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Ayeka for 2

Custom & Craft
Los Angeles, California United States
Leadership team

Eileen Levinson, Founder & Creative Director
Wendy Jackler, Program Manager

Organization website
Prize category
1 – 3 years
Target audience

In today’s super-busy world, most people cannot commit to an ongoing schedule of classes or workshops. Reflective quality conversations are happening less and less.
"Ayeka for 2" wants to give 2 friends the opportunity to engage with Jewish wisdom and have quality conversations – according to their own schedules.
AF2 employs Jewish wisdom, reflective experiential exercises, and directed sharing to evoke meaningful conversations about personal and spiritual growth. All it takes is a friend, a pen, and an hour.

What Jewish wisdom do you use in your work?

"Ayeka for 2" includes sources from: Torah, Prayer Book, Abraham Joshua Heschel, Rav Kook, Ramban, Martin Buber, Rebbe Nachman from Bratslav, and Dr. Eliezer Berkovitz, among others.

Session 6, Forgetting My Soul, includes "MARTIN BUBER, TALES OF THE HASIDIM: THE EARLY MASTERS
Reb Zusya of Hanipol: “In the coming world they will not ask me—Why were you not Moses? They will ask me—Why were you not Zusya?”"

Many other examples can be found in the uploaded module PDF.

How does your program work to make that wisdom accessible and directly applicable to your audience's lives?

Each session begins with Jewish wisdom. First, the texts are studied together by 2 friends. Then, with the aid of trigger questions, they discuss/reflect on what the texts are saying to them personally, right now. Next, through directed writing exercises, they imagine how the ideas of the texts could impact their lives after their session. They give themselves advice regarding how the ideas could be incorporated into their lives in the upcoming week. Then the 2 friends check-in with each other between the sessions to encourage each other to take steps to grow through their learning.

What impact has your program had on your participants?

"Ayeka for 2" is a new permutation of the Ayeka programs we have developed during the last 5 years. The flagship Ayeka program: "Becoming a Soulful Educator" has been thoroughly evaluated by the Rosov Consulting Agency and the Avi Chai Foundation during the last several years. Their results confirm that the Ayeka learning approach has 2 significant effects:
1. Participants both deepen their connection to Jewish learning and feel personally changed.
2. The bonds between the participants is immeasurably deepened through their talking (and listening) very personally, in safe space and confidentiality, to each other. We envision similar results for this track.

What have you learned about applied Jewish wisdom that contributes to your success?

We have learned several principles of education which we apply to our programs:
1. The mind learns differently than the heart. The mind grasps ideas in a flash; the heart takes time to integrate them into life.
2. If people are to authentically personalize the ideas of the texts, they need to have time to be alone with the sources and listen to their inner voice. They need to time to process and then share how they personally relate to the ideas.
3. If the seeds of practical and personal applications of the learning are not sown formally during the session, then because of our incredibly busy and demanding lives, the wisdom will most likely never impact our behavior. The learning structure needs to include post-class integration and behavior.