Using Steadfast Hope: Christian-Jewish Allies of Greater Philadelphia
Christian-Jewish Allies of Greater Philadelphia – Steadfast Hope
Since its inception in November 2009, Christian-Jewish Allies of Greater Philadelphia has successfully taught Steadfast Hope at nine local churches. Each course is taught by a team of 5-8 actively engaged members of Christian-Jewish Allies. Teaching-teams of Christians and Jews offer participants a unique and impactful educational environment. Improving as we go, CJAllies has taken the core Steadfast Hope curriculum and enhanced it with supplemental materials to create a content-rich, 8-week learning experience. Throughout the course, we incorporate adult education methods which allow ample time for participants to discuss and process the material. The last class is spent helping participants identify
appropriate next steps and commit to individual and communal action.
To ensure quality and consistency across courses and teaching teams, CJAllies has developed a resource manual for our instructors. This document identifies responsibilities of teaching team members, contains checklists of things to do before, during, and after each course, and provides a “tool kit” of resources for teachers to use. All CJAllies teachers have been trained in these best practices, and new teachers are brought on board through an apprentice program which allows them to become familiar with our best practices.
Some of Christian-Jewish Allies’ best practices include:
- Have a full teaching-team meeting before the course begins. In order to ensure a smooth flowing
learning experience, ALL teachers need to be on the same page. Without this kind of
on-boarding meeting, courses can become disjointed presentations by a string of presenters.
- Strongly encourage 8-week courses. We’ve taught 4-week and 6-week courses and they simply
don’t allow enough time to cover the material.
- Provide a 3-ring binder for the participants. Before the first class the binder is pre-loaded with 8
dividers tabs (one for each week), a one-page course outline, course objectives, teaching team
bios, a bibliography and resource list, and course expectations and guidelines. As the course
progresses, participants add other handouts as they are received.
- Display a simple poster-sized map at the front of the room. It has been our experience that
participants need repeated refreshers on basic geography of Israel/Palestine.
- Designate a point-person at the hosting church. There needs to be someone at the church to be
the cheerleader for the course, recruit participants, and see to A/V needs.
- Conduct a course evaluation with participants and a teaching team debrief after the course. Ask
participants what went well and what didn’t. Take time as a team to learn and improve.
In order to avoid reinventing the wheel with each course, Christian-Jewish Allies stores, shares and reuses
documents and lesson plans from previous Steadfast Hope courses. Using Dropbox (a free online
document storage and sharing tool) we provide a tool kit for instructors. This tool kit includes items
such as a sample course announcement, the standard course outline, course objectives, re-usable
handouts, teacher’s notes from prior presentations, video clips, and a course evaluation form.
Christian-Jewish Allies is committed to continuing to teach Steadfast Hope. While it is a lot of work to
prepare and present each course, we are convinced that it is time well spent. Witnessing attitudes
change over the duration of the course and sharing the experience of an “ah-ha” moment of deeper
understanding is so gratifying that CJAllies has made teaching Steadfast Hope a top priority.
Wini Wolff & Susan Landau
Christian-Jewish Allies of Greater Philadelphia
Steadfast Hope Best Practices