Modern Family, Holy Space

According to educator Nancy Parkes, there is nothing wrong with the current congregational education model, but that doesn’t mean it should stay the same. In fact, she says, change is not only possible but we have a biblical imperative to continue innovating in order to create sacred spaces that conform to their time. To develop the best models, we need to hear what our learners care about and what they want out of Jewish education and we need to determine our own goals as teachers and educational institutions.

Nancy Parkes is the Director of Congregational Learning at Temple Israel Center in White Plains, NY. She is a graduate of the William Davidson School of Education at the Jewish Theological Seminary. Parkes has initiated many programs at Temple Israel Center, including pilot programs in grades K-3, as well as a new bold educational model for Havurat Torah, Temple Israel Center's high school, where she is also an instructor. Nancy serves as a mentor for first year graduate students in the William Davidson School of Education at JTS, is a member of the Board of the Trustees for the Davidson School, and is a committee member of the Consortium for the Future of the Jewish Family. She is the co-author of The Little Torah’s Trip to Space, a children’s book about the Torah that Israeli astronaut, Ilan Ramon, took to space.

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