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MIFGASHIM  October 2002

MIFGASHIM October 2002

Subject:

MIFGASHIM

From:

Solly Kaplinski <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

MIFGASHIM LIST <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 7 Oct 2002 22:02:38 +0200

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (179 lines)

MIFGASHIM

October 7 2002
2 Cheshvan 5763
Volume 2:5
Moderator: Solly Kaplinski
The Lookstein Center for Jewish Education
Bar Ilan University

CONTENTS

1. Resource of the Week
Esther Feldman: Director, Information and Technology Services
The Lookstein Center

2. New lesson Hebrew language plans online
Chana German: Executive Co-ordinator, The Virtual Resource Center, The
Lookstein Center

3. How technology enhances effective communication in exemplary schools
A response to Fred Cohen (See MIFGASHIM September 30 2002)
Esther Feldman: Director, Information and Technology Services
The Lookstein Center

4. Can we, and should we, try to transform the foundation of Jewish
identity so that it revolves around the joy and richness of Jewish life,
rather than the tragedies of Jewish history?
A response to Sylvia Abrams (See MIFGASHIM September 15  02)
Zvi Grumet: Helpdesk Co-ordinator, Lookstein Center

-----------------------------------------------------------


CONTENTS

1. Resource of the Week
Esther Feldman: Director, Information and Technology Services
The Lookstein Center

This week's resource: Mikranet is an ambitious project (still in
development) for the study of Bible. This online tool includes concise
encyclopaedic and/or pictorial and/or audio descriptions and explanations of
biblical people, places, animals, plants, concepts, ideas and events. The
site is being developed by an Israeli company and is all in Hebrew.
To see this week's resource go to:

http://www.lookstein.org/resource_week/october2002.htm

or to

http://www.lookstein.org/resource_week.htm and click on October 2002

-----------------------------------------------------------


2. New lesson Hebrew language plans online
Chana German: Executive Co-ordinator, The Virtual Resource Center, The
Lookstein Center


This year, The Lookstein Center will continue to develop Hebrew language
lesson plans for high schools. This week's lesson plan reviews the US
congressional decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

To view the lesson plan, go to

http://www.lookstein.org/lessonplans/jerusalem.htm

or

http://www.lookstein.org/lessonplans/jerusalem.pdf .

A complete list of high school lesson plans can be found at

http://www.lookstein.org/lessonplan7_12.htm

-----------------------------------------------------------

3. How technology enhances effective communication in exemplary schools
A response to Fred Cohen (See MIFGASHIM September 30 02)

Esther Feldman: Director, Information and Technology Services
The Lookstein Center

I enjoyed Fred Cohen's description on how his school integrates technology
into their curriculum. However, I noticed that all his descriptions focused
on integrating technology into the general studies classes. Obviously, they
use communication applications for all their studies, but I'd be interested
in hearing if and how Vancouver Talmud Torah School and other schools use
various computer applications, e.g. multimedia, learning software and
Internet, etc. in Judaic studies classes. I'd also be interested in knowing
if MIFGASHIM members feel that Judaic studies teachers are as comfortable
and as knowledgeable about technology and computers as their general studies
colleagues.

-----------------------------------------------------------


4. Can we, and should we, try to transform the foundation of Jewish
identity so that it revolves around the joy and richness of Jewish life,
rather than the tragedies of Jewish history?
A response to Sylvia Abrams (See MIFGASHIM September 15  02)
Zvi Grumet:  Helpdesk Co-ordinator, The Lookstein Center

Sylvia Abrams takes issue with my concerns about Jewish identity and
experience being forged by negative rather than positive experience (See
also my original article in MIFGASHIM August 25 02)

She suggests I forgot that "Jewish identity formation begins in the home
and pre-school," where the two most commonly observed Jewish practices in
North America are Hanukkah and the Pesah Seder, and she reminds us that the
life cycle is meant to celebrate life (Brit Milah - Bar Mitzvah - Huppah).

The fact that the most widely observed Jewish rituals in North America are
Hanukkah candles and the Pesah Seder is probably due more to their
calendrical coincidence with distinctive Christian holidays than to their
specific celebratory nature. If their happy feeling was the primary factor,
then Purim and Simhat Torah should have been featured prominently along
with the other two. Abrams encourages us to de-emphasize the extended
mourning of the Omer and the three weeks and focus on the other 42 weeks of
the year; yet the reality is that 1/6 of the year is spent in mourning (not
to mention that their timing on the annual calendar is awful!). And I have
not forgotten life cycle events; it's just that they are few and far
between.

That being said, I have little argument with her regarding family life - my
comments were not directed at that component. I am specifically concerned
with communal practice, identity and commemorative events. And while I
fully subscribe to the theory of the notion of a tripartite Jewish identity
(Am Yisrael, Eretz Yisrael, and Torat Yisrael), I believe that the reality
of communal life reveals uncomfortable truths. David Jacobsen (MIFGASHIM
September 30) observes that Yom Hashoah commemorations attract more
participation that Yom HaAtzamut celebrations. It has been frequently noted
that attendance at the Salute to Israel Parade held annually in New York
declined dramatically (the parade route was shortened to give the
appearance of a more crowded observer section), with the notable exception
of those years during which there was a crisis in Israel. And comments at
shiva homes often express the sentiment that people often make excuses for
not attending a simcha, but everyone shows up to a funeral or shiva.

Beyond that are the questions of what the celebration should look like and
whether there are specifically Jewish modes of celebration.
That "sufganiyot have their antecedents in German and Polish deep fried
treats" does not concern me. Let us look, for example, at Purim. In many
communities (who do celebrate Purim) it has degenerated in a frenzy of
wanton drinking and worse, and Simhat Torah is not far behind.

What is it that Jews DO to celebrate? What is it that distinguishes a Bat
Mitzvah party from an early Sweet Sixteen, aside from the requisite D'var
Torah? What kinds of communal celebrations should we design for Yom
HaAtzmaut, or should we just allow it to become a Jewish 4th of July?
(American Independence Day) Finally, can the celebrations that we design
have a multigenerational power of attraction with meaning for participants
of all ages, and the staying power to withstand the test of time?

-----------------------------------------------------------

__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________

The Mifgashim List is a project of
The Rabbi Joseph H. Lookstein Center for Jewish Education in the Diaspora
The School of Education, Bar Ilan University

To leave the list, respond to this message with the word "remove" in the
subject line.
To post a message, please write us at: [log in to unmask]

You can search the archives at
http://listserv.biu.ac.il/archives/mifgashim.html

Check out online educational materials and information on other
Lookstein Center programs on our website at http://www.lookstein.org/.

The website is supported, in part, by a generous grant from the
AviChai Foundation.

Further information may be obtained by writing to: [log in to unmask]

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