Social Intelligence: Foundation for Jewish Living

How is “social intelligence” a foundational Jewish value? Rona Novic investigates why we teach our youngest children social intelligence skills, such as empathy, at school and at home, but developing these skills drops out of the curriculum in middle school and later. Using Pirkei Avot (Ethics of Our Fathers) as a touchstone, Novic argues that if we are to raise socially responsible and socially responsive Jewish citizens, we must value social intelligence, and commit to teaching and re-teaching skills that deepen social intelligence throughout one’s life.

Dr. Rona Novick is Dean of the Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration at Yeshiva University and holds the Raine and Stanley Silverstein Chair in Professional Ethics. She serves as co-educational director of Hidden Sparks, an initiative to support diverse learners in Jewish Day Schools. In addition to teaching, supervision and administration at Azrieli, she brings her experience as an educator and Clinical Psychologist to work with schools, communities and individuals, to promote the social-emotional development of children. She is the author of numerous articles and chapters on bully prevention, building resilience, and parenting.

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