I am honored and humbled to be writing this reflection at the start of my tenure as Executive Director of The Covenant Foundation. I am also deeply aware of the responsibility I hold-- to the Foundation, its work, and to all those engaged in the field of Jewish education.
Our world is in a very fragile place, and we send this volume of Sight Line out knowing that many of us are preoccupied with political and social unrest. My hope is that by sharing the inspiring work of our newest cohort of grantees, as well as the teachings of several other educators and writers that you will find in these pages, we can foster hope both within the field, and our community at large.
One way that we attempt to foster hope at the Foundation is through an ongoing commitment to nurture and support our grantees, Award recipients, Pomegranate Prize recipients and colleagues. Through our Project Directors Meetings, Pomegranate Prize Seminars, and other learning opportunities, we engage with each member of our community and attempt to provide emotional sustenance through meaningful conversation, professional development, engagement with the arts and much needed sharing and reflecting. We believe this helps to create the conditions necessary for professionals to take risks and seize opportunities – to dream audacious dreams.
As you peruse this volume, you’ll see the fruition of this kind of dreaming. Each new grant in this cycle creates a space where Jews of all backgrounds will feel welcome. Some grantees use the arts and Jewish wisdom texts as vehicles for healing, while others concentrate on personal and communal renewal. Several of our new grantees are creating community where none existed before.
Inside these pages you will also find an extensive interview with science writer Annie Murphy Paul, whose latest book, The Extended Mind, explores teachings about how we can embody intelligence more fully by joining together for productive, meaningful experiences. There’s a new podcast to check out, book recommendations from our friends at The Jewish Book Council, stories from the archives, and more.
Find yourself a quiet spot and take your time reading through this volume of Sight Line. We hope in some small way, it nurtures your spirit.
And please join me in praying for the healing of our world-- and most specifically to all the families in harm’s way in Ukraine.
By Joni Blinderman, for The Covenant Foundation