Home Resources A Pedagogy of the 48: Connecting Pirkei Avot, LIfe, and Learning
January 2023

A Pedagogy of the 48: Connecting Pirkei Avot, LIfe, and Learning

Dr. Gila Silverman
Director of Jewish Lifelong Learning
Siegel Lifelong Learning, Case Western Reserve University
This pedagogy invites participants to consider how the 48 different ways of “acquiring Torah” resonates with them

Pirkei Avot 6:6 calls our attention to the many different ways of “acquiring Torah”. It offers multiple starting points for thinking about our experiences, challenges, accomplishments, and wisdoms. How do we connect this ancient wisdom with our own teaching, learning, and living? This pedagogy of the 48 provides a series of questions, compiled in a card deck, each of which invites participants to consider how these 48 paths to learning resonates with them personally and inspires connection, creativity, and reflection.

Gila Silverman is a cultural anthropologist, educator, and writer. She works as Director of Jewish Lifelong Learning at Case Western Reserve University’s Siegal Lifelong Learning Program. Gila holds a BA in Anthropology from Vassar College, a Master’s in Public Health, and a Ph.D. in Sociocultural and Medical Anthropology, both from the University of Arizona. Much of her writing and teaching explores the intersections of religion, spirituality, and healing, with an additional focus on gender and Judaism. Her favorite parts of her current position are being in conversation with scholars and innovators working across the full range of Jewish Studies, and finding ways to make academic scholarship accessible and engaging to adult learners. Gila grew up in the Boston area, lived for many years in Jerusalem and then in Arizona, and now spends most of her time in the suburbs of Cleveland.


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