LISTSERV mailing list manager LISTSERV 16.5

Help for MIFGASHIM Archives


MIFGASHIM Archives

MIFGASHIM Archives


MIFGASHIM@LISTSERV.BIU.AC.IL


View:

Message:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Topic:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Author:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

Font:

Proportional Font

LISTSERV Archives

LISTSERV Archives

MIFGASHIM Home

MIFGASHIM Home

MIFGASHIM  July 2009

MIFGASHIM July 2009

Subject:

Mifgashim Volume 8 Issue 81

From:

Lee Buckman <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Wed, 1 Jul 2009 12:27:03 +0300

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (297 lines)

Mifgashim Volume 8 Issue 81


Contents:

1.	Mazal tov to Paul Shaviv!
2.	Lookstein Podcast: JEL
3.	Day School Graduation Speeches
4.	Marshall Memo: Can Deferring Gratification Be Taught?


~~~~~~~~~

1.	Mazal tov to Paul Shaviv!


Mazal tov to Paul Shaviv, Head of School at CHAT, who received this past week in 
Jerusalem the Max M. Fisher Prize for Jewish Education in the Diaspora for 2009. The 
prize is awarded to educators who have made outstanding contributions to Jewish 
education in their communities.

The citation notes: “Since Mr. Shaviv assumed the role of Headmaster in 1998, the 
school's enrollment has grown from 750 to 1,500 students. The school currently recruits 
more than 400 new students each year. 17 WZO/JAFI teacher-shlichim work in the school, 
and 50% of all Jewish Studies is taught in Hebrew. A recent survey found that 96% of 
married TanenbaumCHAT alumni have Jewish spouses; 72% of alumni “continued their 
Jewish study” in some form after graduation; graduates have visited Israel an average of 
six times, and 10% of them live in Israel.

Mr. Shaviv has published many articles, book reviews, and reports on Jewish Education, 
Jewish Affairs, Jewish History and Jewish Ideas. He also has lectured extensively on 
these subjects. In the past, he has served as Principal of Bialik College, Montreal; as 
Founding Director of Jewish Studies at Immanuel College, London; as Director of Jewish 
Studies at Carmel College, Oxfordshire; and as Director of the Bnai B’rith World Center in 
Jerusalem.”

http://jafi.org/JewishAgency/English/About/Press+Room/Press+Releases/2009/jun25c.htm


~~~~~~~~~


2.	Lookstein Podcast:  JEL

Special advertising offer for the Summer 2009 issue of Jewish Educational Leadership 
(main focus: Activating Learning Through Activating Students, deadline 24 July): One 
quarter page B&W ad for $100 and/or one quarter page color ad for $150 (reduced from 
$200 and $275, respectively), depending on space availability. 

This is one way to reach the eyes of thousands of Jewish educators. Write 
[log in to unmask] for more details or to place an ad.
 
~~~~~~~~~


3.	Day School Graduation Speeches


USA Today had a brief column on ten stellar college graduation speeches.  (See 
http://www.usatoday.com/news/education/2009-05-12-best-speeches_N.htm)

Inspired by USA Today’s idea, we have been collecting excerpts from speeches delivered 
at this year’s day school graduations.   Below is a sampling of some of the wise words 
our administrators shared with their graduates. 

~~~~


Ray Levi, Head of School, Amos and Celia Heilicher Minneapolis Jewish Day School:

We are preparing students for jobs that don’t yet exist using technology that hasn’t been 
invented in order to solve problems we don’t even know are problems yet….

You will see change beyond our imaginations in your lifetimes, but you are determined to 
shape that change.  You are passionately moved by injustice and you are at ease in adult 
settings, pushing yourselves beyond your comfort zones.…

Your strength comes from a strong inner core.  Unlike so many of your contemporaries, 
you know who you are.  You have tested your own limits on ropes courses—and seen how 
the encouragement of your peers stretches you to new heights.  And Jewish texts are 
very much a part of your being.  You ask questions of God and you have learned from the 
mistakes of David and the trials of Job.  Familiar with the foibles of characters in the 
Tanakh, you are determined not to repeat their mistakes.  Knowledgeable about the 
mitzvot that are our responsibility, you look to fulfill them.  

Advisors from the educational and business worlds tell us of the importance of 
collaboration in addressing those problems that we do not yet know about.  And my 
confidence in you grows from the fact that you have one another.  Many of you have 
spent nine years together….

We are all familiar with the words from Pirkei Avot words: Eseh lecha rav, ukeneh lecha 
haver.  Find yourself a teacher and get yourself a friend.  Perhaps, you offer a variation:  
In finding friends, you have gained teachers who will guide you through the uncertainties 
of the future.  If you retain the strong bonds that link you together, collaboratively you 
will bring about the constructive change you so passionately seek!  



~~~~


Paul Shaviv, Director of Education at TanenbaumCHAT,Toronto, Ontario:


There are very few original thinkers or artists in our world – very few people, in any area 
of life, who have something to say or do which is truly original, fresh, stimulating... who 
genuinely have the ability to challenge our comfortable ideas, to make us sit up, mentally 
or physically, and look at things differently.  

Just a few days ago, I had the, for me, rather gloomy privilege of celebrating my 60th 
birthday.  That puts me just over four decades ahead of you, our graduating class.   In 
those years, I have read millions upon millions of words, heard and given thousands of 
shiurim, lessons, talks and speeches: held conversations and exchanges with friends, with 
colleagues, with teachers, with students; studied texts, thought thoughts, had 
experiences, contemplated art, listened to music  – more recently, surfed thousands of 
internet sites ………

But among this huge, unquantifiable intake of information, of ideas, of culture real 
originality – real creativity, real original thought – has been so rare.  At this stage in life, 
I crave it.  I am tired of hearing or reading the same material over and over again.  

I sympathize with the author – traditionally King Solomon – of that uniquely reflective 
biblical book of Kohelet, ‘Ecclesiastes’ – “vanity of vanities, all is vanity. I have seen that 
which is done under the sun, all is vanity … there is nothing new under the sun – en 
chadash tachat hashemesh”.   Every day, I read the newspaper – I am not going to say 
which one!  Over the weekend I get two.  I am seriously thinking of cancelling my 
subscriptions.   It is all the same, every week. 

So my message to you, as TanenbaumCHAT graduates, is to always seek the good, the 
fresh, the truly original.  Use the skills I hope we have taught you, to be critical – gently 
critical, but critical – and distinguish the worthwhile from the kitsch; the first-rate from 
the mediocre; the original from the – well, recycled!   

Take your University courses, your study in Israel, the books you read, the films you see, 
the music you listen to – and THINK.  Question, argue, seek to understand.  Never, ever, 
be satisfied with the second-rate.  

If you are indeed one of the unusual individuals with the capacity to be truly original – 
use your talent.  If you are not – asei lecha rav – find yourself a teacher – but a good 
teacher, an original teacher, a great teacher.

 
~~~~~~~~~


4.	Marshall Memo: Can Deferring Gratification Be Taught?

In Jewish day schools that teach about kashrut or inspire children to observe kashrut, we 
may be succeeding in teaching an important life skill:  delay of gratification.  The 
importance of self-control is highlighted in this intriguing New Yorker article where 
science writer Jonah Lehrer describes the famous “marshmallow” research on deferred 
gratification and explores its implications for schools. 

In the late 1960s, Stanford psychologists led by Walter Mischel asked preschool children 
to pick their favorite treat from a tray containing marshmallows, cookies, and pretzel 
sticks. Once children made a selection, they were left alone in a small room, having been 
told that if they didn’t eat the treat until the researcher returned, they’d be allowed to eat 
two treats. Children were also told that they could ring a bell at any point and the 
researcher would come right back – but they’d only have one treat. 

A hidden camera recorded what happened inside the room as children struggled with 
temptation. Some covered their eyes or turned away so they couldn’t see the treat. 
Others kicked the desk, tugged at their pigtails, or stroked their marshmallow like a tiny 
stuffed animal. One boy looked around to make sure no one was watching, twisted his 
Oreo cookie apart, licked off the white filling, put the two pieces back together, and 
smiled happily. 

The average amount of time that children were able to hold out was three minutes. Some 
rang the bell in less than thirty seconds. Some refused to take part in the exercise 
because they knew how difficult it would be. But about thirty percent of children waited 
for the full fifteen minutes and got to devour their double reward.

At first, Mischel had no plans to follow up on this research, but his three daughters were 
going through school with many of the children who took part in the marshmallow 
experiments, and he occasionally inquired over dinner about how they were doing. Over 
time, Mischel was struck by a link between the ability to wait for the second treat and 
school success as teenagers. He started asking his daughters to rate various children on a 
five-point scale, and noticed a close correlation with students’ ability to defer gratification 
as preschoolers. “That’s when I realized I had to do this seriously,” said Mischel.

Careful research on the 653 children who had taken part in the original study found a high 
correlation between the ability to wait at the age of four and later school success. 
Conversely, most children who couldn’t wait the fifteen minutes had more behavioral 
problems, shorter attention spans, a higher body-mass index, were more likely to have 
problems with drugs, struggled with stressful situations, and scored an average of 210 
points lower on the SAT than children who passed the marshmallow test. 

For centuries, psychologists have believed that abilities like deferring gratification are 
stable personality traits. But as Mischel conducted his research, he began to have doubts. 
When he studied children in a summer camp, he noticed that the way kids reacted was 
often dependent on the circumstances. A child might react violently when teased by peers 
but submit meekly to adult punishment. In other words, aggression seemed to depend on 
“if-then” patterns. Mischel began to believe that psychologists should diagnose people’s 
problems the way mechanics diagnose a car’s squeaks and rattles: by asking under what 
conditions they occur. Is it when the car is accelerating? When you’re shifting gears? 
When you’re turning at slow speeds? When the specific conditions are identified, the 
cause becomes apparent. Mischel believes human behaviors can also be investigated by 
looking for “if-then” patterns.

After hundreds of hours observing children in the marshmallow experiment, he realized 
that all children felt the “hot emotion” of craving the treat, but those who were successful 
in deferring gratification had a strategy: they distracted themselves. 

Successful deferrers got the marshmallow out of their minds by covering their eyes, 
pretending to play hide-and-seek under the desk, or singing songs from Sesame Street. 
Those who used the strategy of staring at the marshmallow didn’t last long at all. “If 
you’re thinking about the marshmallow and how delicious it is,” says Mischel, “then you’re 
going to eat it. The key is to avoid thinking about it in the first place.” The best strategy 
is paying attention to something else. “We call that will power,” he says, “but it’s got 
nothing to do with the will.”

Mischel and his colleagues are now doing brain scans on as many of the original subjects 
as they can find in an attempt to map the neural circuitry of self-control. He is convinced 
that people who were successful at deferring gratification as children possess something 
in addition to will power or self-control. “It’s much more important than that,” he says. 
“This task forces kids to find a way to make the situation work for them. They want the 
second marshmallow, but how can they get it? We can’t control the world, but we can 
control how we think about it.”

Whatever its origins, the ability to defer gratification is an extremely useful life skill. 
When adults operate like this, it’s called metacognition – thinking about your thinking to 
outsmart your shortcomings. 

A classic example is Odysseus having his men rope him to the mast to survive with the 
temptation of the Sirens’ song, knowing that he couldn’t possibly resist if he weren’t tied 
up. Children who figure out this strategy have a huge advantage as they navigate the 
dangerous waters of childhood and adolescence. “If you can deal with hot emotions, then 
you can study for the SAT instead of watching television,” says Mischel. “And you can 
save more money for retirement. It’s not just about marshmallows.” He found that 
children who grow up in poverty tend to be less adept at deferring gratification. Their 
environment predisposes them toward instant gratification and doesn’t reward delaying, 
so they don’t develop and practice the right strategy.

Does this skill have a genetic origin? Mischel thinks not. First of all, some of the children 
who “failed” the marshmallow test have grown up to be successful adults; somewhere 
along the line they learned how to defer gratification. Mischel is studying them to see 
what changed their early tendency toward instant gratification. Second, when taught how 
to distract themselves, children who initially didn’t wait sixty seconds could hold out for 
the full fifteen minutes. “All I’ve done is given them some tips from their mental user 
manual,” says Mischel. “Once you realize that will power is just a matter of learning how 
to control your attention and thoughts, you can really begin to increase it.” But will these 
learned skills persist in later life, as children make decisions about homework, television, 
junk food, and sex? Researchers are looking into that.

Self-control and deferral of gratification may very well be more important to life success 
than I.Q. The big question is whether schools can teach these strategies and get students 
to practice them enough so they become second nature. 

David Levin, co-founder of the national network of KIPP (Knowledge is Power Program) 
schools, is intrigued and has invited researchers to work with his students. KIPP schools 
make a point of teaching character, including self-control (KIPP students in Philadelphia 
are even wearing shirts with the slogan, Don’t Eat the Marshmallow). Preliminary results 
are promising, but it’s not certain that new habits will survive unless they are reinforced 
at home. 

Children need practice at deferring gratification. Some families build “sly exercises in 
cognitive training” into the family routine, for example, forbidding children from snacking 
between meals, telling them to save their allowance for a special purchase, and not 
letting them open presents till the day of the holiday. 

In Judaism, these opportunities abound.  It is most evident when Jewish parents and 
schools who train their children to say “no” in the service of a higher ideal through 
regular observance of mitzvot like kashrut.

These parents make waiting worthwhile, teaching children how to outsmart their desires. 
Mischel believes that all adults need to teach these skills explicitly. “We should give 
marshmallows to every kindergartner,” he says. “We should say, ‘You see this 
marshmallow? You don’t have to eat it. You can wait. Here’s how.’”

“Don’t – The Secret of Self-Control” by Jonah Lehrer in The New Yorker, May 18, 2009
http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/05/18/090518fa_fact_lehrer?printable=true 
.

__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________

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

The Center encourages you to become a paid member and
benefit for the wide variety of programming offered by the Center.
For information see http://www.lookstein.org/joinus/.

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

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 e-community is supported by generous grants from Evelyn and Shmuel Katz, Bal Harbour, Fl.

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

Top of Message | Previous Page | Permalink

Advanced Options


Options

Log In

Log In

Get Password

Get Password


Search Archives

Search Archives


Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Subscribe or Unsubscribe


Archives

December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
September 2004
August 2004
July 2004
June 2004
May 2004
April 2004
March 2004
February 2004
January 2004
December 2003
November 2003
October 2003
September 2003
August 2003
July 2003
June 2003
May 2003
April 2003
March 2003
February 2003
January 2003
December 2002
November 2002
October 2002
September 2002
August 2002
July 2002
June 2002
May 2002
April 2002
March 2002
February 2002
January 2002
December 2001
November 2001

ATOM RSS1 RSS2



LISTSERV.BIU.AC.IL

CataList Email List Search Powered by the LISTSERV Email List Manager