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MIFGASHIM  February 2011

MIFGASHIM February 2011

Subject:

Mifgashim Volume 8 Issue 158

From:

Rabbi Lee Buckman <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Wed, 9 Feb 2011 20:02:39 -0600

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (258 lines)

Mifgashim Volume 8 Issue 158


Contents:

1. Query:  Periodicals online

2. 25th Anniversary of Sharansky’s Freedom

3. Mifgashim Memo:   What do we teach about ourselves to other faiths

4. Marshall Memo: The Best Way to Study and Remember


~~~~~~~~~


1. Query:  Periodicals online


Does anyone know how to get Modern Judaism and other Jewish journals
online for free for schools like us (meaning, if we're not part of
universities or university libraries or scholars with subscriptions,
etc.)?

Scott Bolton
[log in to unmask]


~~~~~~~~~


2. 25th Anniversary of Sharansky’s Freedom


Rabbi Avi Weiss writes:

Feb. 11 marks 25 years since Natan Sharansky crossed the Glienicke
Bridge from East to West Germany and became a free man….

Sharansky is one of many heroic prisoners of Zion. But it is through
his wife, Avital. that the world came to know him during his years of
incarceration in ways that we did not know the others.

Avital and Natan were married in July 1974. The next morning Avital
was ordered out of the Soviet Union with a promise that Natan would
soon follow. It was not to be. Four years later, the Soviets accused
Natan of spying for the United States and sentenced him to 13 years in
prison. It was during this period that Avital undertook the worldwide
campaign that led to her husband's release.

Avital's style as an activist was modest yet intensely focused and
unwavering. She spoke out in the spirit of the biblical message to the
prophet Elijah that the most profound form of protest is delivered in
a still, small voice. Even at rallies her voice hardly rose above a
whisper….

She also had the uncanny ability to walk a fine line, working within
the establishment as well as from the outside. Avital knew that she
needed the help of the mainstream, but was careful never to march to
their orders. She walked the tightrope, instinctively understanding
that results would come only from a symphony of voices, from within as
well as from without.

On International Human Rights Day in 1984, influential figures
gathered at the White House to listen to a talk by President Ronald
Reagan. Members of the audience were given strict instructions to
remain in place. Suddenly, Avital stepped out of the line, approached
the president and asked for an appointment to speak with him about the
plight of her husband. The president, a very gracious man, assented.

The picture of Avital leaning down as she spoke to President Reagan
found its way to front pages around the world.

Despite the unbelievable odds, Avital was always full of faith -- not
only faith that ultimately she would succeed in her quest to gain the
release of her husband, but also religious faith….

For the full-length version of this article, see

http://www.jta.org/news/article/2011/02/07/2742887/op-ed-celebrating-25-years-of-freedom-for-natan-sharansky.

Read more: http://www.forward.com/articles/135141/#ixzz1DSovBS5H


~~~~~~~~~



3. Mifgashim Memo:   What do we teach about ourselves to other faiths


In Laura Janner-Klausner’s article, “Education within Our Faith
Communities: What do we learn and what do we teach about ourselves and
about others?” she describes the Passover Seder as “a Jewish
educational hook par excellence”, and proceeds to explain the
educational messages conveyed through the Haggada in light of
interfaith dialogue.

Kaddesh: The ritual sanctification over wine teaches concepts of
chosenness and holiness that Jewish students must explore before
encountering other religions. Moreover, wine symbolizes joy, reminding
us that Jewish youth must feel positive about their identities, rather
than building them around comparison and conflict.

Maggid: The retelling of the story of the Exodus demands participants
to relive this national event in their history together. This
emphasizes the importance of Jews identifying with their people and
narrative, which ultimately obligates them to learn from it and teach
it to others.

Pride and resistance: The Haggada promotes a victim identity, listing
those who have oppressed the Jews throughout history and emphasizing
God’s role as savior. This difficult reality forces students to
grapple with the questions of chosenness, faith and action in the face
of injustice.

Ten Plagues: Even amidst the celebration of freedom, Jews refrain
themselves, remembering the suffering of others, even enemies. The
message of empathy and learning from personal pain is invaluable in
conducting dialogue with other faiths.

Elijah: The Seder concludes with a shift from reliving the past to
hoping for a better future. Harsh verses demanding that God invoke
judgment on the nations force students to deal with the place of anger
and pain in interfaith dialogue, which is of paramount importance,
despite it being difficult and dangerous. Nevertheless, the ritual
concludes with a desire for a dynamic change in history, leaving
students with an empowering message of hope.

Janner-Klausner emphasizes the value of the Passover Seder being
highly experiential, reaching students on cognitive, emotional and
experiential levels though textual study, song, social interaction,
prayer, history, story-telling and food. She sees the Passover Seder
as a paradigm for how Jews learn and teach about themselves and
others, stressing the centrality of tolerance in interfaith dialogue.
She teaches that tolerance (“sovlanut”) is achieved through suffering
(“sevel”), encouraging students to take the difficult steps that will
ultimately lead them to deepened understanding, enjoyment and empathy.

“Education within Our Faith Communities: What do we learn and what do
we teach about ourselves and about others?” by Laura Janner-Klausner,
European Judaism, 37,1 (2004), pp. 24-29.


Mifgashim Memo is a weekly abstract of important research or thinking
in Jewish education.


~~~~~~~~~


4.         Marshall Memo: The Best Way to Study and Remember

In this intriguing New York Times article, Pam Belluck reports on a
Purdue University study just published in Science comparing how well
college students learned using four different methods to study a
non-fiction passage:

• Studying it once – students read the passage for about five minutes;

• Repeatedly studying – students re-read the passage four times in
consecutive 5-minute sessions;

• Concept mapping – students referred to the passage to construct
bubble diagrams showing connections among the facts and concepts;

• Retrieval practice – students put the passage aside and wrote down
everything they could remember, then looked back at the original
passage, put it aside again, and wrote as much as they could remember.

A week later, students were given a short-answer test on their recall
of the facts in the passage and their ability to draw logical
conclusions from those facts. Students who had used retrieval practice
did significantly better than the other three groups on the facts and
on inferential reasoning. In second place was repeated study; concept
mapping was third, and studying once a distant fourth.

In a second experiment in which researchers compared just concept
mapping and retrieval practice, students who used retrieval practice
outperformed the concept mapping group – even at drawing concept maps.

Why does retrieval practice work so well? Researchers speculate that
being challenged to remember information helps us organize it in our
brains and creates cues and connections, reinforcing it in memory so
that it’s easier to access later on. With a computer, when we retrieve
information, nothing inside changes – it’s simple playback. But with
the human brain, when we retrieve information, we strengthen access
pathways to that information. “What we recall becomes more recallable
in the future,” says UCLA psychologist Robert Bjork. “In a sense, you
are practicing what you are going to need to do later.”

“Learning is about retrieving,” says Jeffrey Karpicke, the lead
researcher in the Purdue study. “So it is important to make retrieval
practice an integral part of the learning process.”

Karpicke has been struck by the fact that during his studies, students
don’t think retrieval practice is going to be the most effective
strategy. With a passage right in front of them, students think they
know it better than they actually do. “It may be surprising to realize
that there is such a disconnect between what students think will
afford good learning and what is actually best,” says Karpicke. “We,
as educators, need to keep this in mind as we create learning tools
and evaluate educational practices.”

Part of what’s going on here is that retrieval practice seems harder
and stirs up more self-doubt and frustration as people use it. “The
struggle helps you learn, but it makes you feel like you’re not
learning,” says Williams College psychologist Nate Kornell. “I don’t
know it that well. This is hard and I’m having trouble coming up with
this information.” Students using repeated studying and concept
mapping were overconfident as they studied; they had the illusion that
they knew the material better than they actually did.

Kornell believes retrieval practice should be used extensively in
classrooms to make important information stick in students’ minds.
“It’s going to last for the rest of their schooling,” he says, “and
potentially for the rest of their lives.”

“Take a Test to Really Learn, Research Suggests” by Pam Belluck in The
New York Times, Jan. 21, 2011 (p. A12)
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/21/science/21memory.html?_r=1&scp=2&sq=Pam%20Belluck&st=cse

The full article, “Retrieval practice produces more learning than
elaborative studying with concept mapping” by Purdue University
professor Jeffrey Karpicke and Janell Blunt, was published online in
Science, January 20, 2011, available at
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110121111216.htm


The Marshall Memo is a weekly digest of important research in K-12
education. Individual
subscriptions are $50 for the school year at
http://www.marshallmemo.com.

__________________________________________________________________________
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