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MIFGASHIM  July 2003

MIFGASHIM July 2003

Subject:

MIFGASHIM

From:

Solly Kaplinski <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

MIFGASHIM LIST <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sun, 27 Jul 2003 21:01:28 +0300

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (216 lines)

MIFGASHIM

July 27 2003
27 Tammuz 5763
Volume 2:46
Moderator: Solly Kaplinski
The Lookstein Center for Jewish Education
Bar Ilan University

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

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

2. The impact of security in schools
(See MIFGASHIM July 20 2003)
2.1 Sandra Epstein
2.2 Jake Gurwitz

3. Advice and dissent or how we all became critics of Israel
Responses to Andrew Silow-Carroll: Editor in Chief
New Jersey Jewish News
(See MIFGASHIM July 20 2003)
3.1 David I. Bernstein, Ph.D.
Dean, Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies
3.2 Ron Weiser
President - Zionist Federation of Australia


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

CONTENTS

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

This week's resource of the week is The International Children's Digital
Library (ICDL), a place where children can read as much as they want without
having to pay a lot of money or travel very far to find the books.

Currently, the collection includes materials donated from 27 cultures in 15
languages. To see this week's resource, go to

http://www.lookstein.org/resource_week.htm and click on July 2003

or go directly to

http://www.lookstein.org/resource_week/july2003.htm

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


2. The impact of security in schools
(See MIFGASHIM July 20 2003)
2.1 Sandra Epstein

One of the questions asked in last week’s MIFGASHIM was how we
educate our kids with regard to enhanced or upgraded security initiatives.
In my school which is an elementary school, I have found that the kids are
by and large pretty receptive to and understanding of why our school has
adopted the measures it has. There are no evident signs and symptoms of
insecurity, anxiety and fear. And here I am also referring to their
behaviour at home. We have canvassed parents to alert us to any issues of
concern regarding our security and how kid behave at home and they have
reported nothing untoward. So clearly kids are more resilient than we think
they are!

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

2.2 Jake Gurwitz

I am responding to a question on using school kids in some sort of
leadership role with regard to security procedures. In our school, we tend
to spread the responsibility for all sort sorts of activities including
security. We believe that even young children can respond well when given
certain duties. Obviously some types of responsibilities are not at all
suitable for children and the school makes these decisions accordingly but
inculcating a sense of responsibility in kids even at an early age, is an
important part of growth and maturity.

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

3.Advice and dissent or how we all became critics of Israel
Responses to Andrew Silow-Carroll: Editor in Chief
New Jersey Jewish News
(See MIFGASHIM July 20 2003)
3.1 David I. Bernstein, Ph.D.
Dean, Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies

Public criticism of Israel by Jewish organizations and leaders should not be
confused with the classroom.

In the former, as I have written elsewhere, Jews living outside of Israel do
need to think twice and three times before publicly criticizing Israel
(this goes for the editors of Commentary, as well as for Peace Now
supporters) for one reason: your actions may have an impact, and you will
not be the ones to pay the price.

Those of us riding (or bearing the expense and inconvenience of NOT riding)
the busses on a daily basis, those of us whose children are in the army,
will pay the price of any peace agreement - or lack thereof.

Let there be a full range of opinions here in Israel, and come here and tell
us what you think, but please don't (unwittingly) add to the anti-Israel
chorus that is so loud in the world today -- when you do not have to take
full responsibility for what you say, write, and do abroad.

On the other hand, in the classroom, what is needed is good questioning, not
the "right" answer. If teachers simply give students their own political
answers (of the left, or of the right), they do a disservice to their
students. However, if they raise (or better still, elicit) the
possibilities and problematics of different political approaches, they will
get their students thinking - and what could be better than that! Students
will even begin to see the complexities of the issues, and the simplistic
models will begin to lose some of their allure. This, to me, is good
education. (I always considered it an educational triumph of sorts when
students could not figure out my own political position.)

One issue that teachers should encourage students to discuss is that of
Jewish leaders in the Diaspora publicly criticizing Israel -- a question not
only of freedom, but of responsibility.

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

3.2 Ron Weiser
President - Zionist Federation of Australia


As I understand it, this list is primarily aimed at Jewish educators
and as such I do not see this as a debate on the "right to dissent" -
but rather on how to teach Israel against the background of the
current situation.

This question also goes to the central point of encouraging positive
identifying Jews.

The greatest expression of Jewish identity and Jewish empowerment
today is the Jewish State. If young diaspora Jews will not, or feel
they cannot be proud of the Jewish State, then it will be all that
much harder for them to be proud Jews - in fact I believe that it will
be impossible.

We are lucky that we have over 3,000 years of history - but this also
provides a great challenge - how and what of this great history do we
teach in the limited hours we have?

And how many hours do we really spend in a formal teaching on the
post '48 period and the recent past and present? What background do
our students have and in what context do they observe the contemporary
situation?

Those are the real educational questions.

Before anyone can begin to consider "dissent" they need to be equipped
with some basic tools to even be able to participate in the discussion.

How can someone "dissent" from something they have never been properly
exposed to? "Dissent" from what?

There must be some purpose to the investment we make in Day Schools et
al. By necessity we prioritise the things we teach - it seems obvious
to me what we should teach in the first instance.

And I absolutely reject the proposition that to teach these things
infers some intellectual or moral dishonesty on our part.

When news of the Jenin "massacre" broke, the first reaction of our
students at the time should have been either that it could not have
happened or that if it did G-d forbid, then it was by some rogue
elements. And that neither was it Israeli Government policy, nor would
the Israeli Justice system allow it to go unpunished.

Our students need to know that with all of her flaws, Israel is still
a vibrant democracy and that there is no moral equivalence between her
and her neighbours - whatever criticisms one may have.

Teaching our history and our context within our Day Schools has
nothing to do with the "right to dissent" but only better equips our
students to participate in informed debate - and to make their own
judgements.

In reality, with all of the elements that bombard our youth today in
the mass media and in so called "intellectual" publications, the
real "right to dissent" that is under attack, is our right to teach a
positive view of Israel.

Those who participate in this debate have knowledge and an education
the young generation do not - they have the right to that knowledge
and education too.

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

__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________

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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