How It Works
The Tefilla Project Team can help your school or organization create a strategic Tefilla engagement plan.
For most school subjects and experiences there is an understanding of ‘what excellence looks like.’ In language arts, it could be the organization of an essay, the proper use of grammar, or the critical analysis of a text. For math, the performance of understanding could be the application of a formula, or the solution to word problems. In Chumash, it could be the translation of a text or the decoding of Rashi. In each of these cases, outcomes can be measured against set criteria and the rubrics that are created—meeting, approaching, or exceeding expectations—are used to communicate success.
But what about Tefilla? For those who would say that prayer is part of human DNA, creating a special space and time should be sufficient to engender a spiritual experience. Given the proper setting, this ‘nature over nurture’ approach provides the basic necessities for a spiritually uplifting prayer experience. Indeed in times of crisis or joy, whether personal or communal, כל עצמותי תאמרנה all my bones shall say ‘Who is like You. While some schools have chosen to exclude Tefilla from the formal curriculum and grading, it can be argued that establishing regular times during the school day to allow for each student to “speak to a presence vaster than the unfathomable universe, yet closer to us that we are to ourselves” is part of the school’s sacred mission.
For those who are tasked to created structured Tefilla, the challenge is how to embed a passion for the daily routine of prayer, particularly in settings where the human DNA of prayer has not yet been stirred and spirituality is not a given. There is a need to create a rubric-style approach to Tefilla that goes beyond the externals, can be applied to different settings across denominational lines, and which does not invade the personal space of the individual whose spirituality cannot be subject to outside evaluation. Tefilla engagement success can be evaluated, and The Tefilla Project Team, Rabbi Ariel Tal and Rav Eliot Feldman, have developed a rubric-style evaluation system that helps schools gauge their success, and professionalize the Tefilla engagement experience. The goal of the evaluation and support process is to create a long-term Tefilla engagement plan for the school, for any and all grades, using the six levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy and Critical Thinking of the 21st Century levels of student engagement.
A change in culture, especially when it comes to Tefilla engagement and any spiritual aspect of a Jewish organization, is a delicate balance between meeting the students’ needs, the staff needs and to have full support from the parent body as well. Therefore, our engagement plan is created together with the administration and staff of the school, and even with relevant board members if relevant. It is a thorough process that will be a long-term solution and not just a short-term fix. Real change takes time, a proper process and full support from the holistic supporting cast of the Jewish school or organization.
What We Do
The Tefilla evaluation and support process is a 4 stage process:
- Initial meeting & Intake
- Site Visit & Evaluation of Current Tefilla Engagement
- Professional Development for Staff & Admin
- Webinars, One-on-One Consultations and Follow Up
Initial Meeting & Intake
Our Team will meet with your admin and relevant staff members to do an initial intake about the Tefilla engagement status at your school or organization. Prior to the meeting, we will send you a questionnaire to get the relevant information to make the meeting more efficient. The goal of the meeting is to get to know your organization well, what are your strengths, challenges and areas you seek improvement, and to figure out how The Tefilla Project can best serve your organization, in creating a personalized Tefilla engagement plan.
This meeting is free and with no commitment.
After the meeting, The Tefilla Project will send a proposal of the program we can offer to your organization, and once the program is accepted, we continue to the following steps:
Site Visit & Evaluation of Current Tefilla Engagement
Rav Eliot Feldman, Educational Director of The Tefilla Project, is an experienced educator trainer and facilitator, who has led many Professional Development workshops throughout his illustrious career as a teacher, educational consultant and Head of School. Rav Feldman is available to visit your school or organization in North America to survey the Tefilla in your school, meet with the administrative team, educators and even members of the Board, if relevant, in order to assess the Tefilla engagement status of your school and establish which areas are worth strengthening and should be focused on. At the conclusion of the site visit and after discussion with the relevant staff members, The Tefilla Project will send a professional Tefilla evaluation rubric and will decide together with the school what the best plan of action is.
During the site visit, or shortly thereafter (Depending on circumstance and timeframe), Our Team will offer a professional development seminar on a relevant Tefilla topic, which can include one of the following:
- Setting the stage for engaging Tefilla! Creating the Tefilla environment
- Teaching Tefilla effectively – levels of understanding in Tefilla.
- How to use Tefilla as a Personal Growth Tool
- Differentiation Tefilla engagement – a model for the 21st Century
Generally, Rav Eliot Feldman will be delivering the Professional Development sessions at the school or via Skype.
Webinars, Consultations and Follow Up
The real work starts after the site visit and the Tefilla engagement plan is drafted. Our Team will offer webinars, consultations and follow-up meetings in order to move forward the Tefilla engagement plan established with the school. These include ongoing webinars that are offered through Teachers Training that Rabbi Ariel Tal leads, Rav Feldman’s one-on-one coaching with the teachers, staff members and admin of the school, and general support through email and phone contact. Our Team is here to ensure that the Tefilla engagement plan is implemented in the most effective way, paving the way for a long-term Tefilla engagement plan for the organization.
We are looking forward to working with you!
For initial meeting please email: firstname.lastname@example.org