Update from JWA's Institute for Educators
On Sunday afternoon, 23 women and one [brave] man arrived in suburban Boston to spend four days at JWA’s 2011 summer Institute for Educators. The group’s diversity would make any college admissions officer proud: this year’s participants hail from Winnipeg and Toronto, Canada, from Jackson, MS and Marin County, CA, from Greensboro, NC and Whitefish, MT, from Dallas, TX and Queens, NY. They teach pre-schoolers and confirmation classes, work with b’nei mitzvah students and temple sisterhoods, run "Rosh Hodesh: It's a Girl Thing!" groups and family education programs. One is a clinical social worker; four are lapsed lawyers.
It has become a tradition to start the Institute by having each participant tell a story about a personal object connected to a Jewish woman who was, or is, important in her life. It never ceases to amaze—and move—me to hear how rich and revealing these two-minute stories can be. Last night we had not one but two rolling pins, a faded packet of handwritten recipes, a bracelet from Thailand, a photograph discovered only after a mother’s death, and, for the first time, a story about an edible object—blintzes left over from that morning’s breakfast with a beloved grandmother. By the end of the evening, there was no doubt why the title of JWA's Institute is "The Power of Our Stories."
That theme has been evident throughout the Institute. On Monday and Tuesday, Debra Schultz, author of Going South: Jewish Women in the Civil Rights Movement, presented on her work, and on Tuesday oral historian Jayne Guberman interviewed Vicki Gabriner, veteran of the Civil Rights Movement. Brandeis professor Joyce Antler and her daughter comedian Lauren Antler led a discussion after a screening of the JWA-produced documentary Making Trouble.
For more images from the Institute, check out JWA's photos on Flickr.