Would you like innovative interactive Jewish educator resources on tefillah (prayer) and Jewish children iPhone and iPad applications to inspire your 21st Century children to talk to God?
When we attended the North American Jewish day school conference in Atlanta in January, one of the talks was entitled ‘Tefillah – The Vietnam of Jewish Education’. In all the sessions it was very clear there is a need right now for content relevant to children age 6-12 in interactive digital and engaging content, on the spiritual, philosophical and practical elements of prayer.
We returned to South Africa and we were inspired to create resources for Jewish children on the topic of prayer. Wow, what a big challenge! The challenge begins when trying to explain a very deep and intricate subject in a simple manner still driving the point home.
A 21st Century child can access any kind of information they want. In essence they themselves are the leaders of their own education. The role of the teacher can shift towards facilitator, mentorship and inspiration. My goal is to inspire teachers to be able to inspire students as well as inspiring children themselves. Part of inspiring children, besides innovative, inspiring, well planned and thought out curriculum, is using cutting-edge technology as our delivery of content.
When we teach Tefillah (prayer) – what are we trying to teach children? Is it purely teaching them to mumble some words? Are the how’s and what’s the most important component of prayer? What about the why’s? Can we help children understand the concept of talking to God? Can we help children create a relationship with God? What else does prayer teach us about life? What is the purpose of prayer? And then we cover: What is the history of prayer? What are the prayers and what do they mean? Is prayer a means of being part of a conversation in time? Then let us teach the actual prayer. An interactive siddur? iPad and tablet apps that are value-based, interactive and fun? Engaging in the concept of prayer. Virtually travelling to a synagogue in Spain and experiencing it as it was then, taking a tour to the Kotel and being woken up by a shofar, evoking the feeling and experience of community that children globally may not have access to.
When we wake up in the morning we say modeh ani – a prayer to say thank you to God for returning our soul to us in the morning. In essence we can teach the concept of gratitude to children. How do we teach gratitude to a generation that experiences immediate gratification and has an attitude of entitlement? This is an example of how we can teach different values using prayer as spring board for discussion.
Please comment below or email [email protected] and tell us how you would like an interactive curriculum on Tefillah to look. We will bring out a resource for educators, teaching units for use in class as an interactive whiteboard resource or for children to navigate at their own pace. This will be reinforced by a digital homework app or project for students. We have great and innovative ideas but it is you, our educators and students that we want to partner with to create unbelievable resources and tools!!