Thursday, March 22, 2018

Hebrew College 2018

Hebrew College

by Linna Ettinger
Assistant Director, Early Childhood Institute, Shoolman Graduate School of Jewish Education, Hebrew College

Early Childhood Institute
There are many programs taking place at Hebrew College that are geared towards educators and professionals working with young children and their families. Hebrew College is a pluralistic college,  offering formal and informal educational opportunities to adults both in person and through our on-line learning platform. The Early Childhood Institute is a department of the Shoolman Graduate School of Jewish Education.

Annual Early Childhood Jewish Education Conference
For the past 8 years, the conference has provided intense professional development for professionals and educators working with young children and their families. This year we collaborated with Boston's Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP), PJ Goes to School, Gateways Access to Education, Israeli American Council - Boston (IAC-Boston), Hebrew at the Center and ShalomLearning. The theme for the conference this year was People of the Book or Am Hasefer.  Over 200 educators from 40 different organizations came from around the country and Israel. Our guest speaker was Dr. Jeff Hoffman, the first Jewish astronaut to bring a Torah into space to, in his words,  "make space special."  To read more about the conference, visit the conference webpage.

Boston-Haifa Early Childhood Educators Connection (BHECEC)
In December we designed and ran a seminar for a delegation from the Haifa Municipality and local educators. To read more about it, please visit the BHECEC Mifgash 2017 Newsletter. Since 2010, Hebrew College has been leading the BHECEC, designing seminars both in Boston and in Haifa, in collaboration with the Early Childhood Department of the Haifa Municipality.

Israel @ 70
Israel education is one of the core components of our academic MJEd and Jewish ECE Certificate programs and professional development programs. This year we are offering an Israel @ 70 seminar for educators in collaboration with the Boston-Haifa Early Childhood Educators' Connection and partially sponsored by the Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP) of Boston. 

MJEd-ECE Program
We continue our academic work training master Jewish teachers which is so needed in the field. Our online MJEd -ECE program makes it possible for our work to make an impact around the world.  Our students are receiving generous support from Legacy Heritage Fund and iCenter. Our graduates are working in leadership positions in the field. For more information about the MJEd-ECE program, visit

Torah Godly Play
Torah Godly Play led by Rabbi Dr. Michael Shire 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. Hebrew College offers training seminars for Torah Godly Play in Boston and New York.  It also offers resources and consultation to synagogues and schools looking to establish Torah Godly Play classrooms and programs and is developing and adapting a Jewish curriculum for Torah Godly Play. Torah Godly Play is partially funded by an Innovation Grant from the Covenant Foundation. For more information, please visit the Torah Godly Play website.

Jewish Early Childhood Education Round Table 
Rachel Raz is working on a new initiative to bring together all stake holders in the greater Boston Jewish early childhood community to meet on a regular basis to share ideas from the local community and from across the country to work together to move the Jewish early childhood education field forward.

More from Hebrew College:

Adult Learning department: Parenting through a Jewish Lens

Parenting Through a Jewish Lens (PTJL), a program that brings Jewish sources of wisdom to parents of all backgrounds, began as Ikkarim (core values) in 2006. The program has evolved considerably since its early years, when parents met for nineteen class sessions and parsed sometimes arcane texts. Our current curriculum is offered in two parts, each comprising six sessions. It retains the most relevant and important original class sessions (e.g., parenting at a time of loss) as well as new material developed in response to parents’ expressed interests (e.g., parenting for resilience). The program has grown significantly in its reach—this past year approximately 250 parents from 15 cities and towns throughout greater Boston area enrolled in 22 classes. The program also has an expanded target audience; we now offer not only classes for parents of children from newborns to age ten, but also for parents of “tweens” and teenagers. Parenting Through a Jewish Lens is run through Hebrew College and funded by Combined Jewish Philanthropies.  To read an article about lessons learned please see "13 Lessons Learned from Parenting Through a Jewish Lens in its Bnai Mitzvah Year." 

Pedagogy of Music: Teaching Music to Children
School of Jewish Music is offering a Prayer Leader Summer Institute from June 25 to 29, 2018.  One of the courses is Pedagogy of Music: Teaching Music to Children will be taught by Ellen Allard. For full course descriptions and registration information please visit

Reggio Emilia Wonder of Learning Exhibit in Boston
Rachel Raz participated in the "Exploring Reggio Through a Jewish Perspective" seminar that took place in Italy in October of 2017.  She is now serving on the advisory committee to the upcoming Reggio Emilia  “Wonder of Learning” exhibit that will take place at Wheelock/BU College from June to November 2018.  For more information please see the Wonder of Learning webpage.

Hebrew College is located in Newton, MA. For more information, visit or contact Rachel Raz at

Annual Early Childhood Jewish Education Conference

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