Judaism and Justice Beit Midrash
Posted on 06/29/2010 @ 12:30 PM
My name is Adam Greenwald, and I serve as Director of Education for Impact: DC JAM. This is my fourth year spending my summer as an educator on PANIM programs, and I always learn much more from the amazingly diverse group of participants than I could ever hope to teach them.
Yesterday we began our two-week “Beit Midrash” style learning program, which challenges the teens to use both classical and modern texts as springboards for discussion, debate, and reflection on our special role as Jewish activists in the ongoing struggle to build a more just and compassionate society. It was a pleasure to sit back and just listen as the participants thoughtfully dissected our first text and generated a list of insightful questions about the nature of our obligations to the vulnerable, which will serve as the backbone for the rest of their learning.
In particular, I love teaching in settings like BBYO and PANIM, because we consciously draw together teens from all different Jewish backgrounds. The participants who had never studied a Jewish text before brought fresh eyes and great questions, and the participants who have spent many years in religious day schools brought a wealth of experience and comfort in the world of Jewish ideas. Each one of these teens has their own unique Torah to share, and it is a wonderful privilege to have the role of helping them to find their own inner wisdom, to develop it, and to share it with each other.