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March 2024

Pedagogy of Farbrengen

Hashliach Peretz Chein
M54: Chief Strategy Office/Chabad of Brandeis: Executive Director
The Chasidic tradition of farbrengen and the practice of avoda pnimit offer meaning to the modern-day learner.

An important goal of education is for students to take what they learn outside of the typical educational encounter. The educator may be teaching a text or skill and focusing on ensuring the student grasps the content, yet the goal is for the student to carry the content outside of the classroom and into the distant future. The proudest moment every teacher has is when a student approaches them years or decades later and shares how the lesson taught in their classroom still guides them in their lives. This happens when the students internalize the idea to the point of making it their own. This occurs through insourcing the idea, avoda pnimit — inner work — and a farbrengen is one such arena in which that can happen. A farbrengen is Yiddish for a gathering of people and can be traced to the German word “verbringen,” meaning to spend time with other people. It is the Chassidic philosophy that the farbrengen allows an individual to do their best inner work within a safe space of like-minded friends who actively listen, humbly respond, and provide new insight from which that person can grow.

Peretz is a co-director and co-founder of the Chabad House at Brandeis University since 2001. In that role he has created innovative educational models, mentored hundreds of students and alumni, and engaged with thousands of students. In 2021 he co-founded M54, an educational startup that shifts the learning content from text to participants' life experiences, resulting in increased agency and vibrancy. He also launched two startups in the event organizing and fundraising space. Peretz studied in multiple Yeshivot including in Israel, Paris, and Melbourne, and speaks four languages. He currently lives in Waltham, MA with his wife Chanie and six children.


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