A Philosophy of Havruta: Understanding and Teaching the Art of Text Study in Pairs (Jewish Identities in Post-Modern Society)

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9781618112903: A Philosophy of Havruta: Understanding and Teaching the Art of Text Study in Pairs (Jewish Identities in Post-Modern Society)

No longer confined to traditional institutions devoted to Talmudic studies, havruta work, or the practice of students studying materials in pairs, has become a relatively widespread phenomenon across denominational and educational settings of Jewish learning. However, until now there has been little discussion of what havruta text study entails and how it might be conceptualized and taught. This book breaks new ground from two perspectives: by offering a model of havruta text study situated in broader theories of interpretation and learning, and by treating havruta text study as composed of textual, interpersonal and intra-personal practices which can be taught and learned. We lay out the conceptual foundations of our approach and provide examples of their pedagogical implementation for the teaching of havruta text study. Included are illustrative lesson plans, teachers' notes and students' reflections, exercises for students, and other instructional materials for teaching core concepts and practices.

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About the Author:

Elie Holzer is a practice-oriented philosopher of Jewish education. His research integrates text-based Jewish studies, philosophical hermeneutics, pedagogy and ethical-spiritual traditions. He serves as a Senior Lecturer at the School of Education at Bar-Ilan University in Israel, co-designed the Beit Midrash for Teachers at Brandeis University in the years 2003-2008, and has taught in various academic and vocational institutions in both Israel and the United States. He has published a number of research articles on text based learning and on havruta learning and serves as assistant editor of the International Journal of Jewish Education Research.

Orit Kent is a Senior Research Associate at the Mandel Center for Studies in Jewish Education at Brandeis University, where she also teaches in the DeLeT/MAT program. Orit co-designed the Beit Midrash for Teachers at Brandeis and has taught in it since 2003, where she has developed an approach to the teaching of havruta and the close study of student learning. At the Mandel Center, Orit conducts research on collaborative learning and pedagogical approaches to the teaching of texts and draws on her research to help teachers create rich learning environments.

Review:

A Philosophy of Havruta is an extraordinary accomplishment. Sophisticated and insightful, this book investigates a classic Jewish pedagogy in a way that both unpacks its theory and gives assistance to practitioners. A Philosophy of Havruta is a landmark study for scholars, for curriculum planners, and for classroom teachers. It will be an essential resource for years to come. --Barry W. Holtz, Theodore and Florence Baumritter Professor of Jewish Education at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America

The traditional Jewish practice of learning in havruta has the potential to enrich both Jewish and general education, and the phrase "havruta-learning" is becoming increasingly popular. Unfortunately, it is also rapidly becoming an empty slogan associated with self-congratulatory but often thoughtless educational activities. This makes Holzer and Kent's discussion of the nature, value, optimal forms and pre-conditions of havruta-learning very timely. Their first-hand experience with this practice as participants, guides, and researchers and the nuanced philosophical, educational, and Jewish lenses that animate their discussion give rise to a must-read book for theorists and practitioners who seek to develop a deep, conceptually rich, practice-relevant understanding of havruta-learning. --Daniel Perkarsky

Havruta study is the signature pedagogy of traditional Jewish learning. The unique scholarly passion of Elie Holzer and Orit Kent for many years, no one understands this form of peer learning as deeply. This is an elegant culmination of their joint philosophical and empirical efforts. --Lee S. Shulman, President Emeritus, The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching

The traditional Jewish practice of learning in havruta has the potential to enrich both Jewish and general education, and the phrase havruta-learning is becoming increasingly popular. Unfortunately, it is also rapidly becoming an empty slogan associated with self-congratulatory but often thoughtless educational activities. This makes Holzer and Kent's discussion of the nature, value, optimal forms and pre-conditions of havruta-learning very timely. Their first-hand experience with this practice as participants, guides, and researchers and the nuanced philosophical, educational, and Jewish lenses that animate their discussion give rise to a must-read book for theorists and practitioners who seek to develop a deep, conceptually rich, practice-relevant understanding of havruta-learning. --Daniel Perkarsky

Havruta study is the signature pedagogy of traditional Jewish learning. The unique scholarly passion of Elie Holzer and Orit Kent for many years, no one understands this form of peer learning as deeply. This is an elegant culmination of their joint philosophical and empirical efforts. --Lee S. Shulman, President Emeritus, The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching

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