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Makor Chaim: US Educators' Training Program

Makor Chaim has embarked on an ambitious plan to bring our methods and skills to educators around the world. Please see the following videos featuring overseas guests at Makor Chaim:

1) Voyage to the Heart – the  Fuchs Mizrachi Seminar

2) British Educators Visit Makor Chaim

3) Community Leaders from Malaysia & Singapore Visit

Click here to see latest upcoming program!

Lifnai V’lifnim: Vision and Goals

How do we establish a culture of G-d awareness in schools? How do we ensure that the Torah they learn not only impacts their understanding of Judaism but also deepens their spiritual connection with G-d? While Jewish schools around the world often excel at developing students’ abilities to “Do” Judaism- practice mitzvot, study Torah or say the words of Tefillah- they struggle with ways to develop students’ inner world, identity and commitment.

Lifnai V’lifnim believes that achieving these goals requires a more holistic view of the faculty and student experience in schools. While ultimately looking to impact students’ experience of Torah and Tefillah, we seek to do so through development of both students’ and educators’ inner world. If Avodat Hashem is essentially about building a relationship with G-d, we see the development of relationship skills as the building blocks of this connection. These include core skills such as: presence, trust, authentic dialogue, and self-awareness. 

Our work engages participants at all levels of the school system in a process of mutually reinforcing activity. We seek to: 

  1. : Engage educators in a dynamic process of personal religious growth within the framework of their work. To inspire their students to connect with G-d, they must feel connected in their own avodat Hashem. Through exploring their own experience of Torah, tefillah, mitzvot and bein adam l’chaveiro they will be able to articulate their own inner world so that, in turn, they can help students articulate their own. 
  • : Develop the strength of chaburah, the group, in creating a sense of belonging while supporting and challenging individuals in their process of growth. By building a culture of empathetic listening and vulnerability, educators will grow in their self-awareness and dialogue skills as they learn from each others’ experiences. They will then be able to transfer their experience and understanding of working with groups to seeing their classroom as a chaburah as well.  
  • : Empower teachers to foster a parallel culture of avodah and chaburah with their students in the classroom, during extra-curricular programming and through personal conversations. Through class culture building activities, new pedagogic tools and a new lens for curricular choices, teachers will deepen their relationships with students and students’ relationships with each other that allows each person’s’ pnimiyut, inner world, to become a present and powerful part of the learning. 

 By carefully working on deep cultural change with faculty and students we seek to change the way they approach their religious experiences – providing them the language and self knowledge to bring themselves to their experience of G-d. 

For Latest Details on Our Upcoming Programs, Click Here!

School Cohort Program

Current Year – Cohort I – 2021-22

For the 2021-22 academic year, five schools participated in the Lifnai Vlifnim School Cohort Program as Cohort I. The group included Fuchs Mizrachi, Maayanot, Kushner High School, SAR High School and Oakland Hebrew Day School. All the schools designated at least one Cohort facilitator who was typically part of the school administration. These Cohort facilitators (“Manchim”) led regular faculty sessions that modeled the Lifnai Vlfinim approach with teachers, creating a space for their learning. In different ways, each school also brought components of Lifnai Vlifnim to their work with students by dedicating some consistent class time building reflective spaces that pushed students to consider their internal personal and religious growth. 

To support manchim in this this work, Lifnai Vlifnim staff provided: 

Schools implemented the fundamentals ideas of Lifnai Vlifnim in ways that fit their faculty, students and school culture:

Program Leaders

Rav Dov Singer, a leader of the modern Israeli revival of Hassidut, heads the innovative Makor Chaim Yeshiva, founded by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz. In addition to Rabbi Steinsaltz, he counts Rabbis Shagar (Shimon Gershon Rosenberg) and Menachem Fruman as his primary mentors and teachers. Influenced by the Zohar, Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, and other Hassidic thinkers, Rabbi Singer’s unique educational approach is predicated on the development of religious and emotional intelligence. He leads workshops on prayer throughout Israel and the United States, and has also established the Beit Midrash L’Hitchadshut Study Center for Renewal, an adult spiritual outreach program, and Lifnai V’Lifnim, an educators’ training program. He is the author of “Tikon Tefillati” – “Prepare My Prayer”, a popular guide to developing personal prayer skills. Rabbi Singer lives in Tekoa with his wife and ten children.

Yishai Singer has been the director of Makor Chaim’s “Lifnai V’Lifnim” Educator’s Training Program since 2013. In addition, he has been involved in a wide range of on-hands educational instruction in various fields including emotional therapy, drama therapy, group facilitation, playback theater and more. He has taught high school as well as at-risk teenagers. He was awarded the 2017 President’s Outstanding Teacher Award for Special Education. He holds a B. ED. from Herzog College and an “Experienced Therapist” Masters from Tel Chai College. Yishai Singer lives in Tekoa with his wife Rachel and 6 children.

Rabbi Yehuda Chanales was recently appointed Makor Chaim’s USA Educational Director, overseeing the continuous expansion of our US programs. He previously served as the Director of Educational Advancement at the Fuchs Mizrachi School in Beachwood Ohio where he led the school’s pilot partnership with Yeshivat Makor Chaim 2019-2021. He now lives in Teaneck, NJ.