1. How did you get involved in experiential Jewish education?
Growing up in Israel, I was involved from a very young age - but never really assumed that it would turn into a career. It was only when two of my chanichim were killed in a terror attack in the height of the second Intifada, that I knew that my responsibility towards the rest of my chanichim, who had just lost two of their best friends, extended far beyond a Shabbat or camp activity. I began designing what we called "informal therapy" - using informal education techniques as a means of therapy. Within a year I, along with a group of incredibly passionate and dedicated peers, was working with hundreds of teens from all around Israel. I recognized that the impact of what I was doing did not stem from being a trained therapist. It stemmed the relationships that I learned to form as an experiential Jewish educator.

2. What do you hope to accomplish as the Director of Service Learning and Experiential Education for Yeshiva Universities Center for the Jewish future?
I hope to see many more Jews of all ages and of all backgrounds immersing themselves in issues of social justice and Gmilut Chasadim. 
I hope that the spirit of volunteerism grows and that it becomes more and more authentic - that we learn to see ourselves as agents of change Lishma - and not in a self serving manner. 
I hope that Jews who are involved in acts of kindness recognize that they have a responsibility to learn with great rigor the context for the work that they are doing; and that Jews who are immersed in learning recognize that their learning must translate into acts of kindness.
I hope that the spirit of volunteerism is given the time and place to be reflected upon and internalized - so that it becomes an integral part of Jewish Identity.
Finally - in regards to Experiential Jewish Education - I hope that all of the passionate educators out there, who are doing incredible work in youth movements, camps, campuses and classrooms, recognize that Experiential Jewish Education is not just a passion - it is a profession. I hope that they take advantage of training programs that can help them professionalize their passion - such as the YU Certificate Program in Experiential Jewish Education.

3. What are you most looking forward to at YouthCon?
There are many ways to develop the field of Experiential Jewish Education. One of these ways is by creating conferences that celebrate the uniqueness of the field and create a strong network of professionals. I'm excited that YouthCon is doing exactly that: I look forward to celebrating Experiential Jewish Education with hundreds of like minded professionals.

Shuki is the director of Service Learning and Experiential Education, and previously served as the CJF’s Israel liaison. In his roles at YU he founded the
Certificate Program in Experiential Jewish Education, the Innovators Circle and Counterpoint Israel. He has overseen the explosive growth of YU Service Learning Missions benefitting communities world-wide.
Previously, Shuki worked at the Koby Mandell Foundation were he founded and directed innovative and experiential therapy programs for Israel teens affected by terror.

Visit the website for the Yeshiva University program for Experiential Education: http://www.ejewisheducation.com

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The future and development of a society depends on the quality education that the citizen receives. The effort by various individuals to focus in this field is encouraging and I hope every child will benefit from it. Thanks for your sharing.

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