Personal Choice and Censorship

Rabbi Elisha ben Abuya or Acher: Are there things we should censor from our lives?

[Tractate Hagigah]

Acher, formerly known as Rabbi Elisha ben Abuya, was deemed “other” and excluded from the mainstream Jewish community.  However, when looking at the texts that relate his tale in greater detail it becomes questionable why he felt excluded from the Jewish community and even went so far as to believe that he could never return to the fold.  As educators, we will analyze and unpack this text while addressing the question of whether or not there are approaches, ideas, or genres of teachers whose exclusion may be beneficial to Jewish education.  Are there ideas we should not teach to children?  Are there topics that are best not broached with adults?  Does a person need to be a role model in order to be an effective Jewish educator?   Are there students who “are not a good fit” for the Jewish educational system? In this workshop we will explore these questions through movement exploration, personal reflection and Jewish text study.