As the Reform movement has expanded dramatically in recent years, our desire and need for Jewish literacy and spirituality has grown accordingly, and our educational endeavors have become more and more complex. This expansion and our renewed dedication to the centrality of teaching traditional texts call for a re-evaluation of our entire approach to formal education. If we are to rise to the challenge of shaping a Reform Jewish education for American Jewish youth in the twenty-first century, we need significant data on the present condition of Jewish education.
Before we map out our needs in fields such as teacher training, instructional materials, curriculum, and methodology, we must summarize the educational condition of a movement which today encompasses widespread diversity. The present survey of Jewish education in the Reform movement - the first undertaken for many years and the broadest in scope ever to be undertaken - is a step in this direction by providing us with a necessary tool for self-evaluation.
This first summary of the UAHC education survey is mainly comprised of quantitative data. The evaluation of the qualitative data also garnered in the survey is still in process. When our study is complete, the scope of formal Jewish schooling in our movement today will be clearer. But as you study these pages you will see many issues, concerns, and variables already revealed through the tables, as well as in the analysis contained here. Though the survey certainly indicates areas that need improvement, it also shows the basic health and vitality of formal Reform Jewish education today. Indeed, our strong dedication to Jewish education is evident on every page, as is the willingness of the Reform movement to engage in such an intensive self-examination.