Wisdom From All My Teachers: Challenges and Initiatives in Contemporary Torah Education

Jeffrey Saks (editor), Susan Handelman (editor)

Publisher: Urim Publications

Co-published with ATID – the Academy for Torah Initiatives and Directions in Jerusalem, which was founded in 1998 by Rabbi Chaim Brovender and Rabbi Jeffrey Saks as a center for professional training, resource development, and policy planning for Torah education.

Ben-Zoma says: Who is wise? One who learns from every person, as it states: From all my teachers I grew wise. – Avot 4:1

In both the halakhic tradition and in pedagogical practice, learning and teaching are symbiotically connected. The teacher’s own learning reaches its full potential when it is transmitted to students, and, in turn, the teaching of those students forms the basis for the teacher’s own wisdom. Wisdom From All My Teachers offers insightful reflections of leading Jewish educators from Israel and the Diaspora on the pressing issues facing the field of Jewish education today.

The body of thinking represented in Wisdom From All My Teachers has the potential to both enlighten and ennoble the work of Jewish education, and may also serve as a springboard for the type of deliberation that will foster educational improvement in a variety of settings. These essays will stimulate all who feel strongly about the future of Torah teaching. Regardless of one’s window into the world of Jewish education – be it from within the home, school, or synagogue – Wisdom From All My Teachers will aid the community of Jewish educators, parents, and policy-makers in our collective efforts on behalf of both Jewish children and the Jewish people as a whole.

Contributors –

Hayyim Angel
Steve Bailey
Yitzchak Blau
Chaim Brovender
Erica Brown
Shalom Carmy
Yoel Finkelman
Asher Friedman
Beverly Gribetz
Norman Lamm
Aharon Lichtenstein
Gilla Rosen
Gidon Rothstein
Doniel Schreiber
Moshe Simkovich
Dodi F.Tobin
Yael Unterman
Avraham Walfish
Yael Wieselberg
Joel B. Wolowelsky

The twenty essays in this volume are both descriptive and prescriptive. The authors represent a remarkable cross-section of contemporary Torah educators; both men and women, teachers with but a few years of experience, side by side with the leading figures in Torah education, both in Israel and throughout the Diaspora.

In Wisdom From All My Teachers, innovative Jewish educators explore the nature of Torah study and its relationship to the love and awe of God, personal moral development; the role of worldly wisdom in Torah education; the cultivation of the student’s soul; the challenges of teaching students or adults who do not fit into the mold of the traditional curriculum; deliberations on the teaching of Talmud and Bible to this generation; the use of philosophy and aggadah in the yeshivah curriculum, and the place of the Israel experience in shaping the religious personality.

Wisdom From All My Teachers combines erudition with deep concern for the challenges facing the field of Jewish education in the contemporary world.

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