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Time to Share Protocols

By Suri Jacknis


Over the next few weeks we’d like to share some of our most successful learning protocols. These protocols are structures for a guided conversation that usually gives directions/framework for who talks when and for how long to encourage focus and participation. We hope that you might experiment with these or develop your own protocols that will work for your target audiences.  We would love to hear about your experience using these protocols and/or developing and using your own protocols for the Noticing the Jewish Journey.  Click on the title of this post to share your responses.

We are on Jewish journeys throughout our lives.  The protocols have been developed to help our learners to notice their progress on their Jewish journeys and map out their future Jewish journey.We have done a lot of work in The Coalition of Innovating Congregations on the “noticing cycle”- identifying noticing targets for the whole person (Knowing Doing Belonging Believing); selecting tools to notice our progress toward our targets, collecting the data and then analyzing what we learn in order to improve teaching and learning in order that learners continue to progress toward the targets.

Now we bring “NOTICING” to the Jewish journey.  In what ways can we help our learners appreciate and celebrate past benchmarks?  In what ways can we empower learners to select their next goals, pick tools so that they can notice their progress and guide their own Jewish journeys?  Families want a Jewish life that is rich and fulfilling.  These protocols are tools designed to help families decide for themselves what are their own next steps toward a Jewish life that is “well-lived”.

This artifact protocol was developed by Cyd Weissman with input from our Webinar Design Team… Hilary Schumer, Tara Siegel and Suri Jacknis.


Artifact Family Protocol for Noticing the Jewish Journey

(Can also be adapted for individual learners)

Overview: This protocol supports families in paying attention to their Jewish journeys. Being a Jewish family grows and changes over time. Adults and children can benefit from a reflection of where they have been and where they want to go.

The artifact protocol, by accessing family “treasures” facilitates parents and children having a conversation to mark their memorable Jewish experiences. The protocol can help families honor these special moments and together set new experiences the family would like to have on their journey.

Parents and children can see they are in the “driver’s seat” for the journey ahead.


  1. Prior to a communal gathering, families are asked to conduct a “Jewish family treasure hunt” in their home. Each member should select one object that represents a Jewish memorable experience. Objects may be traditional like a hanukkiya or a hallah cover. They can select things outside of tradition that still are seen as special like a piece of clothing worn at a special time, a cookbook, or a photograph of a family member.
  2. At the communal gathering, each family sits as a group to share their treasured artifacts.  Each family member has a chance to share:  This object is important because it helps tell …a memorable Jewish experience I’ve had….
  3. Family members listen to one another’s stories.
  4. Together they make a Jewish Journey treasure map…the years of the events, the object, and why it was important to the person telling the story. Each family member can add their own memory of that moment/ event. Together the family writes a title for their Jewish journey treasure map.
  5. The family then is paired with another family to share their maps. Each family shares their map.
  6. After sharing there is time for questions. Time to be excited: What is one thing you’d like to learn or try from another family or another person’s experience?
  7. The original family unit returns to their own space: What is something we want to pencil in together in the coming months, what is the next treasure we want to uncover/discover/experience together? (This can be more of something they have already done or something new.)
  8. Family Journey Template to Complete together: (keep one copy of the following questions for your family and share one copy with your facilitator)
  • What is our next treasure that we want to uncover/discover experience together?
  • What is something that you might want to know more about so that you can think more deeply about what you will be doing?  How will you plan to learn about this area?
  • What is one way that you can highlight your progress as you move toward your next treasure?
  • How can your family share your pride in your own Jewish journey with others and be able to appreciate the journeys of other families in your circle?
  • How might we track our progress as we move forward toward our goal (next treasure)?


 Please keep an eye out for our next protocol in this series.

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