News and Media M²’s inaugural summit recap: Reimagining the possibilities of Jewish education

M²’s inaugural summit recap: Reimagining the possibilities of Jewish education

M2’s inaugural summit recap
What should a Jewish person know, care about, and be able to do – and how do these essential elements of Jewish life drive our work as educators?

On June 13-15, 2023, M² brought together over 100 influential Jewish educators from around the world to answer these critical questions during 18×18, a three-day summit in Pearl River, New York.

The invitation-only event was a laboratory for attendees to examine their educational visions and develop dynamic, goal-oriented plans for themselves and their organizations using the 18×18 Educational Dimensions for Jewish Life – a framework that offers 18 distinct ways for how engaged Jewish adults might experience, celebrate, observe, express, and participate in Jewish life.

Over three meaningful days, educators immersed themselves in the multifaceted 18×18 Dimensions. They explored the framework itself — sharing what resonates and what doesn’t, and grappling with how they might adapt it for their learners, and then dove into each particular dimension during morning “stretches,” deep dives, and exploratory workshops.

The 25+ sessions provided ample space for expansion and possibility. They ranged from high-energy studies on the writings of Maimonides, Heschel, and Nachman to tackling “imposter syndrome” with lessons from Jewish history, and from tapping into spiritual strength to combat racism to investigating the spiritual and cultural significance of olive oil. Participants connected with the majesty of nature on reverent walks in the woods, honed their educational vision during guided meditations, and celebrated the beauty and diversity of Jewish life with an evening of performing arts and culture.

Attendees expressed their enthusiasm for the summit and its impact on their professional and personal lives. Pete Shevenell, COO of Lost Tribe, said, “This powerful learning experience filled my cup both professionally and personally. It was great to see the enthusiasm for 18×18 across a broad range of educators. That speaks to the validity of the initial concept, as well as how brilliantly M² has evolved and enriched the original idea, and the clarity and depth of thought behind how they showcased it.”

Liz Levin, Jewish Experiential Educator at JCC Greater Boston, commended the summit’s speakers and facilitators, who shared new perspectives and inspiration to bring back to her learners.

Liz said, “I especially valued that discussions focused on desired outcomes and needs, so that we could truly collaborate without becoming bogged down in specific programmatic logistics. My colleagues have remarked on how energized I am since returning from the 18×18 Summit. I have a renewed enthusiasm for the possibilities of my work.”

In evaluation forms, participants highlighted the intentionality and thoughtfulness behind M²‘s design. One participant wrote, “M² set the bar high for Jewish education at its best.”

M² is grateful to the Maimonides Fund, which has been a committed and generous partner in the development of the 18×18 Educational Dimensions for Jewish Life and the creation of the 18×18 Summit.

Read the press release and explore the 18×18 Summit landing page for more details.

Photo credit: Zorz Studios