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Temple Israel Center’s Bold New Model

by Shana Zionts, Coalition Educator
Exciting things are happening at Temple Israel Center in White Plains! Through a LOMED grant to create a bold new model, the high school (called Havurat Torah) is undergoing a makeover to create powerful learning that speaks to the interests and questions of learners. We know high school students are stressed about adding to their college resumes, but Havurat Torah is about Jewish learning that creates a resume for LIFE.
The building blocks of our new model are: va’adot (study commissions), courses, and our educators.

The goal of the va’adot, study commissions, is to provide learners with the opportunity to shape their learning community. The va’adot are:

  • Ritual
  • Communications/Jewish Ethics
  • Tikkun Olam/Gemilut Hasadim
  • USY/Teen Leadership
  • Holidays

Learners will choose which va’adah they would like to participate in and meet each week in a beit midrash setting. Guided by their educators and mentors, the learners will use various Jewish texts, as well as other resources, to help them find answers to their questions. Each va’adah will carry out the mission of our school as they translate their learning into action.

The courses of study, which students will also choose, will focus on a specific Jewish subject, while also developing skills that connect to secular areas of interest. Within each subject area, students will be guided in the development of a thesis statement to explore throughout the semester. The courses are:

  • Torah/Midrash &Theater
  • Talmud and Law
  • American Jewish Community &Education
  • History/Israel &Journalism
  • Hebrew and Language 

 At Temple Israel Center, educators…

  • •Know that a core responsibility is building relationships with their learners
  • Think outside the box 
  • Use multiple resources and experiences to educate
  • See themselves as guides to their learners’ education
  • Recognize that learning occurs in many places other than the classroom
  • Collaborate with their colleagues to bring the best practices to their work
  • Understand that involving their learners’ families will allow learning to be lived and not only learned

Find out more about Temple Israel Center here!

Shana Zionts is a Coalition Educator, creating and implementing new models and working with PLTs to implement professional learning in 3 congregations. 

Have questions or thoughts for Shana and the Temple Israel Center team?  Leave them in the comments and continue the conversation!

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