A new “soulful” approach to Jewish text study is helping Hillel Day School students develop strategies for mindfulness at just the right time, as the world continues to move at a fast pace and mental health challenges are on the rise among youth nationwide.
“We know that social-emotional health informs general health and that it relates to one’s ability to learn,” said Hillel Rabbi David Fain. “Now more than ever, kids need to learn how to be more mindful, how to balance the mind and the soul. We spend a lot of our day focused on the mind, but we get more bang for that buck when we balance it with the soul.”
The approach, developed by Ayeka’s Soulful Education program for Judaic Studies, puts prayer into a larger context, giving students the opportunity, for example, to create an interactive siddur with their own commentary, or to reflect on the Amidah and what it means to them or, when they study forefathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and foremothers Sarah, Rebecca, Leah and Rachel, to consider which three and four people in their own lives they would choose as influential figures.
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