The Idea School is focused on four core ideals: readiness for the world, passion, inquiry and meaning. 


Readiness for the World:

We define this in two ways, with the first being aspirational: we want students to enter the world ready to live a Jewish and halakhic life, and to know that their religion requires of them to contribute to their own communities and to the world in important ways. How each child chooses to do so will be up to her or him.

We also define this pragmatically: we want students to have the literary, numerical, and computational skills they need to succeed in college and the workplace. Because today’s workplace is so dynamic and the world is a VUCA one -- volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous -- we also think students need to be creative, flexible, and adaptive and know how to collaborate and communicate successfully.



Learning happens when it means something personal to a student. Professor Christopher Emdin of Columbia University engages in what he calls “reality pedagogy,” where he begins learning with where the students are. We not only want to enter the students’ reality; we want to make sure each learning experience relates to student passions and interests.



A key component of our educational model is fostering students’ ability to ask questions that are important to them and to the world. Finding good questions is an art in and of itself, as those at the Right Question Institute will tell you. Of course, our Jewish tradition of asking questions and not being satisfied with one answer provides students with a strong foundation in the art of questioning.



The previous three ideals lead to the most important one: meaning. When learning is student-driven, filled with opportunities for deep exploration, tied to students’ interests and passions, and relevant in the real world, students can derive meaning from it. They can then create connections between themselves, their Judaism, and the world, so that they seek and live a meaningful life.