Michelle Shapiro Abraham

Michelle Shapiro Abraham

Inside Leadership

We’re happy you asked! We are excited to introduce an executive summary highlighting the innovations in our field and offering questions for a guided reflection. Here’s how to use it:

Guide your own reading: As you read each article, these questions can help you to hone in on key concepts (all of us are busy – a little help focusing can always be helpful!) Explore with others: Many of us have youth committees or task forces that are exploring youth education and engagement. These articles and questions can help your committee explore guiding principles, challenge their current... Read More

Jewelry box overflowing with shiny jewelry against the backdrop of a modern bedroom

Three years ago, my family had a large house fire. We lost the top floor of our home and had significant water damage downstairs. It took almost a year to rebuild and for us to return home. I am forever grateful that we all got out and were safe, that the firefighters fought with bravery and courage, and that the damage wasn’t worse.

However, I remember standing at the first Shabbat after the fire, realizing that nothing on my body – from my clothes, to my shoes, to my jewelry, to the cell phone in my pocket – was something I had owned the week before. Like being kicked in the gut...

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Closeup of an adult and a child holding hands

The day after the acts of terror and hate in Charlottesville, my friend and colleague Sara posted the following on Facebook:

My son asked me when he went to camp to write to him via camp email about current events. I don't know what to do. What would you do? I can't support him when he reads what I write, and I don't think that his age group at camp will discuss this.

What followed was a heartbreaking discussion that revealed our shared struggle: How do we help our children understand this world? How do we both protect them and make sure that they are knowledgeable enough...

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Hand holding a sign in the air that reads DO JUSTICE LOVE MERCY WALK PROUDLY

In the early 1980s, I was a camper in the UAHC Camp Swig Hevrah unit. In addition to the usual fun camp activities, this particular unit at camp focused on social justice. Our theme that summer was Soviet Jewry, and during our three weeks, we learned the ins and outs of the issues, heard stories about Soviet Jews, and explored what we could do to make a difference. During the last few days of the session, we traveled to San Francisco to march in solidarity with Soviet Jews, equipped with “Save Soviet Jewry” banners and T-shirts, ready to perform, sing, and make our voices heard.

I...

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Bendy childrens toys in primary colors with cartoony smiling faces

We have been talking a lot about “happiness” in Jewish education lately. Let’s begin by owning that the term “happiness” is challenging. In our vernacular it has a shallow and trivial connotation. As Toni Morrison, speaking to college graduates, said: “I urge you, please don’t settle for happiness. It’s not good enough.”

When we talk about “happiness” as a new thrust for Jewish education, as suggested by Dr. David Bryfman and Dr. Scott Aaron, what are we actually talking about? The scientific field of Positive Psychology uses the term “authentic happiness” or “flourishing” for the...

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