Hope Chernak's Assessment Paper's

Hope Chernak

Kol Yisrael arevim zeh bazeh: All Israel is responsible for one another – Talmud

Name: Hope Chernak
Organization: Temple Shaaray Tefila, New York CityWebsite of Organization: http://www.shaaraytefilanyc.org/

Favorite Place in Israel: Ein Kerem (a neighborhood in southwest Jerusalem)

How has Israel played a part in your personal Jewish identity?
As a child, Israel was a strong component in the development of my Jewish Identity. As a physical place for our people, she holds the story of our Jewish history. As a spiritual place, she holds a strong connection for my love of Judaism and peoplehood. Our homeland shines brightly in my heart and motivates my work as a Jewish Educator.

Who was the educator who most influenced your path to Jewish education?

There are two educators that left their mark on my path to Jewish Education and they are Robin Ledgin Eisenberg and Joanne Barrington Lipshutz.

Describe the effect that they had on you:

Robin was the first educator to say to me when I was working as a counselor at URJ’s Camp Coleman in Cleveland, GA: “hey, you might like doing this as a profession.” She mentored me during my summers on staff at Camp Coleman and encouraged me to tap into my passion for Jewish Education. I loved watching Robin teach the staff every summer during staff orientation and her passion for education permeated throughout the camp. It was addictive and I caught the bug from her! Joanne was my first supervisor when I graduated from undergraduate school. Under her leadership, I learned about Jewish Educational leadership and the “new” life to Jewish Education. Through her hands-on supervision, I was able to see how Jewish Education was changing from the experience I had when I was a student. She took every moment and made it a “teachable” moment for me. Joanne was never too busy to answer a question or share an important lesson or story. I’m forever indebted to her for believing in me and encouraging me to study Jewish Education at HUC-JIR.

If you had the ability to build the landscape of Jewish education, what would it look like?

Jewish Education would incorporate a formal and informal framework. The “classroom” would not be confined to walls of a classroom or a particular methodology. This landscape would be shaped in series of connected events. For example, a discussion about tikkun olam could happen outside in the park followed by a 3 day trip where students experience “hands-on” tikkun olam and connect the concept of tikkun olam from their head to their hands. Students would have the opportunity to then teach about what they experienced so others students could share in the lessons that were learned.

This education landscape would be trendy and fun and full of content. Each student would be able to assist in their own development of their educational path through guidance from an educator and a peer mentor. Students would be encouraged to take their passions from extra-curricular activities and find a way to merge them into their learning and environment.

What are you looking forward to most in the InCiTE Fellowship?

I am looking forward to working with other educators to brainstorm and create innovative projects that will reach and engage more students through meaningful Jewish experiences.