish Values in the Adult Jewish Learning Classroom
Woocher, Meredith L.
Journal of Jewish Education, v70 n1-2 p22-31 2004
In this paper, the author begins with a brief classroom scene that illustrates a number of significant features of contemporary American Jewish life. The engagement of adult students with Jewish text study is an example and outgrowth of the flourishing of programs of adult Jewish learning over the past two decades. Thousands of similar Jewish adult learners in classrooms across the country have chosen to engage with Jewish texts and ideas in a serious and intensive way, devoting, in many cases, hundreds of hours and multiple years to their learning; and, as the scene illustrates, much of this learning involves not merely passive attendance at a lecture or two, but rather the active study of traditional Jewish texts in which the words of biblical, rabbinic, medieval and modern sages are pondered, investigated and absorbed. Filled as it is with immediate and visible interactions between the living texts of American Jews and the written texts of Judaism, the adult Jewish learning classroom offers a valuable window into the ongoing struggle to integrate the ideals of traditional Judaism with those of post-Enlightenment Western culture. The author explores the interactions between these two sets of texts and addresses critical questions about adult Jewish learning, including: What are the values that students bring with them into the classroom? How do they react when exposed to the texts and values of Jewish tradition? How does adult Jewish learning affect critical features of American Judaism in which traditional Jewish and contemporary American values are thoroughly conflated? Finally, what are the implications of the answers to these questions for the present and future of American Judaism? (Contains 7 footnotes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Adult Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A