5 Things I’ve Learned as JWA’s Twersky Fellow
For the past two years, I’ve been fortunate enough to join the team at the Jewish Women’s Archive as the Twersky Education Fellow. My role is to support Jewish educators in elevating Jewish women’s stories and voices in their teaching. As JWA begins recruiting new fellowship applicants, I’m taking a moment to pause and reflect on a few of the important things I’ve learned.
1. Stories change the world.
Storytelling is what makes us human, and JWA has taught me that educators are, at their core, storytellers. The stories we learn become the stories we tell ourselves to make sense of the world around us. And that’s why it’s so important that we gather and share the stories of Jewish women throughout history—to ensure that their voices and wisdom continue to inform the ways we’re shaping the world today.
2. Jewish educators need support.
JWA conducted a survey of 100 Jewish educators across the country, and the message was clear: Jewish educators need and deserve more support. We heard from Jewish educators who felt overwhelmed, stressed, confused, and burnt out. Navigating the pandemic, hybrid classrooms, unprecedented global events, learning barriers, and so many other challenges, Jewish educators hold a vital role in our communities, but have been consistently under-resourced.
3. Jewish educators are brilliant.
Despite these challenges, Jewish educators in classrooms, day schools, synagogues, youth groups, community programs, and family homes are creating innovative curricula and inspiring our communities to bring Jewish values to life. We’ve heard from public school librarians who use JWA’s blog to teach about writing for social change, Hebrew school students capturing oral histories of mothers and grandmothers through Story Aperture, and so many others.
4. History is very, very alive.
Some may think that an archive simply holds stories of the past, but this fellowship has taught me how alive these stories are today. Based in Minneapolis, I began my role at JWA after a summer full of uprising and organizing in the wake of George Floyd’s murder. Jewish educators were eager for resources on centering the Black Lives Matter movement in their classrooms. Inspired by Jewish women of color on the frontlines, I created a facilitator discussion guide for JWA’s “Black Lives Matter” podcast episode. This resource supports educators in bringing these voices into conversation with Jewish learners, keeping alive the history being made today.
5. Everyone is a teacher and a learner.
I’ve given presentations about JWA’s resources to multiple audiences: Jewish librarians, Hebrew College alumni, synagogue professionals, day school teachers, and more. Through this fellowship, I’ve learned that every one of us falls under the “educator” umbrella. Whether you are leading a Sisterhood event, volunteering at a nursing home, facilitating a youth group event, supporting programs at a summer camp, designing lesson plans, or simply connecting with your family around the dining room table (or Zoom screen), we all have so much to learn from each other when it comes to shaping and sharing Jewish stories together.
In a world rife with oppression and inequity, it is stories of resistance, repair, and community care that move us closer to the change we all deserve. The voices of Jewish women and nonbinary people —including those who are Sephardic, Mizrahi, Black, Indigenous, and/or LGBTQ—have been living and leading these stories for centuries. As we come together to elevate these stories in our communities through shared platforms like JWA, we co-create new stories of Jewish futures filled with love, justice, and collective liberation for all.
Are you an educator passionate about bringing Jewish women’s stories to life? Apply for the 2022 Twersky Education Fellowship by March 7, 2022!
How to cite this page
Marshall, Lucy. "5 Things I’ve Learned as JWA’s Twersky Fellow." 17 February 2022. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on April 1, 2023) <https://jwa.org/blog/twersky-lessons>.