December 20, 2010

NY Times Column Cites 2009 Covenant Award Recipient as Exemplar of Jewish Educator

Dr. Erica Brown, recipient of a 2009 Covenant Award, was profiled by New York Times columnist David Brooks in a Dec. 20th piece underscoring the power of adult education, and adult Jewish education in particular.

“She offers a path out of the tyranny of the perpetually open mind by presenting authoritative traditions and teachings,” he wrote.  “Most educational institutions emphasize individual advancement. Brown nurtures the community and the group.

“It’s interesting that her work happens in the world of adult education. Americans obsess about K-12 education. The country has plenty of religious institutions. But adult education is an orphan, an amorphous space in-between. This is a shame, but it also gives Brown the space to develop her method.”

Dr. Brown is the Director of Adult Jewish Education at The Partnership for Jewish Life and Learning, based in Rockville, MD.  Her influential work in the Jewish community in the DC area and nationwide has helped to position adult Jewish education and fellow educators as a priority in the communal consciousness and agenda.

Her impact in raising awareness and strengthening adult Jewish education was cited by the Covenant Foundation when it named her a Covenant Awardee.

“We are in desperate need of an ancient prophet in our midst to remind us of our covenantal responsibilities,” she said as she received the Covenant Award in 2009.  “There can be no better time to think of the role of education in Jewish life and the importance of education and leadership to strengthen our sense of purpose. In accepting this honor, I hope I can do my small part in restoring the covenant.”

By citing Dr. Brown as a Covenant Award Recipient, the Foundation underscored the primacy of adult education within the Jewish educational landscape. The recognition given her and the field by Brooks is important in further exposing the value of adult Jewish education and its practitioners.

“Adult Jewish education has real effect among individuals, the Jewish community and the broader world, as David Brooks points out through the prism of Erica Brown.  Jewish educators everywhere should be proud of this recognition,” said Harlene Winnick Appelman, executive director of The Covenant Foundation.