Whereas the National Jewish Population Study reveals that identification with the Jewish religion, observance, the Jewish people and the State of Israel is highest among those with the greatest level of Jewish education;
Whereas the Conservative Movement has been in the forefront of Jewish learning with its system of Solomon Schechter day schools, Camp Ramah, supplementary schools and adult learning programs;
Whereas serious and sustained adult Jewish learning has proven to be effective in creating knowledgeable and engaged observant Jews;
Whereas the Population Study also reveals that students who attended Jewish day school have a 7% rate of intermarriage vs. 43% for those with no Jewish education and that Jewish day schools and camps are the most potent environments for transmitting strong Jewish identities and a sense of community; and
Whereas in the past three decades, the Federation system in North America has increased its support of intensive Jewish educational experiences, most notably allocating increased funding to Jewish day schools in their local communities.
Therefore be it resolved that the Rabbinical Assembly appoint a Special Commission to encourage increasing intensive educational and experiential programs available to Jewish children, teenagers and adults by
- building consortia of Conservative/Masorti synagogues, schools, and communities to provide intense and sophisticated adult education programs such as the Florence Melton Adult Mini-School, and Meah in North America and other Diaspora communities;
- utilizing the excellent Hebrew language faculty in our day schools to teach Hebrew language to the adult Jewish community; and
- the developing of material for the rigorous study of classical Jewish texts for adult learning;
Be it further resolved that the leadership of the Rabbinical Assembly meet with the leaders of the UJC to urge them to restructure their priorities and make Jewish education a top priority for the Jewish community and urge members of the Rabbinical Assembly to urge their federation leaders on the local level to do the same;
Be it further resolved that the Rabbinical Assembly urge local federations in North America and Jewish communities throughout the Diaspora to build upon the creative thinking of philanthropists to provide financial incentives to families to make intensive Jewish educational experiences more widely available.
Passed by the Rabbinical Assembly Plenum, February, 2004