From Our Director of Religious Education For Children and Youth 

Dear Congregation, 
This month we will begin undertaking an experiment with a model of religious education that is multigenerational. It feels important to point out that multigenerational religious education is nothing new. I am writing this column during Passover, and I am remembering that Seders are great examples of multigenerational religious education in Jewish communities. Here are some of the things that Seders can teach us about doing religious education in communities made up of all ages: 

Plan for everyone to be at the table Expect plenty of guests. Expect children, each with a different personality, different needs, and/or different kinds of questions. Make sure there is something for everyone. Leave room even for a prophet. 

Repetition is necessary We don’t come to know a story in one telling. We tell the same story, repeat the same rituals year after year. We learn and re-learn the story. We encounter it in new ways at different points in our lives. We may even be changed by its telling, as we newly integrate its meaning. 

Story is at the center Stories are not a sidebar for analysis. There is no analysis, in fact, without stories because stories are simply experiences in narrative or symbolic form. Without these experiences, there is nothing to analyze. 

Ritual gives us structure and symbolism helps us make meaning We are held by both ritual and symbolism. Ritual is how we dwell with the story as it is told. Symbolism can help us find a path through the story to its meanings. 

We honor that we are embodied Our bodies are part of our meaning-making. At a Seder, pillows go on chairs because it is time to tell a story, and we are meant to lean back and soak it in. We even take in the symbolic meaning of the story by the foods we consume. Our bodies make the story alive. It is through our bodies that we come to know the story, to understand it. 

Questions are vital Meaning-making often arises from the questions we ask about the story. Questions are not just expected, but built into the structure and cultivated by everything that we do, that we say, and what is unsaid. 
I look forward to thinking with you more about these things and more as we experiment in the coming two months.