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MIFGASHIM  February 2004

MIFGASHIM February 2004

Subject:

MIFGASHIM

From:

Solly Kaplinski <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

MIFGASHIM LIST <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 23 Feb 2004 00:01:52 +0200

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (442 lines)

MIFGASHIM

February 22 2004

Adar 1 5764

Volume 3: 21

Moderator: Solly Kaplinski

The Lookstein Center for Jewish Education

Bar Ilan University



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

Internet conferences



Internet conferences are professional development workshops, where

educators have opportunities to discuss and study issues in "real time"

with a scholar or an expert in the field.



Registration is now open for the following March's Internet conferences:



Jewish Studies Curriculum: Design and Development - presented by Rabbi Eli

Kohn



Unique Features and Challenges in Creating Web-Based Judaic Curriculum -

presented by Ms Tamar Friedman



Yom Hashoah - presented by Yad Vashem (free)



The Art of Oral Testing: Developing Essential Textual Skills with a



Focus on Student Involvement (free) - presented by Rabbi Naphtali Hoff



Money and How to Get it: What Every Educator Needs to Know (free) -

presented by Mr. Yisrael Feuerman



For dates, session descriptions and presenter biographies, go to



http://www.lookstein.org/internet_conferencing.htm and



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





To register, write to [log in to unmask]



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



CONTENTS



1. Resource of the Week

Esther Feldman: Director, Information and Technology Services

The Lookstein Center

2. Focus on Current Events and Parashat Hashavuah

Rabbi Zvi Grumet, Educational Team, The Lookstein Center

3. New article online

Chana German: Executive Coordinator: The Virtual Resource Center

www.lookstein.org

4. Limmud and Israel 2

Steve Cohen (See MIFGASHIM February 15, 2004)

5. Jews swarming to WASP schools ... but at what cost?

Responses to Stacey Dresner

5.1 Stanley Markowitz

5.2 Felix Posen



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

1.Resource of the Week.

Esther Feldman: Director, Information and Technology Services

The Lookstein Center



This week's resource of the week is  Flashcard Exchange - a website  that

lets users review online, download, or print over 20,000 flashcards.

Flashcard categories include: Early Childhood (Pre-K), Early Elementary K-

2, Upper Elementary 3-5, Middle School 6-8, High School 9-12, Higher

Education, Information Technology, Languages, Sciences, Miscellaneous,

Trivia and Trade Schools. Create or choose from existing flashcards.



To see this week's resource, go to:



http://www.lookstein.org/resource_week.htm and click on February  2004



or go directly to:



http://www.lookstein.org/resource_week/ february 2004.htm.



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

2. Focus on Current Events and Parashat Hashavuah

Rabbi Zvi Grumet, Educational Team

The Lookstein Center



Each week the Lookstein Center offers educators discussion points to focus

on in the classroom for both the weekly Torah portion and current events

in Israel.



Focus On Current Events examines the ethical issues involved in ethnic

profiling.  See



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



Focus on Parashat HaShavuah (Terumah) asks: Is there anything wrong with

creating social pressures to make people donate money? Does it encourage

people to do good or does it coerce them?



"And the Lord spoke to Moshe, saying, 'Speak to the children of Israel

that they bring me an offering; of every man whose heart prompts him to

give you shall take my offering.  And this is the offering which you shall

take of them: gold, and silver, and brass, and blue, and purple, and

scarlet, and fine linen, and goats' hair, and rams' dyed red, and tahash

skins, and shittim wood, oil for the light, spices for the anointing oil,

and for the sweet incense, shoham stones, and stones to be set in the

efod, and in the breastplate."

Shemot 25: 1- 8



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



3. New article online

Chana German: Executive Coordinator

The Virtual Resource Center www.lookstein.org



"Sincerity and Authenticity in Teaching" by Erica Brown is now online at

http://www.lookstein.org/articles/brown.htm and in the library under the

same title.





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



4. Limmud and Israel 2

Steve Cohen (See MIFGASHIM February 15, 2004)



With regard to the point raised last week focusing on the imbalance of

presentations the problems facing Israel today and the seeming lack of

solidarity by Limmudniks, I want to echo these sentiments.  Anglo Jewry on

the whole seems to be lukewarm in its support of Israel. While it is true

that there was a wonderful solidarity march by the community in London

last year – the first of its kind, support generally seems to be sporadic,

erratic and conditional. It is not surprising therefore that at Limmud,

feelings expressed in favor of Israel were in short supply.



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





5. Jews swarming to WASP schools ... but at what cost?

Responses to Stacey Dresner



5.1 Stanley Markowitz



Parents who think that by sending their children to a non Jewish public

school for the excellent all round education they will receive, are

fooling themselves if they think that in such environments, one’s Jewish

identity will be built up and  maintained. While I am not critical at all

of parents aiming for standards of excellence for their children in

today’s highly competitive society, they have to realize that this

initiative is risky in the extreme especially with respect to one’s level

of Jewishness and staying within the fold. This seems to me to be so self

evident or am I being naïve?



5.2 Felix Posen



You ask if there is an alternative to day school education in terms of

"cultivating, nurturing and promoting Jewish identity".  The answer is, of

course, there is an alternative but it is not as powerful as day school.



I have written about this subject numerous times and also refer you to an

article that appeared in the Jewish Quarterly last year (Autumn 2003

pp.77 - 80)



The issue is very simple, but the solution is difficult.  The majority of

Jews worldwide are secular and, generally speaking, they do not like their

children to go to religious day schools.  Ideally, if one wants to

cultivate, nurture and promote Jewish identity, there ought to be secular

Jewish day schools to accommodate the children from these homes.



The alternative, of course, is to offer courses on Judaism as culture as

electives in those high schools in the world that allow such things, e.g.

private high schools in New York City.  Such courses cannot ever take the

place of a full Jewish program in a Jewish day school but they would, as

you say, "parachute" something into an overwhelmingly non-Jewish

environment.  Will that be sufficient to sustain ones Jewishness? I doubt

it very much, but it is better than nothing.



If you wish to sustain Jewishness you need to build secular Jewish days

schools, which is something that the religious Jewish community is

obviously not going to do and, unfortunately, it is difficult to get the

non-religious, the cultural or secular Jews communities to fork out the

money to do this.



The other area of Jewish identification, particularly in America, would be

more summer camps with strong programs in Judaism as culture.  This is

being started by the Society for Humanistic Judaism in Michigan.



Our Foundation is beginning some work on inserting electives in prep

schools, particularly in NYC, and if that were to succeed they could, of

course, easily be transferred  to other prep schools throughout the

country. Will it be enough? No. Is it better than nothing? Yes.



It is exactly for these reasons that we have started giving grants to

American universities to teach Judaism as culture for MA and BA degrees.

We have received about 30 replies to our ad last year and expect to close

with five or six Judaica departments throughout the US.   We intend to

repeat this exercise ever year and hope, eventually, to transform American

Judaica departments so that most of them will also teach such courses.



University is sort of the "last port of call" to give non-religious Jewish

children a chance to learn something about their culture.  Is this a

guarantee for the future? No.  Is it better than nothing? Yes. Is it likely

to do some good?  Yes.



One final point: the article understates the problem. Our guess is that

the private high schools in NY - both girls and boys such as Dalton,

Brierely, Horace Mann etc. have perhaps 30/35 percent Jewish students

compared to the 7 percent mentioned in that article. The problem is much

bigger than you think but should not be a surprise considering how many

Jews in the US self declare as secular.



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

__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________

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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