Walking to learn - Chinuch

As we walk through the omer, I am walking through some ideas that have inspired or guided me as a teacher/ educator/ empowerer and I welcome your thoughts/ additions!
In 2001 I graduated from university and  took a post at the Reform Synagogues of Great Britain (now known as the Movement for Reform Judaism) where my job title was 'Reform Students Chinuch Fieldworker'. In essence I was responsible for informal education with University students but the role also involved lots of pastoral care, travelling, socialising and Shabbat dinners. It was a great Sabbatical role, with fantastic teaching and Jewish opportunities within it, and particularly special about it was the ingenuity of the job title.
Chinuch has the same root as the word Chanukah. Now the etymology of these words and their relationship is somewhat debated (if you'd like to delve into that debate take a look here) but generally we can understand Chanukah to be about dedicating (in this case the Temple). When we use Chinuch we often translate it as education, but implicit in that must come some kind of dedication. If our students are not coming out dedicated to their Judaism in some way, we have failed them, and if we don't know what we ourselves are excited enough about to feel dedicated to it and able to express it to our students, we can't expect them to be Jewishly dedicated. Education in this context is not just about learning facts or being able to repeat rituals, but about engaging and understanding so that in our dedication we give each day new meaning, and our Judaism a future.
While we all want our students to learn and to grow, we have to also remember we need them to be dedicated to and excited about their Judaism. What has been the class you have run that you feel has inspired the most dedication from your students?


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