Aryeh Ben David was a senior educator at an advanced institution of Jewish learning. After 20 years of teaching Jewish texts, he realized he was struggling to engage students with traditional Jewish wisdom in a way that would also foster personal connection, meaning, and relevance. This led to the development of Soulful Education and the creation of Ayeka. Founded in 2006, Ayeka gives teachers of Jewish wisdom the pedagogical tools to engage students’ deeper Jewish and spiritual identities while teaching Torah of all forms.
Jewish education is traditionally content-focused and delivered from mind-to-mind, conveying information cerebrally — the more information, the better. Quality of education is generally measured by how much and how well a student knows the subject matter — instead of whether a student is excited about the learning, feels the learning reaching his/her soul, and impacting his/her everyday life.
Ayeka affirms that the goal of learning Jewish wisdom is not solely to become a more knowledgeable or smarter person. The larger goal of learning Jewish wisdom is to affect and change us, to enable us to become better people, living in the image of God. To do this, we need opportunities to acquire Jewish knowledge in such a way that it not only enters our minds, but also reaches our hearts and everyday lives.
“Ayeka”, which means “Where are you?”, was created to provide this opportunity. Ayeka’s Soulful Education Training Program is geared towards rabbis, educators, and individual learners from every denomination who want more; who want a method of teaching traditional Jewish wisdom that goes deeper and leaves a lasting impact.
The greater message of Ayeka is really about how to be with people in an intimate, real way, and what results can be achieved with that way of being: communicating powerfully by evoking our hearts and souls, building and maintaining authentic relationships, making an impact on the lives of others, having others see their own greatness and supporting them in acting on that. – Participant, Miami RCA Ayeka Training Day