Mirvis welcomes modern app-roach to learning

By Sandy Rashty, June 2, 2014
Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis and Chana Kanzen Photo: Raphael Igby

Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis and Chana Kanzen Photo: Raphael Igby

Jewish education must not be forced down children’s throats, Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis told Jewish Interactive supporters at the charity’s annual dinner.

“If we’re going to be successful in conveying the principles and values of our faith group to the generations to come, Yiddishkeit must be filled with fun and joy,” Rabbi Mirvis said at the Finchley Synagogue event, which raised £23,000.

“We should never push [Torah learning] down the throats of our children. If that happens, they will reject it.”
He said the Jewish Interactive teaching apps — which the 120 guests had the opportunity to sample using iPads provided at the dinner tables — taught Judaism with “joy, fun and excitement.

“Torah never changes, but there are fresh opportunities for the methodology we use in order to convey this information.” Michael Sobell Sinai School head Robert Leach said Jewish studies had been “reinvigorated” by the non-profit charity. “For many years, Jewish education has trailed behind mainstream education when it comes to resources and teaching tools,” he observed. “The Jewish studies teachers are using the apps and software from Jewish Interactive to [teach] in an exciting, dynamic and very current way. ”

Used by more than 30 Jewish primary and secondary schools, 10 other UK organisations and overseas providers, Jewish Interactive was co-launched in 2012 by teacher Chana Kanzen, its UK director.

“We are facing a crisis in Jewish education,” she said. “Our children have been born into a generation where digital technology will be a permanent feature. Unless we provide outstanding Jewish digital resources, we run the risk that Jewish education will cease to be a prominent feature in their lives.”

Last updated: 11:45am, June 2 2014