If your school or organization is interested in incorporating TSVS into its curriculum please contact RabbiGordon@TeamSpiritInstitute.org.
Jewish educators are always looking for creative, engaging ways to provide ongoing Jewish education – particularly during the challenging tween and teen years — when “formal” classroom Jewish education enrollment begins to decline (often termed “Post Bar/Bat Mitzvah Syndrome”), as youth begin to seek a more social/recreation means of involvement in the Jewish community. The Team Spirit Value Series ([TSVS] also known as the PRAY BALL Value Series (PBVS)] is a collection of fun, age-appropriate activities designed to not only enhance day school curriculum, but to capture the interest of youth who are not enrolled in day schools as they mature, keeping them firmly rooted in learning and practicing Jewish values, history and traditions long-term.
TSVS does this through interesting parallels drawn between modern sports figures and historic Jewish heroes. Themes – such as teamwork, leadership, sportsmanship and perseverance – are discussed in the different units of this series.
Both comprehensive and highly adaptable to suit most any Jewish educational environment, TSVS is user-friendly for teachers, coaches and other instructors/counselors. Additionally, TSVS group activities are complemented by “homework” assignments for students and their parents/family to work on together, allowing for easy and ongoing reinforcement/practice of its lessons in the home.
In its current form, TSVS can be utilized to enhance Jewish day schools’ physical education programs and sports teams, Hebrew schools and other educational institutions (primary and secondary grades). Additionally, TSVS can infuse/reinforce Jewish values and other lessons into specialty/extra-curricular programs offered through community centers, youth groups, park programs and summer (day and overnight) camps.
TSVS has been successfully piloted in day camp, day school, sports clinic, and Jewish community center settings. Although the curriculum is ideally designed to appeal to youth ages 12-18, TSVS has positively impacted children as young as five years old as well!
TSI has identified the following goals of the Team Spirit Value Series:
(1) To strengthen the Jewish identity of unaffiliated and under-affiliated Jewish youth and their families by increasing their knowledge and practice of Jewish values, history and traditions through the medium of sports.
(2) To inspire further involvement of Jewish youth and their families in Jewish community life, and inspire participants to perpetuate Judaism in future generations.
(3) To engage and excite Jewish youth who are already strongly rooted in Judaism (e.g., Jewish day school students) by teaching them how sports can be viewed from a “Jewish perspective.”
(4) To reinforce and expand the Judaic knowledge of Jewish youth (and their families) who are already strongly rooted in Judaism through sharing the sports experience.
(5) To strengthen the Jewish community at-large by building a network of collaborative relationships with Jewish institutions through utilization of the TSVS curriculum.
Team Spirit Institute has been fortunate to receive numerous letters of support from leading educators representing all major Jewish denominations, further underscoring the proven and potential success of the Team Spirit Value Series. This impressive collection of praise and advocacy, combined with those received from educators and parents involved in TSVS pilot programs thus far, provides a powerful and compelling validation of the TSVS curriculum (Please see the TSVS Testimonials link).
Rabbi James M. Gordon, JD, the author of highly-acclaimed PRAY BALL 2!! Spiritual Insights Into Sportsmanship (PB2!!) is currently working on PRAY BALL 2.5: Educational Supplements to PB2!! (PB2.5) While PRAY BALL 2!! will serve as the primary “text” for the Team Spirit Value Series, PB2.5 will enable educators (teachers, coaches, camp counselors, etc.) to easily and effectively convey the numerous lessons in PB2!! to their students (players, campers, JCC participants & students [day & Hebrew school]).
If your school or organization is interested in incorporating the Team Spirit/PRAY BALL! Value Series into its curriculum, then please contact: RabbiGordon@TeamSpiritInstitute.org .
The following are covers from customized TSVS booklets published for various educational organizations in past years.
Click on the thumbnail to enlarge images.