The Atra-IYUN Teaching Lab:
Building Community Through the Study of Torah
We bring the content and proven methodology, you bring the people and passion.
How do we help someone who's never done Jewish text learning before see themselves as someone who could do regular Jewish learning?
IYUN’s specialty is helping learners develop a love for the study of Torah. Not to master content, or to build fluency, or to understand “what Judaism has to say about…” but to fall in love with Torah.
We use the word Torah to indicate a way of interacting with rabbinic literature that is sacred, inspiring, and even unsettling at times. Reading Torah means opening ourselves up to the text laying a claim to our lives and our behavior. It is an encounter at a deeply personal level as well, as we are studying our people’s covenantal tradition and not that of another. We can still disagree, argue, and protest what we read in rabbinic literature. And, we can creatively turn it on its head with a better reading. All these are options in Torah.
It is this kind of experience into which we invite our learners. It’s a lot like falling in love.
How long is each session geared for?
Each session is roughly 90 minutes. You can tighten or lengthen as you wish or as you need — particularly to adapt for Zoom. As we all know, more than an hour on Zoom is…pretty miserable.
Is the curriculum at all tailored for the group/partner organization, or is it one standard one?
We deliver all IYUN materials (including facilitator’s guides and source sheets) as electronically editable documents. That means you can teach the curriculum as-is, plug and play style, or you can spend time to edit, customize, and curate it however you wish. And we are here along the way to help you think about your unique learners and how to craft the experience to meet their needs.
Curious about how IYUN is handling data - do you want contact info of all participants who end up in a cohort? What kind of data do you ask of partner orgs?
We love this question, because we do collect (some) data, and because we take data security very, very seriously. We ask educators to share with us a list of participants, so we can send them a participant survey at the end of their experience. We will never, ever solicit your people. If you’d like to see our comprehensive Data Reporting FAQ, to learn more, or if you have specific questions at this juncture, just say the word.
How does this approach work with a heterogenous group by age or experience/literacy? In other words, how would this work for an intergenerational cohort or a cohort of both experienced and beginner text learners?
IYUN works beautifully for folks of a similar life stage to connect with one another over the big questions at the heart of their lives. That said, IYUN also works nicely for affinity groups. For example, we have run circles for multigenerational groups of women, which is…pure magic.
As far as text experience goes when building a cohort, there is something very rich about a group made up of folks with varied familiarity with Jewish text. In our experience, the ideal ratio is 30/70 — that is, up to 30% experienced learners and 70% without a formal background. That way, the ‘experienced’ voices don’t dominate the conversation, but they can contribute richly.