Jewish Service Learning Pedagogy Project

Organization: Repair the World, New York, NY

Grant Year: 2010

Project Director: Ilana Aisen

Type of Grant: Signature

Grant Amount: $150,000.00 (3 years)

Website: http://www.repairtheworld.nyc/

This grant funded a collaborative project to improve the effectiveness of Jewish Service-Learning (JSL) programs, and Jewish experiential education generally, by creating and disseminating curricula, methodology, and infrastructure to identify, train, assess, and retain highly effective Jewish Service-Learning educators.

Through this project, Repair the World trained more than 250 Jewish educators, including immersive service facilitators, youth group advisors, supplemental school teachers, and Judaic studies professors and also shared their model with other institutions. The organization also created and disseminated a curriculum, “We Plant Seeds,” wrote a report detailing JSL standards of practice, and began a new program, Repair the World Communities.

Through the organization’s collaborative work with hundreds of educators and practitioners and dozens of organizations and programs, Repair the World has helped to create a sense of shared identity among those who practice JSL and deepened the knowledge base of JSL pedagogy and program effectiveness.

From “Advancing Jewish Social Justice and Environmental Action: Lessons Learned from Covenant Grantees,” by Meredith Woocher, Ph.D., February 2016:

“In their final grant report, Repair the World cited the “strong field” theory to illustrate how their work had helped connect disparate professionals and organizations, creating a more cohesive field grounded in shared knowledge, practices and goals:

As noted in the James Irvine Foundation’s and the Bridgespan Group’s seminal 2009 report, “The Strong Field Framework,” a strong program field is characterized by shared identity, standards of practice, a knowledge base, leadership and grassroots support, and funding and supporting policy. At the time of Repair’s proposal submission, the pedagogy and field of Jewish Service Learning was in its infancy, with “impressionistic” practices and a wide range of practitioners, many of whom did not consider themselves part of a JSL field. Over the course of the past three-plus years, Repair’s work through the Pedagogy Project has had direct and meaningful impact on the first three of the Strong Field Framework’s elements:

Through its collaborative work with hundreds of educators and practitioners and dozens of organizations and programs, Repair has helped to create a sense of shared identity among those who practice JSL
Repair has created, refined, and disseminated JSL standards of practice
Through its seminal research projects and educator curriculum development efforts, Repair has both expanded and deepened the knowledge base of JSL pedagogy and program effectiveness.
Through this work with a wide array of institutions and professionals – including Hillel International, graduate and rabbinical schools, social across denominations justice organizations like American Jewish World Service and Bend the Arc, Central Agencies, day schools, and synagogues – as a “convener, funder, researcher, disseminator, trainer and network hub,” Repair the World was able to impact “hundreds of Jewish educators, graduate students, and leaders – many of whom will in turn influence the work of different organizations as they move through their careers.”