In 2004, the Temple-Tifereth Israel received a major, multi-year grant to fund an exciting initiative to re-imagine Jewish learning at The Temple. In collaboration with the Jewish Education Center of Cleveland and Siegal College, we worked to shape the future of our Temple, and advance the congregation’s learning programs. The Learning and Leadership Initiative aimed to reach beyond the educational needs of our youngest members, to encompass a multi-generational “congregation of learners.”
A task force of twenty-five Temple members, spanning a range of ages and backgrounds, completed the initial planning and visioning for these learning programs. What emerged were a Vision Statement for learning and the Guiding Principles and the Formative Experiences that support it.
Rather than “tweak” our present structure and programs, we started with fundamentals and began unencumbered—allowing ourselves to think and dream “big.” With this vision-driven process, our aim was to renew and even re-invent synagogue education, while developing the leadership capacity and structures to achieve that goal. Ultimately, we aimed to materially advance Jewish education in a way that would benefit The Temple as well as other congregations.
The planning process concluded in early 2006 and led to the creation of the Temple Learning Council (TLC), a unique partnership of lay leaders, clergy, and professional educators. The TLC is responsible for implementing the Temple’s Vision for learning developed by the initial task force.