Areas of Study


Jewish Leadership Development

leadershipdevelopmentOne who studies Torah in order to teach is granted the ability to study and to teach. One who studies in order to ‘do’ is granted the ability to study, to teach, to observe, and to do.”  Mishnah, Pirkei Avot 4:6.

Leadership is not comprised of a set of skills or tools, but is the result of responding to a call. JECELI takes the stance that, for leaders in Jewish early childhood education, responding to such a call requires a grounding in Jewish learning, reflective practice, and community building. With this foundation, leadership methods have meaning, and can be used to meet goals that emerge from followers as well as the leader her/himself. Social problems that arise in professional communities become opportunities rather than obstacles, and the group can become stronger even more intentional. The organization of JECELI itself is transparent, so that the leadership skills, knowledge, and processes employed are made explicit, and can be used by participants to develop community in their own programs.

Jewish Learning through Text Study

learningdial“Just as a plant reproduces and multiplies, so words of Torah reproduce and multiply.” Talmud Bavli, Hagigah 3b

JECELI perspectives on personhood, relationships, learning, reflection, community and leadership are drawn directly from Jewish tradition. These perspectives are discovered through the shared investigation of texts, and through dialogue about their potential meanings. The processes of exploration and discussion yield both the content and processes on which JECELI is founded.

Reflective Practice in a Jewish Social Context

refprac“In the world to come they will not ask me, ‘Zusya, why were you not Moses?’ They will ask me, ‘Zusya, why were you not Zusya?’” Reb Zusya of Hanipoli

Reflective practice builds the desire for intentionality in the teaching/learning process. JECELI Fellows work with mentors and their colleagues as they encounter new ideas and experiment with them in their programs. They have continuous opportunities for dialogue and reflection, increasing their awareness of their own strengths and areas of interest. Each Fellow is encouraged to use this approach in order to continue generative learning beyond the end of the program, and to encourage reflective practice in those they lead.

Jewish Community Building

“Why is learning compared to a fire? Just as a fire burns stronger with many chips than with a single chip…. So too, the Torah grows stronger when studied by many students together than by one alone.”  Talmud Bavli, Tractate Taanit, 7a

Community is created when members take the time to build relationships through listening, sharing ultimate concerns, and problem-solving through dialogue. In JECELI, this process includes Jewish study and discussion, demonstrations of methods of practice that allow for the formation of close professional bonds, and negotiating the challenges inherent in such efforts. Fellows share a sense of belonging through their shared experiences, and know what it feels like to be a part of a genuine community. It is expected that they will seek out ways to create community in their own programs, including staff members and families.