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Jewish Educators Responding to October 7th.

Updated: 6 days ago

The events of October 7, 2023, following the Hamas invasion of Israel, are an earthquake for Peoplehood education, shaking the foundations of how Jews understand their relationship to the Jewish People, Israel, the countries and communities in which they live.

In November 2023, we sought to understand how Jewish educators, clergy, and engagement professionals, were grappling with the implications of October 7th.  We learned that these Jewish professionals, who usually rely on words to help their communities, found themselves struggling to make sense of the events.  They reported feeling isolated and confused, seeking clarity, facts, safety, and hope. One respondent said, “Students expect me to have answers, but I feel as lost as they do.” 

Respondents face big questions asked by themselves and their constituents, like, “What should we believe?” and “Why do they hate us?” They emphasize the difficulties in facilitating discussions on traumatic events and the rise in antisemitism.  

Acknowledging the shared trauma in the first months following October 7, we looked at the respondents’ answers to the survey questions to suggest educational strategies going forward. Furthermore, we contend that this event underscores a significant need. Jewish professionals need a framework, both for their professional training and in times of need, for engaging in purposeful educational communication about challenging issues that people experience, including collective traumas. 

This moment is an opportunity for Jewish education to evolve, integrating complex topics into a broader strategy for nurturing Jewish Peoplehood.

The survey was sponsored by M²: The Institute for Experiential Jewish Education and the Jewish Education Project.  The survey was conducted in November 2023 by Research Success Technologies and the Center for Jewish Peoplehood Education. 12 partner organizations facilitated the distribution of the survey, garnered 1,456 responses from Jewish professionals located in 24 countries.

Download the full survey.

Download PDF • 844KB

The Jim Joseph Foundation has commissioned a follow-up survey to be conducted in June/July 2024.

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