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October 27, 2021 43 min

Rabbi Doctor Judd Kruger Levingston has served as Director of Jewish Studies at Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy in Bryn Mawr, PA since 2009. Before coming to Barrack, he taught and held senior positions at Rebecca and Israel Ivry Prozdor High School Program at The Jewish Theological Seminary, Solomon Schechter High School in NY, Chestnut Hill Academy, and Perelman Jewish Day School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He has published widely on moral development and Jewish education and is the author of Sowing the Seeds of Character: The Moral Education of Adolescents in Public and Private Schools. His forthcoming book, The Moral Case for Play, is based on original research on the vital role of play in character development. He is an avid biker, hiker, and runner.

Gems:

  • John Phillips wrote “the school should teach goodness and knowledge because goodness without knowledge is weak and evil, and knowledge without goodness is dangerous, but combined they form the noblest character.”
  • Elevate the student’s sense of self and identity.
  • Develop an honor code with values, for example: honor, moral courage, kindness, community.
  • Find out what your students and teachers value.
  • We are role models.
  • Informal interactions make schools moral places.
  • Play is an important part of moral, character, and social development.
  • Opposite of play isn’t work, it’s depression.
  • Play uplifts kids’ spirits.
  • Creative play is better than fixed play.
  • Love and care about the kids as learners.
  • Build an environment of trust.
  • Play doesn’t have to be leisure; play is hard work.
  • G-d can play many different roles in our lives.
  • Allow your students to have their voice.
  • Model for students how you wrestle with G-d.
  • Education is leading students beyond their own preconceptions to deeper their understanding.
  • Education is process of developing skills and developing their character.
  • Big transformations happen as kids develop their character and stronger sense of self.
  • Make sure every student has a place and feels like they belong.
  • Teach your students according to their way.
  • Find new approaches to teaching.
  • Treat everyday as the first day of school.
  • Be the adult.
  • Follow the 80-20 rule. If 80% is paying attention-that’s excellent.
  • What you say might not be what they hear.
  • Have Fun!
  • The teacher that teaches best, teaches the least!
  • Encourage students to engage with Torah.
  • You can purchase Rabbi Judd's book here: Sowing the Seeds of Character: The Moral Education of Adolescents in Public and Private Schools.

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