A colleague and I were reminiscing about Operation Solomon, the truly remarkable redemption, rescue and resettlement in Israel of thousands of Ethiopian Jews. This was 1991, and I was Director of Strategic Planning for the MetroWest Federation. I was in Israel for a month-long program with the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI), as part of my responsibility was to oversee the Federation’s allocations to JAFI and the JDC. Little did I know when I left West Orange that I would be on the receiving end of one of the greatest gifts ever to bless the Jewish people.
Digital technologies have educational value, but nothing beats the rich experience of interacting with others. Luckily through J-SERVE Jesse was able to combine the two!
Last spring Jesse was the teen leader for the J-SERVE project "Get Connected: Teaching Seniors Computer Skills" at Lester Senior Housing. During the event, Jesse matched 12 teens with seniors to teach basic computer skills and engaged the teens in Jewish learning, discussing the importance of helping our elders according to Jewish tradition.
"My J-SERVE project last year inspired me to do my Girl Scout gold award at Lester with the seniors."
By Leemor Ellman and Robert Lichtman
Published in eJewish Philanthropy
What would we say about a Math teacher who engages students with the power of numbers, but fails to empower students to add them up? How long would a Physical Education teacher last who engages students by taking them to ball games but never empowers them to play? Why then, does so much of the language and activity from Jewish communal planners, educators and clergy stop short and aspire only to engagement, and not push through to the ultimate goal of empowerment? Why do they seem satisfied to foster a relationship with learners tethered by engagement rather than encouraging learners, even provoking them to become independent?