New net­work gath­ers the ed­u­ca­tional elite

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY CHAR­LOTTE OLIVER

AS FAR as com­mu­nity event lo­ca­tions go, it cer­tainly was unique.

Last Tues­day, more than 170 in­for­mal Jewish ed­u­ca­tors gath­ered to­gether un­der the fake sky of KidZa­nia — a theme park lo­cated in­side West­field shop­ping cen­tre in west Lon­don — to cel­e­brate the launch of new ed­u­ca­tional group Reshet.

Lead­ing com­mu­nity fig­ures in­clud­ing JLC chief ex­ec­u­tive, Si­mon John­son, Pa­JeS’S ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor, Rabbi David Meyer, and UJIA’s di­rec­tor of re­search, He­lena Miller, am­bled down the streets of KidZa­nia, which are made to seem like a bustling city pop­u­lated only by chil­dren, be­fore mix­ing and min­gling with their con­tem­po­raries from Jewish schools and youth or­gan­i­sa­tions.

Former Lim­mud di­rec­tor Shel­ley Marsh, now Reshet’s ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor, wel­comed at­ten­dees and ex­plained the new ed­u­ca­tional body’s jour­ney from con­cep­tion to re­al­ity.

“Since Pe­sach, I have been on a con­stant road show, meet­ing peo­ple in­volved in in­for­mal ed­u­ca­tion from across the com­mu­nity and find­ing out what they need,” she ex­plained.

“In­for­mal Jewish ed­u­ca­tors can learn from and with each other. To go from good to great, we need to work in part­ner­ship to max­imise the Jewish ex­pe­ri­ences of our young peo­ple. In my nu­mer­ous con­ver­sa­tions with peo­ple through­out the field, I found there is a strong de­sire for real part­ner­ship in Jewish youth pro­vi­sion.”

With the sup­port of UJIA and the JLC, Reshet will serve as a bridge for more than 2,000 peo­ple work­ing in in­for­mal Jewish ed­u­ca­tion in the UK — from teach­ers at Jewish schools to youth lead­ers, shul di­rec­tors and re­searchers.

The plan is to hold reg­u­lar net­work­ing events to en­able the shar­ing of ideas and ini­tia­tives, and also launch a web­site con- Reshet’s Shel­ley Marsh tain­ing a com­pre­hen­sive list of all that is on of­fer in the world of ed­u­ca­tion.

“The key is to be out in the field as much as pos­si­ble,” said Ms Marsh. “We want to be proac­tive and re­ac­tive.

“Our web­site, which will be up and run­ning in a few weeks, will be a great re­source for par­ents who do not nec­es­sar­ily know what is out there. They can search for ac­tiv­i­ties by theme, or by ge­o­graph­i­cal lo­ca­tion.” Ac­cord­ing to Ms Marsh, the group was born out of a JLC re­port re­leased last year, which found that there was no cen­tralised ide­ol­ogy for in­for­mal Jewish ed­u­ca­tion and also that more value and at­ten­tion should be af­forded to this sec­tor of the com­mu­nity. R e s h e t , m e a n - ing “net­work” in He­brew, boasts board mem­bers f r o m a c r o s s the spec­trum i n c l u d - ing UJIA’s An­thony A s h - w o r t h -

Out in sup­port of our ed­u­ca­tors were (left to right) Ben Gi­lad, Tom Mor, Tal Me­sika, Adi Tal, Sha­har Schreier, Ophir Shay, Jas­mine Yellin-Fass

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