A fundamental flaw with much of Jewish education in America is that it forces us to view Jewish identity within a vacuum. The goal of imparting students with as much Judaism as possible often leads teachers and administrators to ignore equally — if not more — discussions about focusing on the challenges of living a Jewish life in a predominantly non-Jewish world. What we ignore is the importance of teaching our children how to engage as “a Jew among the nations.” This doesn’t mean abandoning Jewish particularism; it just means supplementing it with a more holistic approach. Our children should graduate the Jewish educational system with pride in their inheritance, humility in what they know (and how much more they could know), and the knowledge that their Judaism provides added value for negotiating modern life.
Simon Klarfeld, “The Fundamental Flaw In Jewish Education”, The Jewish Week (20 September 2013), 20.