Every fall, our education team selects a diverse set of educators to join Sefaria’s Educational Partnership Initiative. The purpose of the Initiative is for educators to experiment with Sefaria, explore what Jewish learning looks like in a digital age, and discover how we might create new forms of engagement around Jewish texts in conjunction with Sefaria. Participating educators think through best practices of teaching with Sefaria and work together to foster a more innovative spirit in the community Jewish learning. In the 2016-2017 school year, there are two distinct cohorts: day schools and Jewish organizations.
The 2016-17 cohort includes 19 schools and 9 Jewish organizations.
At the beginning of the year, educators set personalized goals for experimenting with Sefaria in their classrooms and our team provides ongoing support and coaching to help them develop lesson plans, units, and/or activities using Sefaria’s library and tools like the Source Sheet Builder. Here’s a look at how some of the educators are using Sefaria now.
In one day school classroom, students wrote their own divrei torah for Shabbat Shuva. Students drew upon Biblical texts to convey messages suited to the time of year. They took advantage of the Source Sheet Builder to collect passages from the text alongside news articles and, most importantly, their own contemporary commentary and questions.
Across the country, another class of students created source sheets on the Builder, compiling excerpts from prose and poetry, siddurim and Jewish philosophy, music videos and photographs of their own art, all held together with their own thoughts and commentary on the subject of teshuva.
In another classroom, 4th and 5th grade religious school students read texts describing the Mishkan and then visited the synagogue’s sanctuary in search of ritual objects designed to remind us of the Mishkan. The students took pictures on their phones and uploaded the pictures to a source sheet next to the Torah text so they’d have a permanent online guide to the historical context of a modern day synagogue.
As the school year progresses, we’ll share more examples of the different ways Sefaria is powering learning. If you have questions about using Sefaria in your classroom, please reach out to our education team:
Sara Wolkenfeld, Director of Education
Rachel Buckman, Education Associate