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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:

Sun, 13 Oct 2002 22:36:26 +0200

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (280 lines)

MIFGASHIM

October 13 2002
8 Cheshvan 5763
Volume 2:6
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. From The Virtual Resource Center
Chana German: Executive Co-ordinator, The Virtual Resource Center, The
Lookstein Center

3. Video recordings of Judaic classes required by The Harvard Principals
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 Zvi Grumet
Marie Hamaoui Restler

5. How technology enhances effective communication in exemplary schools
A response to Esther Feldman (See MIFGASHIM September 30 and October 7 2002)
Fred Cohen: Head of Information Technology, Vancouver Talmud Torah School

6. The challenge to American Jewry
Sergio Della Pergola: Professor of the Institute of Contemporary Jewry at
the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and currently at the Oxford Centre for
Hebrew and Jewish Studies
Ha’aretz, October 13 2002

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


CONTENTS

1. Resource of the Week
Esther Feldman: Director, Information and Technology Services
The Lookstein Center [log in to unmask]


This week's Resource of the Week: PBS has developed a comprehensive site to
help students focus on moral and ethical issues in their daily lives. The
site includes video clips of the story, advice from experts, and discussion
questions and forums. It's exciting, well-designed and thought-provoking.
Both teachers and their students will enjoy viewing and using these online
resources!


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. From The Virtual Resource Center
Chana German: Executive Co-ordinator, The Virtual Resource Center, The
Lookstein Center


2.1 Focus on…………..

The Virtual Resource Center is pleased to present a new online
resource. "Focus on..." which presents dilemmas and issues in Israeli
current events and the Parashat Hashavua for class discussion.

This week, the focus is on questions for Parashat Lekh Lekha.

To view this new resource, go to

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


2.2 A new Hebrew Language Lesson Plan

A New Hebrew Language Lesson Plan on the Israeli Nobel Prize Winner can be
found at

www.lookstein.org/lessonplans/nobel.pdf

or

www.lookstein.org/lessonplans/nobel.htm


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

3. Video recordings of Judaic classes required by The Harvard Principals
Center

The Harvard Principals Center is looking to use several video-recordings
of actual Judaic classes in its AVI CHAI-sponsored program for day
school leaders. Scope of the video should include the class as well as
the teacher. This will be a one-time use in a pedagogic context. If a
school, agency, or individual has such tapes available, please contact
Rachel Abrahams at 212-396-8850 or at [log in to unmask]

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


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 Zvi Grumet

Marie Hamaoui Restler

In response to Zvi Grumet’s comments (see MIFGASHIM October 7 02) with
regard to celebrating Bar/BatMitzvahs- it is interesting that this event
marks the period where the child enters adulthood and is held responsible
for his/her actions. This rite of passage is considered by all participants
as a moment of celebration. It is one example of how we define
'celebration' that sets us apart.

I think the question revolves around what is worthy of celebration to Jews.
Each holiday marks significant moments in our history that either link us
closer with our religious values and/or strengthens our ties with our
nationhood.

I believe the aspect of mourning vs. joy is a side bar and is not the
defining characteristic of Jewish 'celebration'.

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


5. How technology enhances effective communication in exemplary schools
A response to Esther Feldman (See MIFGASHIM September 30 and October 7 2002)
Fred Cohen: Head of Information Technology, Vancouver Talmud Torah School

In response to Esther Feldman’s question about whether MIFGASHIM members
feel that Judaic studies teachers are as comfortable and as knowledgeable
about technology and computers as their General Studies colleagues, allow
me to make the following comments:

I don't think it is fair to label Judaic teachers (or General Studies
teachers for that matter) as individual groups that are computer illiterate
or uncomfortable with technology. There are Judaic teachers who enjoy and
use technology often and others that are non-frequent users. The same
phenomena can be seen with General Studies teachers.

I think the issue of computer literacy is connected by and large to the age
of the teacher. Teachers who received their training pre 80's tend to not
have much experience using technology. They are also more set in their ways
and are less willing to learn new computer skills. General Studies teachers
are generally younger than their Judaic counterparts and tend to be more
flexible and adaptable. Furthermore, the younger General Studies teachers
who graduated post 80's were required to use computers to type their
assignments. Their typing skills are generally better and generally, they
have used computers more frequently.

Judaic teachers tend to stay longer in Jewish Day Schools as opposed to
General Studies teachers who are more mobile and open to innovative ideas.
This is not to say that Judaic teachers cannot learn how to appreciate and
use technology. One has to establish a CATCH that will entice teachers to
use technology. In our school the incentive was e - mail. The first thing I
taught our Judaic and General Studies teachers was how to use e - mail.
Even though many teachers did not previously use computers, once they
experienced how easy and fun e -mail was, they were HOOKED. They began to
e - mail their family and friends in Israel, Canada and the US.

Once they mastered e - mail, they began to ask what else the computer could
do for them. The Internet was a big hit, especially with the Judaic
teachers. I showed them how to keep up with news in Israel and how to read
Israeli newspapers.

Using the computer for e- mail and the Internet gave them a sense of
comfort and opened up the door to further technology use. Now our school is
fully computerized. In addition to our computer lab with 30 computers, each
class has a computer. All our report cards i.e. both Judaic and General
Studies are now computerized.

Our teachers have moved from 30% computer literacy to 85% over a 5-year
period.

We also established an innovative Professional Development Plan that helped
to entice our teachers to learn more about computer use. We offered courses
in the school and posted computer courses that were run in the community.
For each hour of course work they completed, they received $15 in their
individual accounts. They were permitted to accumulate a maximum of $500
that had to be designated toward a personal computer or an upgrade to their
existing home computer. We felt that until each teacher had a computer at
home, they would never achieve a level of comfort necessary to continue to
learn new technology. We also offered support for all teachers who required
help. This support was the key to many teachers' success. They were less
fearful of making mistakes, because they knew that someone was always there
to help them.

In summary, both Judaic and General Studies teachers tend to be equally
uncomfortable with technology if they were not “brought up” using it. The
more teachers are given a personal reason to use technology, the quicker
they apply it to their teaching situation. Support is very important, as is
an appropriate time line to master skills.

I hope in the next issue of MIFGASHIM to describe in more detail how we use
Judaic software in our school and to focus on other related issues.

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

6. The challenge to American Jewry

Sergio Della Pergola: Professor of the Institute of Contemporary Jewry at
the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and currently at the Oxford Centre for
Hebrew and Jewish Studies

Ha’aretz, October 13 2002


The Jewish population of the United States currently stands at 5.2 million -
down from 5.5 million in 1990 - according to the estimate of the 2000-2001
National Jewish Population Survey, sponsored by the United Jewish
Communities, an international social service federation based in New York.
However, hundreds of thousands of immigrants entered the United States in
the 1990s, a development that should have driven up the number of Jews
there to 5.7 million. What happened to the missing 500,000 Jews? Did the
major research project, which cost some $6 million, fail in its efforts to
find them?

True, it is very difficult to survey a population that is scattered and
integrated into the general public, as is the case with the majority of
American Jews. Still, a prodigious effort went into the new survey: about
5.5 million attempted phone calls led to conversations with a
representative sample of 180,000 respondents throughout the United States,
and of these, 4,500 in-depth interviews were conducted, which included more
than 300 questions, with Jewish families or families with a Jewish
background of some kind.

The survey defined various circles of Jewish identity: a consolidated core
of 3.9 million, who consider Judaism their religion in differing degrees of
tenacity or knowledge, and another 1.3 million Jews without religious
attachment, who consider themselves connected to Jewish identity in
different ways. There are another 1.5 million family members of Jewish
origin, who do not view themselves as Jews, and another 1.4 million family
relatives without any Jewish background of any kind. In practice, then, the
5.2 million people are part of a public of 8.1 million people who live in
households with some sort of attachment to Judaism.

The number of Jews in the United States declined in the past decade,
whereas the country's population increased by 33 million, with the result
that the proportion of Jews and their public weight decreased. This
constitutes a genuine demographic problem….


To read the full article, please go to

http://www.haaretzdaily.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=218933

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

__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________

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
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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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