Future Plans

Future Directions for ATID
Spring 2001

ATID-The Academy for Torah Initiatives and Directions
is an independent, privately funded foundation which aims to foster new and significant thought on the crucial issues facing Jewish education among future leaders in the field-students, young educators, and other professionals who will serve as lay leadership - and to develop effective and implementable pedagogies and strategies for improving Torah education in the modern world.

ATID strives to...

  • Raise the level of sophistication and professionalism in Jewish education, helping to transform the field into a more creative and effective force in impacting on world-wide Jewry.
  • Prepare outstanding professional and lay leadership for Torah education-in Israel and the Diaspora-who have the ability to grapple with the profound challenges facing our community and our people, and who have the skills to promote effective education.
  • Attract committed, talented and well-trained personnel to the field of Jewish education.
  • Act as a partner to leading institutions in Israel and the Diaspora who are looking to raise their own level of effective educational practice.
  • Serve as a resource to the profession and community in dealing with the critical issues, topics, and problems facing the Jewish world- solving problems through developing creative and effective educational approaches.
  • Forge the necessary links between the practical and theoretical realms that ought to interact in a more dynamic way in shaping the world of Torah education.

As ATID prepares to enter its fourth year of innovative activity on behalf of Jewish education, we announce our commitment to both continue and to expand our programs into the areas described below:

ATID Fellows

Combine the most talented and promising young Jewish teachers and leaders, team them with the most distinguished senior educators in Israel, and challenge them to develop innovative, effective, and implementable solutions to the challenges facing Jewish education in the contemporary worldand you have the ATID Fellowship program.

Each Fellow works on a field of specific research of their choice associated with an issue in Jewish education, and is paired with a senior educator who acts as mentor to the project, but who also serves as a resource and guide as the Fellow processes the content of the whole program to his or her own personal and professional life. The research studies are disseminated in print, and are available from our website at http://www.atid.org/journal/journal.asp.

As a group, the ATID Fellows have focused on developing innovative pedagogies and solutions for issues such as: the challenge of creating a meaningful Tefillah experience, character education in the modern world, developing engaging curricula for teaching Gemera, and creating commitment to Israel and Zionism in the "post-Zionist" age. Through the group seminars and projects, ATID serves as the ultimate "teacher's room"-fostering creative interaction, supportive critique, and growth-oriented collegiality.

The ATID Fellows come from a variety of backgrounds: those working in Israeli classrooms, those teaching Diaspora students in the many yeshivah and seminary programs in and around Jerusalem, and those not in the classroom, but informal or adult education or school administration. In a few cases ATID Fellows are not professionally involved in education, but come from fields such as law, business, or psychology, and will be assuming roles as lay leaders. By including a select number of outstanding professionals from outside of the world of formal education, ATID shows its commitment to the fact that the players in Jewish education are found in many varied arenas-from the classroom to the boardroom, schools and homes, yeshivot and universities.

In the coming year, the ATID Fellowship program will continue its work, refocused through the component of senior fellows and full-time associates who will work closely with the young educators and guide the research of teams which will examine the critical issues facing Torah education in Israel and the Diaspora, and work toward developing specific strategies and resources to improve the field. ATID fellows receive a stipend for their in-service participation in our program of seminars and group research, and benefit from contact with a distinguished faculty of senior educators and from creative interaction with colleagues.

Zionism & Jewish History

ATID has established a task force of creative educators, policy makers, and thinkers to help clarify the challenges of inculcating commitment and connection to the State of Israel and the Zionist enterprise, in the face of contemporary, so-called "post-Zionist" challenges to those goals. The task force will prepare curricular material which will serve as useful resources, both in Israel and the Diaspora, toward addressing from a Torah perspective issues such as Israel's role in the world, the challenge of building a moral and just society, defining national identity, the relationship of Diaspora Jewry to the State and vice-versa. Through our new initiatives working with Diaspora schools, we will make a real impact in communicating these core values to worldwide Jewry.

Initiative for Torah Art Education

The relationship between Judaism and the arts is both ancient and complex. The ability of the world of art and music to both enhance and represent the religious experience is one which often goes unmined in contemporary Torah education. ATID will establish a serious learning environment to train teachers who will be able to integrate these fields through innovative pedagogical techniques. In its initial stage women with a strong Torah study background, as well as talents and interest in the arts, will participate in Beit Medrash study on the interplay of the fields. Ten young women (both from Israel and abroad) who have shown promise as creative teachers will be selected for the initial phase of the project. Experts from the world of classical Torah study, artists and art teachers, and master pedagogues will accompany the participants on their journey to process the material and synthesize the disciplines as they develop educational strategies for enhancing current teaching. The participants and faculty will together create courses and curricula for implementation in secondary schools and seminaries both in Israel and the Diaspora. The focus will not merely be on how to teach art from a Torah perspective, but also how the study of art, music, and other creative disciplines can and should enhance our study of Torah, and enrich our lives as Torah-practicing students and adults. The program will lead to a degree or certificate for teachers in the school systems.

ATID Abroad

ATID has begun work with leading institutions in the Diaspora that wish to undergo a rigorous examination and refinement of their vision, goals and methods. The ATID faculty serves as on-site consultants to help facilitate systemic change, vision-building, curricular review and development, and staff training and enhancement. Although custom tailored for each school, the main task of each program will be the development of implementable pedagogical, administrative and programmatic strategies which will enable each Yeshiva to move from their articulated vision into educational practice. This will include careful curriculum analysis and design planning, but will extend well beyond the business of the classroom to work on the school experience in total. Each site serves as a "laboratory school"-becoming a model for institutional change, growth, and excellence.

A work plan is developed at the outset of each project, and typically lasts up to 18 months for the initial phase. During that time ATID makes several on-site visits, and the school administration and faculty members undergo an intense Summer Seminar at ATID's Jerusalem facility. Throughout the experience ATID serves as a partner and resource to each client school, and is available at all times for the provision of resources and consultation in the on-going implementation of each project.

Projects have been launched at the Yeshiva High School of Boca Raton, Florida, and at the Immanuel College in London. Please contact ATID to discuss designing a program for your school.

Publications

ATID will continue to disseminate its studies and materials both in print and electronically via the Internet. We have contracted with a Urim Publications to produce a volume of essays on Torah education, and are in the first editing stages. We will also be launching a series of pamphlets-each focusing on a specific educational challenge-that record the deliberations undertaken in ATID, which will both suggest reforms and articulate new positions on issues with which schools often wrestle. These publications put forth new thinking on age-old issues as well as contemporary challenges. They are an endeavor to draw a wide audience of Jewish educators, leaders, and policy makers into the necessary deliberations on the issues that ought to be guiding our work. These published studies and research monographs capture the vibrant and fresh debate that the ATID fellows undergo in our weekly seminars, and invite each reader to undergo the same rigorous process of thinking critically about how he or she approaches their own holy work.

The first volume in our monograph series, currently in press, focuses on "Educating Toward Serious Tefillah."

Recent Titles from the ATID JOURNAL:

Visit http://www.atid.org/journal/journal.asp for over 30 recent studies, pamphlets, and monographs.

Rabbi Chaim Brovender President Rabbi Jeffrey Saks Director

ATID is a tax-deductible charity in the United States through the American Committee for the Advancement of Torah Education in Israel, Inc.

For more information please contact us at +972-2-567-1719 or atid@atid.org

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