More than 50 GCSE RE teachers and professionals from around the country attended a Teaching Judaism conference yesterday at Western Marble Arch Synagogue to learn about all facets of Jewish Life.
Teachers at the seminar, organised by the Board of Deputies of British Jews and Partnership for Jewish Schools, heard introductions by Board of Deputies Vice President Edwin Shuker and PaJeS Executive Director Rabbi David Meyer before listening to an inspirational talk by Western Marble Arch Rabbi Lionel Rosenfeld on the rituals of Judaism in the synagogue.
The session included workshops on Shabbat, the festivals, kashrut, the nature of God, the cycle of life, life after death, the Tanach and Talmud, moral principles, and the concept of the promised land. There was a closing session with educationalist Clive Lawton, the author of GCSE Judaism – the Board of Deputies’ definitive guide for those teaching Judaism at this level. Clive offered the group an insight into the various streams within Judaism, explaining the different theoretical strands. Clive said: “There is so much inaccurate information out there, even in the textbooks specifically produced for the exam boards that this was an invaluable opportunity for hard pressed RE teachers to learn accurately about Judaism, angled towards GCSE syllabuses. It’s one of the things the Board does and has done on our behalf for decades and it’s still essential.”
Following the event, Edwin Shuker said: “Yesterday’s seminar was a wonderful opportunity to provide teachers with the tools to teach about Judaism and ensure that it is taught to the highest possible standard. Learning about living Judaism from outstanding educators and rabbis will help dispel many misunderstandings and prejudice about our community. I would like to thank our partners, the Partnership for Jewish Schools, for all their hard work on this event. The Board of Deputies is now looking at making this an annual event, alternating between the north and south of the country. Next year in Manchester.”
David Meyer said: “PaJeS was proud to have organised such an interesting and informative conference in conjunction with The Board of Deputies. It was wonderful to hear from participating teachers about how useful and inspiring they found the day and the different sessions to be. Many of these educators are teaching Judaism to students who have never encountered the religion before so the day was very important in providing a background to our traditions.”
Photo: Board of Deputies Vice President Edwin Shuker addresses teachers at yesterday’s event
Photographer: Gary Perlmutter