American Jewry at Rick: "A Time to Act" and the Prioritization of Jewish Education

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dc.contributor.author Krasner, Jonathan
dc.date.accessioned 2020-05-26T17:41:35Z
dc.date.available 2020-05-26T17:41:35Z
dc.date.issued 2016-05-06
dc.identifier.citation Krasner, J. Cont Jewry (2016) 36: 85.
dc.identifier.issn Print ISSN 0147-1694 Online ISSN 1876-5165
dc.identifier.uri https://hdl.handle.net/10192/37586
dc.description.abstract Twenty-five years after the publication of A Time to Act, by the Commission on Jewish Education of North America (CJENA), we are in a position to evaluate this initiative with historical hindsight. At the time, the commission was heralded as an unprecedented communal undertaking and a signal that after years of perfunctory treatment and neglect by the organized Jewish community, Jewish education was gaining recognition as a vital concern. While accurate, this assessment benefits from contextualization both in the American and the American-Jewish situation of the 1980s and early-1990s. The CJENA and its report mirrored American anxiety during that same period about the state of K-12 education, while initiatives to address systemic weaknesses in Jewish education were concurrent with the spate of reform efforts spawned to address the perceived decline in public education. At the same time, A Time to Act exemplified a more general malaise within the Jewish community about the effects of rapid integration on Jewish ethnic and religious survival. Communal leaders became convinced that Jewish education could stem the assimilationist tide. The CJENA, which was funded by the Mandel Associated Foundations, also presaged a sea change in the funding of Jewish education, particularly the growing impact of mega-donors on the Jewish educational landscape. Among the commissioners were a number of the funders and foundation executives who emerged in the 1990s as formidable players in such areas as summer camping, adult education, leadership training, day schools and heritage tourism. Indeed, the greatest legacy of the Commission may be that it paved the way for the initiatives that followed. If A Time to Act was not a veritable voice crying out in the wilderness, its cri de coeur shaped the leading edge of a broad-based effort of reform and revitalization facilitated by an influx of family foundation funding. And while it is an exaggeration to claim that the commission generated the celebrated and fruitful mega-donor collaborations of the late-1990s and early 2000s, including the funding of Taglit-Birthright Israel and the Partnership for Excellence in Jewish Education, it undeniably contributed to an environment that placed a premium on such partnerships.
dc.language.iso en
dc.publisher Springer Netherlands
dc.relation.ispartofseries 36;
dc.rights “The final publication is available at https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12397-016-9167-4”.
dc.subject Jewish studies
dc.subject Jewish education
dc.title American Jewry at Rick: "A Time to Act" and the Prioritization of Jewish Education
dc.type Article
dc.identifier.doi https://doi.org/10.1007/s12397-016-9167-4


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