Here are some of great responses The Jewish Lens' community has to our programs:
“I get to show what I think is important to me. Sometimes people won’t listen to me, but now they do. I also get to take pictures and to do things on the computer, which I like. Finally, I get to have fun and to hang with friends.”
- Michelle, 6th grade, Chabad School Miami, Florida
“I like how [the program] portrays how you should be more respectful for things around you. For example, with nature, if you see litter, you should pick it up. Or you should use a bicycle instead of driving because of pollution. Also, I like how [photographs] can portray to other people what you think. Third, I like using photography to express an idea.”
- Ziv, 7th Grade, Chabad School Miami, Florida
“I decided to do a fun twist off of the prompt my teacher, Morah Carol Greenberg, had given me. My compositions take many different images and combine them to illustrate the prompt. I had much fun working on The Jewish Lens. I used different photo editing programs like photoshop to create the images. I was also able to use my own cameras to take pictures, allowing for more creativity.
The Jewish Lens Project opens ideas to you that you can play with. Unlike many other projects that were dull and I had little interest in, I was much intrigued by the theme of the project.”
- Jason, 7th Grade, North Shore Jewish Center, Port Jefferson Station, New York
"Teaching prayer, Torah, Hebrew, values and Israel to tired, hungry and unmotivated pre-teens late in the afternoon is not always so easy. However, for the past two years The Jewish Lens has given my students a chance to recreate the curriculum in a visceral way. As an example, I recently took a photo of my student’ hands shaping a star of David- fingers touching fingers and another of my boys wearing tallit and tefillin with the leather straps tightly hugging their arms. They couldn’t wait to see the photos of themselves- the good ones and especially the goofs. Or take that fabulous shot that a student took of her father blowing the shofar at our shul’s Tashlich service at the beach with the setting sun in the distance.
Assignments about Tu B’Shevat and our study of the Jewish response to take care of the environment brought in pictures of plastic bags strangling bushes, the Gulf oil spill, global warming, organic farming, water conservation and Lego windmills. Putting the students behind the camera has unlocked their creativity and sharpened their critical thinking skills.
After a long teaching career and many educational strategies later, I feel like I have opened a door and SURPRISE! entered into a new dimension of Jewish education. My thanks to Zion Ozeri for his outstanding photo and text based curriculum and Alisha Goodman, Executive Director, and Karen Jarmon, Educational Director, of The Jewish Lens for their amazing energy, organization and unfailing encouragement.”– Carol Greenberg, North Shore Jewish Center, Port Jefferson Station, New York
"I have never, in all my years seen such an outstanding program. So many connections were made for the students, the material is so professional. There are good curricula out there but The Jewish Lens is heads above the other ones. It touched the students and the whole community on so many levels. Whatever you've done with the curriculum and the professional development for the educators is amazing. Please tell me who is funding this so that I can speak with them about our experience. Your program is "yotir" -- top notch! Thank you!"
- Rabbi Harvey Witman, Temple Isaiah, Stonybrook, New York
“The students presented their stories and photos at the Zion graduation several weeks ago. This was clearly an outstanding learning experience for the students. Each student spoke with enthusiasm showing insight and creativity. It was a pleasure to see their engagement as they integrated their Jewish knowledge with other aspects of their lives and the world around us. Thank you for your continued support of our synagogue and this valuable educational program.”
- Manny London, President, North Shore Jewish Center, Port Jefferson Station, New York
“Sharing The Jewish Lens experience with my students at Manhattan Day School has provided a creative and meaningful rubric to discuss and explore Jewish values. The photographs and curriculum combined provide a comprehensive and exciting map to teach students about photography and engage them in introspective dialogue about their own Jewish values, the meaning of Jewish rituals, and the commonalities and differences amongst Jews throughout the world… The program has thus far provided a vibrant guide for students to look inward at their own Jewish values while sharing a kinship and vision of Jews throughout the world….”
- Leslie Teicher, Teacher, Manhattan Day School, New York
"The Jewish Lens project levels the playing field, giving all students a voice. Students share their work and their ideas. It is giving them opportunities to get to know each other in a venue that is totally new to all students.”– Joy Schandler, Director of Jewish Learning, Temple Beth Am, Pinecrest, Florida
“The pictures spark the student’s interest to learn about other Jews. It enlivens the learning! My students have responded with fascination and surprise to a lot of what they are learning. Also, I think the Judaic texts really enhance the whole program. It sprinkles Jewish learning into something that is cool and interesting to the students.”
- Ali Friedman, Teacher, Solomon Schechter School, New York
“It’s about how we look at images, how we interpret them, and how we make something new. It’s a rejuvenation of Jewish life for the future."
- Shirah Rubin, Former Chair, Art Department, Gann Academy, Waltham, MA
"My son Jake was a student in 7th grade this year at the North Shore Jewish Center in Pt. Jeff Station, NY. He had the benefit of partaking in a new innovative approach called The Jewish Lens. Although not a photographer, Jake really enjoyed bringing in a photo of what we did outside of class to relate it to what he learned at school. Jake is interested in the beauty of nature and the environment. He brought in a picture of our family apple picking. When the picture was taken, we did not know that it would be used a few years later for a project. When Jake started to do the assignment, he went through our pictures that were being sorted for his upcoming Bar- Mitzvah collage and the one he picked hit home. This project inspired him and interested him in a way that normal teaching methods could not. Since he was a Bar Mitzvah in April, he really benefitted from something that would draw him in and keep him interested until April and would encourage him to want to come after April. The best part for the parents, in my opinion, is when we went to the children's moving up ceremony and saw all of the children's perspectives. Keep up the good work!!"
- Heidi B, parent, North Shore Jewish Center, Port Jefferson Station, New York