As part of AVI CHAI’s legacy of enduring ideas, we are interested in fostering a discourse in which commitments to Jewish literacy, Jewish religious engagement, Jewish peoplehood, and love of Israel are central. Our goal is to illuminate these ideas, adopt or debate a common language to express them, and celebrate and replicate expressions or enactments of these commitments. To do that, we have developed ELI talks: Inspired Jewish Ideas – short 16-18 minute video talks (modeled on the popular TedTalks), to be posted online and shared widely, as one way to foster such a discourse. ELI stands for Engagement, Literacy and Identity.
ELI talks was launched at the 2012 North American Jewish Day School Conference, where a live studio audience of more than 200 day school leaders had the privilege to hear the following speakers and their talks:
Jewish Educational Leadership with Soul
Leadership is an inherently moral and spiritual endeavor: who a leader is and how a leader leads are deeply connected, and have significant implications for the culture a leader creates. Hear one leader’s efforts from the stance of Jewish learning to achieve religious purposefulness and educational excellence.
Learning Law Young: What Happens When Elementary Schools Teach (Jewish) Law
In elementary school, we teach elementary versions of almost every adult subject — science, math, literature, history, art for example — but not law. Except for Jewish schools, which almost inevitably spend more than a small amount of time teaching Jewish law. How does this affect our children as Jewish adults?
Innovation, Revolution and Tradition
Throughout human civilization and Jewish history, changes in areas such as politics and technology have catalyzed social, economic, political and religious revolutions. Today we are experiencing a communications revolution that rivals many many shifts throughout time, which inevitably impacts Jewish life, identity, community and institutions. How will we respond?
The Eicha Problem: What Jews Really Believe about Antisemitism
A discussion of how both religious and nonreligious Jews unwittingly believe that anti-Semitism is their own fault. Other thinkers have touched on this idea in the past but this discussion will trace the problem back to its theological roots in the Tanakh and then forward through how it appears in modern Jewish culture.
The Unbearable Lightness of Judaism
In today’s world the “Chosen” people have undeniably become a “choosing” people. Personal experience attests to the fact that each of us is confronted with endless variety, multiple demands, and limited time. In response to this sociological challenge, Jewish educators need to create educational landscapes that inspire Jews to choose Judaism and in creating such landscapes we might be tempted to lighten the weight of Jewish tradition.
Owning Israel’s Story: Rejuvenation or Disappearance?
Charlatans, hijackers and versions of history abound. Either we let apathy and ignorance prevail and hasten our demise, or we reclaim our story and invigorate our future. Which will it be?
Each of the presenters, in their own unique way, spoke from their professional work experiences, personal experiences, or Jewish or secular texts. Their knowledge and passion was palpable and the talks were engaging and inspiring.
The videos are available online at ELItalks.org. We hope to eventually have many, many more video talks available online as well.