As an interesting contrast, in the lobby outside the gallery is a wonderful collection of reproduction and authentic antique Judaica—some of the same objects from an earlier time.
I went with a non-Jewish friend who had an interest in Judaism. In the role of teacher, I realized how much easier and more stimulating it was to talk about Jewish customs with the aid of this wonderful collection of objects. And my friend found that seeing the objects by which customs and rituals are performed made it immeasurably easier to visualize and understand the traditions to which they pertained, unfamiliar as they were to her, as compared to reading or hearing about them.
How much more so, when the student can actually participate in the making of such objects and share in the creative process!
In developing teaching tools that make that process possible, I have drawn on my experience as a Jewish educator in a variety of settings, following a strong belief in hands-on involvement; in the need to create and re-create the materials and experiences of Jewish culture, history and observance, so as to instill in children a feeling of ownership of the ideals and customs of their people.
It is one thing to tell a child he/she has been given a culture, a tradition, which he must learn and follow. This creates an obligation, often perceived as a burden. It is another thing for him to take possession of that tradition by participating in it, by creating it anew for him/herself. This becomes an accomplishment; a source of joy and pride. This is the process we wish to foster with our products.
Ownership of a culture and a history may be a large
concept for a small child, but ownership of a pair of candlesticks, a
kiddush cup, or dreidel is not. Taking possession of a ritual by actively
participating in it means acquiring stock in the culture; one of many
small steps by which we build a positive identity and the motivation to
seek a fuller understanding of ones heritage, and sustain creativity and
growth within it.
As a producer of new educational materials, I value your experience and seek your input. The better I can understand the problems and needs of Jewish educators, the more I can contribute toward meeting those needs. A number of you have generously taken time to tell me what works for you and what doesn’t; what you are looking for and what your ideas are. I would like to hear many more of you.
I want to share with you the principles that guide
my involvement in Jewish education and keep you informed as to new ideas
and products which are in the works here at Dreidelmaker.
Of the over 3,600 schools and organizations on my mailing list covering most all of North America, over half have used our craft kits at one time or another. Each year, about two-thirds of our clients are repeat customers, and the rest are trying my products for the first time. Still, that leaves a lot of folks that have never used our products. So where do the problems lie?
Perhaps the product was useful only once, in a unique
situation. Or possibly it just didn’t “fit” into the
system. Or maybe there was a design flaw which caused some difficulty—certainly
there is room for improvement. This information can only come from you.
By cooperating to create effective and innovative products, we can improve the educational process, and I can expand my catalog offerings to serve you better. Thanks for your help!
|Copyright 2005, Marc Glickman, PO Box 1904, Frederick, MD 21702. Phone/Fax: 301-695-4375|