Now what? Ways to get involved!

Posted by Robyn / on 08/02/2011 / 0 Comments

B'ruchim Ha'baim to our Virtual Community members!

OK, you've joined, now what? What's this all about?

Community.  This is a safe space where you can meet and network with other Jewish family education professionals and lay leaders ... seek information, throw a crazy idea out there for some feedback, or just hang out with others in your field.

This is a cooperative effort. Put simply, it's a user-driven community. We're all family educators in one form or another with more than enough work on our to-do list. With many things going on for each of us, there's no one on the back end just pluggin' away generating content for the group.

What can you do here?
Lots of stuff. Here are some key features:  

  • Discussion boards. Want to find new ideas for a new community family engagement program? Looking for partners on a new initiative? This is the place.  Find an article you want to gather opinions on?  Want to post a job opening ... hop on the Discussion page and start a Forum and Topic.
  • File Sharing. Wouldn't it be great if instead of sifting through random release forms or flyers on Google you could find one that was developed by someone in your field?
  • Blog. If you experience anything that makes you just want to rant or rave this is a great place to share stories, write and op-ed or share a perspective on a hot topic.
  • Calendar. Ever wondered why there isn't one place where all the Jewish organizations list their dates for open professional development? Wonder no more. Add to the calendar any event you are hosting or involved in that you believe would be of interest to the larger field.
  • Share Photos.  Want to brag and boast about a great event you hosted ... this is our communal brag book.  (Just be sure you have photo releases for those punim in the pics).
  • Subgroups.  The site has the capability of hosting a small number of subgroups.  One we have created is for people who attend Shevet-sponsored conferences.  If you would like to suggest other subgroups, just let us know!
  • Alerts. (This part is really great.) You can tailor your profile to send you email alerts of just about anything that takes place on the site - when people update their profile, upload files or media, post new discussion threads, post calendar items, and more. You can choose which of these you want to be notified about, and how often (daily, twice a week, etc.) You can do all this under My Settings/My Preferences, it's easy.
  • Search. Want to find out quickly if there's anything on the site about recruitment, without scrolling through blogs or message board posts? Just pop "recruitment" into the search box. Done.

Two things you can do right away:

  1. Update your professional/personal profile (yep, there's both): The usual stuff: basic info, picture (really helpful), enough to make us feel like we know you.  
  2. Spread the word and invite other Jewish family educators to join the site. Any member can invite others; simply go to the site and click "Invite" on the upper right of the menu bar.

Get Involved!
Like most online communities, this is a dynamic entity, and is by no means a finished product. You can help set up a Twitter feed...or help track down national and regional dates for the calendar... or help customize the user profiles... plenty to do. Just say the word.

How did this come about? and Who's behind this?

Jewish family education work isn't the largest field in the world. Even if you happen to work for an organization that's tied to a larger movement, there still hasn't been a centralized, national community of family education professionals. The work can be lonely. This lack of "central address" was recognized by the predecessor organization to Shevet (The Consortium for the Jewish Family).  In January 2010, the faculty got together to discuss the possibilities and opportunities for the field.  At that meeting, when the staff began to discuss using technology to fill the gap, one of the members stepped forward to share a project she had been working on. 

From 2009-2011, Robyn Faintich participated in a fellowship of the Jim Joseph Foundation run by the Lookstein Institute at Bar-Ilan University in Israel. The goal of the fellowship was to train Jewish educators on how to use Web 2.0 and 3.0 technologies to facilitate on-line communities of practice.  

The Consortium faculty quickly agreed to adopt the methodologies Robyn had learned in the fellowship and agreed to allow her to embed it into her fellowship work.  Shortly after that ThinkTank, the Consortium sought funding for the launch of Shevet and support of the virtual community from The Covenant Foundation ... and thus, the two were born. 

The core leadership for the site are:  Rabbi Phil Warmflash (Philadelphia), Lisa Rosenberg (NYC), Jennifer Newfeld (STL), Joel Grishaver (LA), Peter Eckstein (S. Flordia), and Shariee Calderonee (NYC).

Welcome to the community! We look forward to connecting with you online!



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