By Ellen Walters, Director, Learning Initiatives in Early Childhood Education
Text has a double meaning in contemporary Jewish life. We are bound to our ancient and modern texts and we also are linked to the digital age and all of the ways it impacts, and shapes, our lives. Dr. Jeffrey Schein, Director of the Adolescent Initiative and Special Projects for the Jewish Education Center of Cleveland, developed a project called “Text Me: Judaism and Technology.” He shared his curriculum with the Family Engagement staff at Jewish Learning Venture and we then facilitated a session at Congregation Or Ami for parents of children ages 6 to 12. Together we explored specific Jewish texts in relation to our use of technology. We thought about how electronic devices impact our lives in both positive and less positive ways and how they change communication within the family. Several questions emerged:
- What can it be like to unplug for our kids… and for ourselves?
- How do cell phones hurt a sense of community?
- How can digital communication be misconstrued?
The chance to share thoughts about an ever-present part of our lives created an intimate discussion. If you would like to share in that discussion or arrange for a workshop in your synagogue, please contact Ellen Walters, 215.320.0366.