Education is a deeply embedded value in Jewish tradition. The most important prayer in all of Jewish liturgy, the Shema, features the injunction v’shinantam levanecha — “and you shall teach your children.” While traditionally this meant the study of Jewish text and custom, there is ample support in rabbinic literature for the idea that one must also learn a trade to be self-sufficient. Below are several organizations active in support of Jewish education.
World ORT is the world’s largest Jewish education and vocational training organization. Through its network of schools around the world, the group provides vital skills to enable economic self-sufficiency while promoting Jewish education and identity. Founded in 1880, World ORT operates today in 37 countries and impacts over 300,000 people each year.
Founded in 2005 in Massachusetts by the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, PJ Library sends Jewish books each month to some 200,000 children across North America in an effort to promote Jewish literacy and identity. The service is completely free, underwritten by the foundation in cooperation with local partners. The program is currently expanding abroad, with versions of its service now available in Russian, Hebrew and Spanish.
Founded as a Jewish learning conference in the early 1980s in England, Limmud has emerged into a global movement with chapters active in planning and organizing Jewish educational events in 80 countries. Rooted in the idea that anyone can learn and anyone can teach, the organization is avowedly pluralistic and draws both presenters and participants from the full breadth of the Jewish ideological spectrum.
My Jewish Learning
My Jewish Learning offers thousands of articles, videos and other resources to help navigate all aspects of Judaism and Jewish life — from food to history to beliefs and practices. The site is geared toward people of all backgrounds and levels of Jewish knowledge and aims to empower Jewish discovery for anyone interested in learning more about Judaism.