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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, 20 Oct 2002 23:28:16 +0200

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (199 lines)

MIFGASHIM

October 20 2002
15 Cheshvan 5763
Volume 2:7
Moderator: Solly Kaplinski
The Lookstein Center for Jewish Education
Bar Ilan University

CONTENTS

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

2. Teaching Judaism over the last 60 years: A comparative analysis.
Help wanted!
Nadine Stark: Jewish Studies Teacher, King Solomon High, London, England

3. Can we, and should we, try to transform the foundations of Jewish
identity so that it revolves around the joy and richness of Jewish life,
rather than the tragedies of Jewish history?
A second response to Zvi Grumet (See MIFGASHIM October 7 and 14)
Sylvia F. Abrams:  Dean, Laura & Alvin Siegal College of Judaic Studies
(Formerly Cleveland College of Jewish Studies)

4. November 5 2003: How does one deal with the legacy of Yitzchak Rabin in
the school and in the classroom?
Max Glass, Miami, Fl

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

CONTENTS

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

This week the Virtual Resource Center's "Focus on... Current Events" is
about Israel's moral obligations to it foreign workers and Lebanese
refugees.

To see more, go to

http://www.lookstein.org/edu_focus_on.htm and
click on October 13


This week's Resource of the Week: "The StraitJacket of Standardized Tests":

An article from Rethinkingschools.org focusing on the question:

Where is the standardized test that can measure passion for learning,
respect for others and human empathy?

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. Teaching Judaism over the last 60 years: A comparative analysis.
Help wanted!
Nadine Stark: Jewish Studies Teacher, King Solomon High, London, England


I teach Jewish Studies and I am currently doing an MA in Religious
Education. My essay for this semester is about comparing the way in which
Judaism has been taught over the past 60 years. I am searching for relevant
information and am hoping that MIFGASHIM readers will advise me.

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


3. Can we, and should we, try to transform the foundations of Jewish
identity so that it revolves around the joy and richness of Jewish life,
rather than the tragedies of Jewish history?

A second response to Zvi Grumet (See MIFGASHIM October 7 and 14)
Sylvia F. Abrams, Dean, Laura & Alvin Siegal College of Judaic Studies
(Formerly Cleveland College of Jewish Studies)

Zvi Grumet claims that communal practice, especially in commemorative
events, emphasizes the tragedies of Jewish history, rather than the joy and
richness of Jewish life.  It is impossible to ignore the sadness of the
Jewish past, in particular the Holocaust.  Yom Hashoa is so well attended
in many North American communities because it is the one event from our
past to which we are still linked through individuals who actually lived
through the horror and are with us to bear witness.  Sadly, descriptions of
American attendance at Memorial Day commemorations after the Civil War note
the same large gatherings while Civil War veterans were still alive.
Grumet is disappointed in the numbers that turn out for Salute to Israel
parades in New York City while disparaging that this is not an authentic
Jewish way to commemorate Israel Independence.

I would assert that we have not yet found an authentic Jewish voice for the
commemoration of either Yom Hashoa or Yom Haatzmaut in North America.  We
are struggling with combining religious forms (Kel Molel and Kaddish in Yom
Hashoa; Hallel in Yom Haatzmaut) with meaningful content.  For Yom Hashoa
we strive to find a balance between survivor testimony that recalls the
horror of that time period and an emphasis on lives rebuilt.  For Yom
Haatzmaut, we imitate the parades held in most countries to mark
independence and are still searching for other forms.  I believe that this
is part of our effort to combine the religious, national and cultural
aspects of our identity that I referred to in my earlier response.

Grumet also is critical of the public forms of our celebrations.
Apparently he has not participated in successful multi-generational
communal sponsored events. Last year Cleveland drew over 1,000 to its Yom
HaAtzmaut celebration when it promoted that families were welcome and
designed the celebration with family friendly music, food stations and
booths. Several area synagogues host multiple minyanim for Purim: with a
full Megillah reading in one and a modified reading for families of young
children.  Afterward, there is a communal s’udah with live music and
Israeli dancing. Granted that not all such communal experiments draw large
crowds, but does that mean we should throw up our hands? Only by trial and
error will we create authentic celebrations that withstand the test of time.

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

4. November 5 2003: How does one deal with the legacy of Yitzchak Rabin in
the school and in the classroom?

Max Glass, Miami, Fl

I am gearing up to prepare my high school classes to discuss Yitzchak Rabin
and his legacy on the 7th anniversary according to the English calendar. I
also am in charge of preparing an informal ceremony for our school assembly.

Given what’ s currently happening in Israel today, I frankly am not sure
how to go about preparing for November 5. On the one hand, on reflection, I
am still shocked after all this time that fellow Jew could assassinate the
Prime Minister of the State of Israel. This horrific act can never ever be
forgiven or forgotten. On the other hand, the failure of the Oslo process
gives me cause for concern with regard to how to teach and present the
legacy of Rabin. True he was one of the heroes of Israel. His unforgettable
speech at the Hebrew University after the Six-Day war on the humanity of
the soldiers of Israel Defence Force during the war, should be compulsory
reading for any student of Israel and for any military academy.

Given his background however as a soldier and military man, his undeniable
and unconditional support of the State of Israel and the Jewish people, I
ask myself in the light of the current reality how he could have allowed
himself to be duped, to be utterly misled and manipulated by a person whose
agenda has been crystal clear for all these years? How for example could he
allow the Palestinians to be armed? How could Israel itself have been the
party to supply the Palestinians with arms, which are currently being used
against us? The mind boggles.

True there have been intervening events e.g. changes of Prime Ministers
which may have undermined the process in some way but on the other hand, it
is clear from day one that Arafat had another plan in mind. There is
incontrovertible evidence that he indicated his true intentions to various
audiences including even on September 13, 1993, the day the historic
handshake took place on the White House lawn. “Listen to what they say!”
The impassioned words of Rabbi Riskin of Efrat on a panel last year
sponsored by Yakar in Jerusalem ring true. Or refer to the schoolbooks, the
primary sources used by Palestinian teachers in the classroom, which
contain vitriolic information about Israel and the Jewish people. And all
the while the leadership of Israel were making lamehearted excuses for
Arafat. I often wonder what happened to us the people of the book. Did
those genes for which we are renowned and so much envied, our yiddishe kop,
skip a generation or two?

So my questions to MIFGASHIM readers are: what are you doing in your
classes and schools on November 5 2003? To my Israeli colleagues who
commemorated the Hebrew anniversary last week, how did you handle it in
your classes and schools?

I look forward to your guidance and input.

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

__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________

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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