Morasha expands focus with Web site
Adult ed clearinghouse set to launch
By Deborah Moon
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Morasha: The Jewish Community Education Alliance is expanding its offering in keeping with its mission to enhance adult Jewish education.
Morasha’s newest innovation on the adult education scene is the creation of a Jewish adult education clearinghouse Web site. The new site launches in September at www.jewishedpdx.org with listings of all Jewish adult education opportunities in the greater metro area.
"We’ve come full circle," said Hank Kaplan, who has served on the Morasha board since its creation in 1999 as the successor to the Jewish Education Exploration Committee. "We started with the organizing principle of becoming a clearinghouse for adult Jewish education."
Originally the group catalogued adult education classes, which they published as "The Rav," before turning listings over to the Jewish Review several years ago. Space constraints have limited the amount of information the Review can print on each class in recent years.
After its initial phase of gathering information on adult education available, Morasha narrowed its focus to filling the gap in comprehensive education they discovered. For the past seven years, Morasha has sponsored Portland’s Florence Melton Adult Mini-School, which offers adult Jewish literacy in a two-year program.
"We focused in on community needs we felt should be addressed," said Kaplan. "Now I’d like to see us expand out again into more the clearinghouse model."
This year, Morasha also took the Machar young leadership group under its umbrella. Under the direction of Sara Liebman, Machar has recruited more than 20 young adults to study in Melton and to learn to develop programs for other young adults.
Morasha’s new Web site is its latest effort to expand its reach in the community.
"I would like us to develop an identity as the go-to place for adult Jewish education in the Portland Metro area, be it a federation or synagogue program or a one-shot lecture or ongoing class," said Kaplan.
The new Web site will list ongoing classes, classes lasting a specified period and one-time lectures or classes. A calendar grid will show which classes occur each day and will be identified as either free or for a fee. Adult education programs also will be listed under the sponsoring organization.
Class lists will be updated quarterly. The Web site will also feature a "What’s New" section, which will be updated every other month, to include programs that were not scheduled when the current calendar was created.
The goal of the project is to streamline people’s ability to sign up for adult Jewish education and to give people a sense of what the community has to offer.
"There will be an ‘About Morasha’ page on the Web site that we hope will increase Morasha’s visibility," according to Mimi Epstein, co-president of Morasha with Judith Kahn. "This is just the beginning of Morsaha’s taking on projects that will benefit the community."
Funding for the new Web site was provided by an Impact Innovation Grant from the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland. The $9,000 grant will fund the creation of the site and its operation for five years, after which its effectiveness will be evaluated.