On Sunday morning, December 4, over 50 parents joined their children at Hebrew College for the 2016 edition of “Parents in Prozdor.” From 9:30-1:30 parents attended regular classes (both with and without their teens), went to adults-only mini-sessions taught by Prozdor faculty, and were dazzled by the Prozdor Klezmer band during a 20-minute concert (here are 20 seconds of that).

This was my 14th consecutive Parents in Prozdor and I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that as a teacher it was always my favorite day of the Prozdor year. I’d usually prep a few fun lessons about Chankuah or a controversial topic on Israel and watch with glee as the parents would avidly contribute to the lesson while their children would generally slink further and further down into their seats.

Now, as I reflect on my 6th Parents in Prozdor as director, I still feel the same way. It’s a day we hear wonderful feedback about, a day on which parents get a real taste for what makes the Prozdor experience so unique. It’s no secret that we have here at Prozdor a special community of learning and of learners, and our annual parents’ day allows them to see some the magic as it is happening. In my own classes I was thrilled to have parents in attendance, and after break, when I spoke to both them and other parents, I kept on hearing the same refrain:

“I wish they had these kinds of classes for us.”images

I know why they feel that way. In general, I’m fairly certain that most teens err on the side of UNDER-reporting to their parents about their Prozdor experiences (and probably most of their experiences), so Parents in Prozdor gives them not a peek, but a day-long look, into what actually goes on here on a Sunday. Parents got to participate in podcasting and stained-glass creation, attend Hebrew classes and history classes, learn from the former Boston Globe bureau chief in Jerusalem, and ponder existential and metaphysical questions with our resident Jewish-atheist-humanist-philosopher-educator. Our school is truly a unique one. And our guests know that now more than ever.

Prozdor has been a leader in both the practice of Jewish education and in the thinking about teen learning and engagement for almost 90 years in Greater Boston. As we make our way through the tenth decade of Prozdor, we appreciate our responsibility to be constantly innovating and experimenting on the front lines of Jewish teen education and engagement, and it is our great good fortune to be doing the work that we are doing with the support of our parents and families.

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