Category Archives: Curriculum Design

Reimagining religious education with new approaches for interfaith and interspiritual perspectives.

How to Teach Religion Today – With Purim as an Example

photo of poster called Spring Rules!Matt, the Jewish father in an interfaith family with two young girls, shared with me this story:
His mother, the girls’ Jewish grandmother, asked if he would raise the girls Jewish. “Yes,” he said, “but it won’t look like the Jewish I was raised with, or the Jewish you, Mom, were raised with. It will look like the Jewish they will be raised with.”

Now more than ever we need models for teaching religion to today’s youth in ways that lay the foundation for a new form of religious identity in a safe, loving, and just world. And I mean World. Education is no longer a singular ethnic communal concern. Today we must consider how we fit with others on our shared planet. How are we —the grown ups in the room— supposed to do that?

Religious and secular educators need good examples of lessons that work. Continue reading How to Teach Religion Today – With Purim as an Example

photo of Diane with her poster at the REA conference 2016

Seriously — Imaginary Sorrow (Obama) and Real Hope (REA)

What would Obama say as Americans vote today? Watch this! You may find yourself, like me, playing it over and over. The words and their sorrow may be imaginary but they point us towards real hope. More than a captivating and inspiring song, this lamentation challenges our soul as a nation. When the election is over, may we all rise higher.

But how did we sink so low?

To answer that question, let me share a few notes from attending the REA Conference in Pittsburgh where I met Religion Educators from around the world including Belgium, Germany, Austria, England, Spain, Turkey, Nigeria, Canada, Israel, Australia, and the United States. Continue reading Seriously — Imaginary Sorrow (Obama) and Real Hope (REA)

If You Meet a Religious Leader on the Road…

bicycle riders over a bridgeIf you meet a religious leader on the road… and they tell you their congregation is shrinking… and youth enrollment is down… and you suggest they include an interfaith perspective in their religious school program, that leader will probably dismiss your suggestion without another thought. At least, this has been my experience. Why do so many clergy resist teaching interfaith perspectives to youth at a time when church/synagogue attendance is at an all-time low with nearly one in three Americans under age 35 identifying as spiritual but not religious? The clergy I have encountered typically give one or all of the following reasons:
Continue reading If You Meet a Religious Leader on the Road…

Listen: Becoming a New Kind of Religion Teacher

Challenges1How do we become ourselves?

(and not who our parents, principals, preachers, or presidents tell us to be?)   

The 18th century Rabbi Zusya of Anapoli, said he feared that when he died, the angels would ask not “Why weren’t you more like Moses?” but “Why weren’t you more like Zusya?”    

Contemporary Quaker educator, Parker Palmer, gives this advice:
Continue reading Listen: Becoming a New Kind of Religion Teacher

Religious Schools Teaching More Than One Religion?

cover of the both, Being Both by Susan Katz MillerBeing Both: Embracing Two Religions in One Interfaith Family, by Susan Katz Miller, is a preview of how everyone’s ideas about religion may be significantly influenced as a direct result of intermarriage. And while not all intermarried families choose to raise their children with both parent’s religion, the experience of those who do is well worth a look.

Being Both sheds light on why an increasing number of families choose to practice two religions and how they do it. Continue reading Religious Schools Teaching More Than One Religion?

Interfaith Matters

Lauren Zinn lecturing in Toronto about responsible religion for a global culture.

Dear Parents,

I’m energized from presenting the model of interfaith education, Teaching Responsible Religion for an Interfaith World, that I developed while teaching your children! 🙂, to a welcoming audience at NAIN (North American Interfaith Network) hosted at The University of Toronto, August 11-14, 2013.  If I had any doubts about my devotion to developing a Jewish-Interfaith program, i.e., the Hebrew Play Group through ZinnHouse, they quickly evaporated among interfaith enthusiasts! Continue reading Interfaith Matters