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Topics in this year's Purim issue:

I. Queries:
     Frumkite query (Poppins)
     Fast of Easter (Horwitz)
II. Satisfying God by keeping the commandments (Newton)
III. Educational Epidemics

     a. Illiteracy Epidemic (Berger)
     b. Illicitry Epidemic (ben Salu)
     c. Alliteracy Epidemic (Mendelssohn)
IV. CHAPTER School (Shnickers)
V. Girls of Prey (Xena)
VI. What we NOW know about Jewish Education (Shoe, White)

*********************************************************

We aren't the only ones taking advantage of Purim to introspect about
issues that our community grapples with throughout the year.
The Jewish Week's Purim articles are always interesting, although this
year few of them focus on issues of Jewish education -
http://www.thejewishweek.com/Purim/c368/Special_Sections/Purim_Spoof.html

Of course, not all of the material in the Purim Lookjed is presented
in jest - some of it is totally on the "up-and-up."
The trick here is to figure out what is simple fun and what is
sophisticated fun?


Mazal Tov to David and Devorah Katz on the birth of a new baby boy.
David and Devorah both teach in the Lookstein Center's "Remote
Teachers" program, but the baby was delivered in person in Jerusalem's
Hadassah Ein Karem hospital.

David and Devorah had scheduled the birth to coincide with the
upcoming Birkat ha-Hamah celebrations, but he arrived a bit early.
Suggestions for naming the newborn child are welcome. Current
front-runners include -

Barack (a very popular choice these days)
Barkai (more popular on Yom ke-Purim)
Zerach (one of my son's middle names)

As the brit will be taking place on Purim, there isn't much time, so
please hurry.

To send the Katz family Mazal Tov wishes, make suggestions for a name
or to request their curriculum on Birkat ha-Hamah - useful every 28
years - write to them at [log in to unmask]

And don't forget to order those T-shirts for your school!!
http://www.birkathachamatshirt.com/

Other available Birkat ha-Hamah paraphernalia include -

A commemorative calendar -
http://www.judaism.com/display.asp?nt=aRAPAR&etn=DAHGJ

A new book -
The Sun's Special Blessing by Sandy Wasserman
http://www.amazon.com/Suns-Special-Blessing-Happens-Years/dp/1934440922

An art contest -
http://blessthesun.org/tiki-index.php?page=Birkat+HaHammah-Art-Competition

...but don't forget the T-shirts -
http://www.birkathachamatshirt.com/

Enjoy!
Shalom

NB Although I take no responsibility for anything that appears in the
rest of this issue, I would like to thank the Lookjedders who helped
make this happen, and, in particular, Yitzie Blau, Shlomo Horwitz and
especially Avi Billet. SZB

**********************************************************

I. Queries:

From: [log in to unmask]
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Monday, February 23, 2009 6:49 PM
Subject: Frumkite query

Does anyone know where I can find resources to teach about frum kites?
Frum cars have been in the news (http://tinyurl.com/frumcar), but
there does not seem to be anything about kites. Considering that we
put a lot of emphasis on frumkite, perhaps someone should go into the
business of selling kites with kippahs, peyos and tzitzis? I think it
will add to the industry and make for very interesting lesson plans.

Mary Poppins
London Hebrew Day School


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

From: Shlomo Horwitz [log in to unmask]
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Sunday, February 22, 2009 6:49 PM
Subject: Fast of Easter

Dear Shalom and Lookjed Colleagues,

Rosh Chodesh Adar Sameach. Many of my Christian friends have pointed
out to me that Easter and Purim are extremely intertwined, especially
as evidenced by the Fast of Easter, sacred to both religions. I was
wondering if any of you have any audio-visual materials that you've
found useful in ecumenical settings that explain the reasons for the
fast and its connection to Easter.

Happy Purim,

Shlomo Horwitz
[log in to unmask]
http://www.jewishcrossroads.org

*********************************************

II. Satisfying God by keeping the commandments

From: Isaac Newton <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Saturday, March 07, 2009 11:38 PM
Subject: Keeping God happy

Intellectual honesty represents one of the most important religious
traits.  The best Jewish educators must embody integrity, veracity,
and accuracy.  Indeed, honest presentation of rabbinic source material
should be the guiding principle of a Jewish educator.   With that
introduction, we can now look at rabbinic materials regarding issues
of belief.

We should present the issues to our students in as fair a manner as
possible.  They must understand the choices involved in these weighty
questions.   Our students could align themselves with Rambam and
practically guarantee themselves eternal bliss in the World to Come.
Alternatively, they could side with a few Hasidishe rebbes and other
obscure aharonim and risk karet.

Granted that R. Yehuda Halevi and Ramban rejected Rambam's
philosophical rationalism.  It is also true that R. Meir Halevi
Abulafia, R. Hasdai Crescas, R. Yosef Albo and Abravanel all disagreed
with various Maimonidean positions including such issues as whether
philosophical truths are the ticket to eternality, whether kefirah
be-shogeg
is kefirah, whether we can apply positive attributes to God,
and whether the World to Come will have a corporeal component.  Yet
who are they compared to THE RAMBAM.  Anyway, why take a chance on
perdition when the World to Come beckons?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

[Previous posts have included Alan Yaniger's original works of piyyut
(for example, see http://tinyurl.com/d7wq5f ). In the interests of
clarifying the centrality of the Maimonidean approach to Jewish life
generally and Torah study specifically, I have included his Rambam
song below.

Scholars have often wondered why Yaniger's piyyut on the Rambam does
not refer specifically to the Rambam's work in the area of Jewish
thought and philosophy. While some concluded that this indicates a
rejection of Maimonidean thought by the paytan, recent excavations
have uncovered an "unknown stanza," one that I am sure Rav Alan would
disassociate himself from utterly and totally. In the interests of the
day, I have included it at the end of the piyyut, but its veracity
remains very much in question.

Shalom]

<<
Rambam song + lost stanza

To the tune of "oom-papa oom-papa, that's how it goes"

Rambam, and then see the Sefer Mitzvot,
Rambam and see the Perush Mishnayot,
Rambam and don't miss any kotarot,
That's how we learn in Brisk.

See a little Rashi here,
See a little Tosafot there,
If you have a penchant to open your Shas,
Just let it be nikar,
The Rambam is the ikar
If you've got any feeling for tuv ta'am va-da'at

One Rambam, two Rambam, three Rambam, four,
Five Rambam, six Rambam, more Rambam, more,
Eight Rambam, nine Rambam, Rambam galore!
That's how we learn in Brisk.

Bring up your ketanim,
With ahavah and zemanim,
Because we know that all children must have their fun,
But when they get older,
With big halakhic shoulders
Just put them in the ring with to'en ve-nitan.

Rambam for breakfast and Rambam in bed,
Eat Rambam, sleep Rambam, Rambam's your bread,
Hiddushei Reb Hayyim is your chocolate spread,
That's how we learn in Brisk.

Thirty-nine rishonim and ninety aharonim
Have found a resting place on the shelf in the back,
From early in the morning,
The seder of our learning
Is eighteen hours Rambam and then hit the sack.

The Rif, Ran and Rosh will all wait awhile,
For who can compare with the Sage of the Nile,
Show me your Rambam, I'll show you my smile,
That's how we learn in Brisk.
>>

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The questionable stanza begins here -

<<
Know all your ikkarim, choose carefully your rabbonim
Study the Moreh really well,
Rationalism
Is Monotheism
Better believe it or you'll really smell
(some manuscripts end the last line above with the words "you'll go to
Gehenna", but that reading has been rejected since it does not fit the
rhyme pattern.)

Only the Rambam knows what is true,
What to believe if you're really a Jew,
Other meforshim haven't a clue,
That's how we learn in Brisk.
>>

Back to top

 

***********************************************************

III. a. Illiteracy Epidemic

From: Shalom Berger <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Sunday, March 07, 2009 11:38 PM
Subject: Illiteracy Epidemic

I am not certain what is upsetting so many people. Today, basic skills
need not be taught, as they can simply be digitized and downloaded,
obviating the need for all that tedious study. This is clearly the
trend of the future.

While some may be upset about such changes, I will point to the time
that the oral law was committed to writing as an example. Surely many
were upset with that change, yet we see that over the generations it
was found to be a useful "upgrade." Now we are moving in the other
direction by taking the written word and committing it to oral media.

Here is one useful example of this new use of technology -
http://www.stupid.com/fun/SABL.html

...and here you can find me participating in a project based on this
concept -
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vCuQDeJ4fn8

[For those of you who suspect that I am only virtual and have no
corporeal existence, that really is me (well, a virtual me) speaking,
with my wife standing next to me, although her face is in the shadows,
somewhat.]

Shalom Berger
Purim Director
Machon Bnos Lobotomy

[A useful resource that argues that the study of Hebrew language is
truly important (at least in late 19th century Poland) is Sefer Safah
leNeemanim
on the importance of Hebrew language literacy penned by Rav
Boruch Epstein, author of the Torah Temimah.
You can download it from Hebrewbooks.org at
http://www.hebrewbooks.org/download.aspx?req=9480
Shalom]

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

b. Illicitry Epidemic

From: Zimri ben Salu <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Sunday, March 07, 2009BCE 11:38 PM
Subject: Illicitry Epidemic

Does anyone have a tried and true method for teaching parashot acharei
and kedoshim? Experiential successes are most appreciated.
If I don't hear from you by next week, I may have to resort to
desperate measures.

Zimri ben Salu

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

c. Alliteracy Epidemic

From: Moses Mendelssohn <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Sunday, March 07, 1780 11:38 PM
Subject: Alliteracy Epidemic

Tired of teachers teaching trash. Time to talk to talmidim towards
trusting themselves together talking tachlis.


Would women wead towah once with world wide, wonderful wunderment?

Seriously suggesting something severe be sanctioned soon so sons see
success.

Moses Mendelssohn

Back to top

 

****************************************************

IV. CHAPTER School

From: [log in to unmask]
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Monday, February 23, 2009 6:49 PM
Subject: CHAPTER School

Enough about the Charter Schools already. We need to come up with REAL
solutions to REAL problems. Kids these days always ask if there is an
English translation, and then they ask if there are any pictures in
the book. We need to encourage kids to read books, chaPter by chaPter.
This has nothing to do with chart or with charters.

Do you know how many kids already think the charter school's dominant
quality is its emphasis on reading comprehension? As this is the case,
we must do our part to make ChaPter schools the thing of the coming
decade. It will reform education, providing for a much needed bailout
and stimulus package which makes education a thing to consider in the
coming years.

I'll read to that.

Marvin Shnickers

Back to top

 

*************************************************

V. Girls of Prey

From: [log in to unmask]
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Sunday, March 07, 2009 11:38 PM
Subject: Girls of Prey

I think the main issue here is that the girls are being stifled from
their natural tendency to hunt. Once we recognize the deficiency -
namely that our schools are in urban setting (not to mention
"sub"urban!") - we can understand why the girls are not feeling
stimulated.

Venison anyone?

Xena, Princess Warrior

Back to top

 

******************************************************

VI. What we NOW know about Jewish Education

From: [log in to unmask]
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Sunday, March 07, 2009 11:38 PM
Subject: What we NOW know about Jewish Education

Shalom, I would like to add my two cents into the equation,
particularly so they can help the machanchim and mechanchot who are
getting paid bubkiss.

We NOW know that the number one birth control is tuition, so we can
rest happy knowing that while we're not having more children, we can
pay rocket high school bills.

An old woman
Residing in a shoe
http://tinyurl.com/cmw3cy

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

From: [log in to unmask]
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Sunday, March 07, 2009 11:38 PM
Subject: WEB 2.0

Here is an issue that has been bugging me for a long time. Two point
oh is a very small font. For some of us, the web is an intricately
designed world of excitement that can bring accolades upon us or our
subjects, depending on if we are even noticed. Sometimes it is just
our product, or the method of conveyance that people notice, and
sometimes we just drop by the way-side silking off into the sunset as
some other hair-brained creature gets all the credit for the things we
do. All we ask is for you to sit back and notice the good that we do
for you, and stop trying to come up with practical ways of getting rid
of us. We do very important work with webs, and it's about time we got
the credit for it.

Charlotte and E. B. White

 

Back to top

 

 

********************************************************************

The Lookjed List is a project of The Rabbi Joseph H. Lookstein Center for Jewish Education in the Diaspora The School of Education Bar Ilan University

The Lookjed e-community is supported by generous grants from Dr. Shmuel and Evelyn Katz, Bal Harbour, FL and David and Susan Goldsmith, Riverdale, NY.

To leave the list, respond to this message with the word "remove" in the subject line.

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The Lookstein 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/

Contributions of educational materials or any other suggestions are welcome.

Information regarding other Lookstein Center programs may be obtained by writing to: [log in to unmask] ##################################################################### --Boundary_(ID_wo4+1zLH1TzZyJpov8n2Dg)-- ========================================================================= Date: Wed, 11 Mar 2009 19:44:16 +0200 Reply-To: [log in to unmask] Sender: lookjed list <[log in to unmask]> From: Shalom Berger <[log in to unmask]> Subject: Lookjed Digest XI:42 Comments: To: [log in to unmask] MIME-version: 1.0 Content-type: multipart/alternative; boundary="Boundary_(ID_y174V2Q7H3ZOAfuiz8iAnA)" This is a multi-part message in MIME format. --Boundary_(ID_y174V2Q7H3ZOAfuiz8iAnA) Content-type: text/plain; charset=windows-1255 Content-transfer-encoding: quoted-printable The Lookjed list is a project of the Lookstein Center for Jewish Education. Topics in this issue: I. Queries: =A0=A0=A0=A0 Do we allocate too much time to Jewish Studies and Hebrew = lessons? (Conyer) =A0=A0=A0=A0 Pull down map of Eretz Yisrael (Wasser) =A0=A0=A0=A0 Teaching Talmud to non-Talmud students - textbook? (Yeres) =A0=A0=A0=A0 Teacher Absences (Landa) II. Fast of Esther/Easter (Sokolow) III. Charter and dual curriculum challenges to the day school movement = (Grant) IV. More on illiteracy (Neufeld, Shaviv) V. English workbook on Sefer Shoftim (Haber) VI. Trip to Israel (Kobrin) *********************************************** My thanks to all who offered feedback on the Purim issue. Happily, most of the people who wrote knew to distinguish between the Purim silliness and serious material - including Dr. Moshe Sokolow, whose response to the Fast of Easter query appears below. For those of you who have wondered what David and Devorah Katz named their sun (sorry, son), in the end it was not Birkat ha-Hamah related. His name is Dov Levi. T-shirts are still available at http://www.birkathachamatshirt.com/ and you can request their curriculum by writing to [log in to unmask] I trust that in preparation for the past and upcoming weeks Torah readings, many of you have directed your students to resources that "flesh out" the Tabernacle and its utensils, like - http://www.yucs.org/~rweiser/virtual_mikdash.shtml or http://www.daat.ac.il/daat/tanach/mishkan/mishkan.htm I was recently directed to a site that describes the efforts of a farmer in England who has devoted significant time to building models of the Temple and=A0 its kelim. It may be of interest to your students. See the article here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/religion/4837608/Farmer-builds= -model-of-Biblical-temple.html or http://tinyurl.com/batqwg and the picture gallery here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/picturegalleries/howaboutthat/4837528/A-m= odel-of-biblical-proportions-man-spends-30-years-creating-a-model-of-Hero= ds-Temple.html or http://tinyurl.com/balpqv Enjoy! Shalom ************************************************* I. Queries: From: Bryan Conyer [log in to unmask] To: [log in to unmask] Sent: Sunday, March 08, 2009 9:04 AM Subject: Do we allocate too much time to Jewish Studies and Hebrew = lessons? Dear colleagues, After a brief respite, I have again entered the world of being a professional in a Jewish Day School. The first debate I have stepped into is: Do we allocate too much time to Jewish Studies and Hebrew lessons. As a Jewish educator, I find the question annoying. As part of the Jewish Day School leadership, I need to constructively frame the conversation. Any suggestions, experiences and resources you can recommend will be gratefully appreciated. Thank you and Purim Sameach, Bryan Conyer ------------------------------------------------------------ From: Aviva Wasser [log in to unmask] To: [log in to unmask] Sent: Thursday, March 05, 2009 3:12 PM Subject: Pull down map of Eretz Yisrael Does anyone know where I can purchase a pull down map of Eretz Yisrael that would have all the biblical cities on it? If not a pull down map then a wall map? Also, has a biblical wall map of Israel been published? Thanks, Aviva Wasser Ilan High School [log in to unmask] ---------------------------------------------------------- From: Moshe Yeres [log in to unmask] To: [log in to unmask] Sent: Tuesday, March 10, 2009 10:03 PM Subject: Teaching Talmud to non-Talmud students - textbook? We=A0 are looking for a student textbook and/or workbook for a Talmud class (3 hours per week) for senior students who have not studied Talmud intensively before in High School. Book should present Hebrew (Aramaic) Talmud text but should use English as language of instruction. Book could focus on a particular perek or contain excerpts from different tractates of Talmud Bavli. Suggestions on or off list would be appreciated. Rabbi Dr. Moshe J. Yeres Vice Principal for Jewish Studies TanenbaumCHAT - Kimel Campus Email: [log in to unmask] ---------------------------------------------------------- From: [log in to unmask] To: [log in to unmask] Sent: Sunday, March 08, 2009 6:00 AM Subject: Teacher Absences I was asked by the chair of the education committee at our school, Epstein Hebrew Academy in=A0 St. Louis, MO. to survey other day schools as to their policies concerning teacher absences. How many paid days of teacher absences are granted per year?=A0 How many sick days?=A0 How many personal days? I would appreciate as many responses as possible to help us determine our policy.=A0 You can email me @ [log in to unmask] Thanks so much! Shiffy Back to top ************************************************* II. Fast of Esther/Easter From: "Moshe Sokolow" <[log in to unmask]> To: <[log in to unmask]> Sent: Tuesday, March 10, 2009 3:52 PM Subject: fast of easter Shalom, Sometimes art imitates life. There really is a fast of Esther-Easter, it is the three day fast observed by Maranos who revered Esther because she led a "double life" as a secret Jewess, reminiscent of their own existence. Indeed, instructions given to investigators for the Inquisition list the observance of this fast (held on the first moon of February) as more of an indication of "judaizing" than the celebration of Purim itself. Purim freilich Moshe Back to top ************************************************ III. Charter and dual curriculum challenges to the day school movement From: [log in to unmask] To: [log in to unmask] Sent: Thursday, March 05, 2009 7:47 PM Subject: Charter and dual curriculum challenges to the day school = movement Having been involved in the yeshiva- day school movement for the past thirty-five years, I am truly concerned about the real threat of charter and dual curriculum public schools.=A0=A0 I attended a Hebrew School during elementary and high school, and learned how to read Hebrew (without comprehension), Jewish history, some Chumash and Jewish tradition.=A0 For me the Hebrew school's major success was encouraging me and preparing me to go to Y.U., just as the Hebrew School encouraged others to go to JTS.=A0=A0 However, though the school "held the fort" in terms of Jewish education for most of its other students, there later Jewish involvement was minimal. Hebrew School just couldn't compete with the pull of extra-curricular public school activities. However, things have changed in the old USA.=A0=A0 First, public schools are much more secular now than when I went to school and appear much less threatening in terms of fostering other, non-Jewish religious themes on our children.=A0=A0 Second, the major educational blocks in Hebrew School were the need to spend so much time on teaching reading Hebrew, and the students' alienation from the Hebrew texts that the Hebrew School teachers were trying to teach.=A0=A0 Today, students = coming from Charter or dual curriculum public schools would enter an afternoon religious school with Hebrew skills already in place.=A0=A0 = The public school- day schedule in many communities is much shorter than when I went to school, and thus extra-curricular activities could be pursued as well as religious school attendance. Even in modern orthodox communities the financial burdens are such that given the above realities public school with supplemental Jewish education do not look so bad.=A0 So what's the problem? First, our day schools are now filled with professional Jewish Studies teachers.=A0=A0 One of the reasons for this is that one can now make a living in Jewish education.=A0=A0=A0 Should public school and = supplementary Jewish education catch on again, we would eventually lose professional Jewish education teachers who simply can't make a full salary in supplementary Jewish education. Second, a day school and yeshiva immerses a student in a full Jewish experience from morning until evening.=A0=A0 All students in most of the these schools begin the day Jewishly with Tefilah, are surrounded by Kosher eating requirements, sing Jewish religious and Israeli songs and experience secular studies integrated within a Jewish atmosphere, as Jewish studies are presented on an equal (or almost equal) footing with secular studies.=A0 For example, studying Chumash during the school day rather than after school in a supplementary program gives importance and greater credence to that subject. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, study after study has demonstrated that day school and yeshiva education are arguably the most effective way to stem intermarriage and assimilation.=A0=A0 I would like to note that though different branches of Judaism do outreach to intermarried couples and include these couples in synagogue activities, I am not aware of any branch perceiving intermarriage without eventual conversion as a good. The only answer I can come up with to counter the threat of charter schools and dual curriculum public schools to the day school movement is to find those still moneyed people who are committed to intense Jewish education and to lobby them on behalf of our Jewish schools. There are many charitable, wealthy individuals who already support the yeshiva and day school movement, but it is increasingly obvious that we need more. Kol Tov, Stu Grant Back to top ************************************************* IV. More on illiteracy From: Barbara Neufeld [log in to unmask] To: Shalom Berger Sent: Tuesday, March 10, 2009 9:09 PM Subject: comment for the conversation on "illiteracy" Tzvi Daum raises some interesting and important points in his response to the "illiteracy dilemma" conversation.=A0 Although they were not written for the Orthodox schools, I want to bring his and others' attention to a set of standards and benchmarks for teaching Tanakh that were developed several years ago and are informing the development of improved curriculum, instruction, and assessment at a growing set of Community, Conservative, and Reform Day schools.=A0 One of the significant features of the project is that its implementation encourages schools to make their own informed decisions about which standards they want to emphasize in order to achieve the learning outcomes for students that matter most for them. The project has been led by Charlotte Abramson at JTS, [log in to unmask] Information about the project and the standards and benchmarks are available on line at http://www.jtsa.edu/William_Davidson_Graduate_School_of_Jewish_Education/= Melton_Research_Center_for_Jewish_Education/Melton_Standards_and_Benchmar= ks.xml I have been the evaluator for the project since the Standards and Benchmarks were completed. Barbara Neufeld, Ed.D. President/Senior Research Associate Education Matters, Inc. Cambridge, MA 02138 Website:=A0 www.edmatters.org ------------------------------------------------------------------------ From: Paul Shaviv [log in to unmask] To: [log in to unmask] Sent: Sunday, March 08, 2009 4:14 PM Subject: Illiteracy and curriculum: a practical suggestion The discussion on 'illiteracy' has turned to the issue of curriculum. Time to recycle and idea that I proposed some years back -- we need a 'North American Centre for Jewish High School Education'.=A0=A0 This facility would preferably be housed in an existing High school (to serve as a practical laboratory), and apart from a small permanent staff would -- perhaps among other PD programmes - would host teams of teachers on secondment from their schools for periods of time (a month to a year),=A0 who would work on curriculum projects.=A0 The aim would = be to create a uniform, spiral curriculum for N American High Schools in the basic subjects..=A0 It might have to be multi-leveled, but at least it would have a common base. (Perhaps the common source-books would come first?).=A0 I have extensive ideas on how such a project could work -- too long to specify here, and the original 'vision document' that I wrote some years back is now outdated.=A0 Note that as far as I know, there is not a SINGLE comprehensive, classroom friendly textbook available for HS JS (Bloomberg/Kapustin on the 2nd Temple is possibly an honourable exception).=A0 'Chagei Yisrael' is taught, one way or another, in every single school; no single real textbook available. Any friendly funding out there (currently, a rhetorical question!) ? --=20 Paul J. Shaviv, M.A.,M.Phil. Director of Education TanenbaumCHAT Back to top ************************************************* VI. English workbook on Sefer Shoftim Posted by: Sender Haber <[log in to unmask]> Date: March 04, 2009 10:30PM Re: English workbook on Sefer Shoftim Torah Umesorah has a workbook on Shoftim. I can't find it online, but it is in their catalog. Back to top *********************************************** V. Trip to Israel From: Jeffrey Kobrin [log in to unmask] To: [log in to unmask] Sent: Thursday, March 05, 2009 2:15 PM Subject: RE: Lookjed Digest XI:39 The Ramaz Middle School is running an 8th grade trip to Israel this May as well, as we have for the past eight years. We needed to be sure we had enough funds to aid those families who would need help (far more are requesting than ever did before).=A0 Once we found those funds, we committed to running the trip. Rabbi Jeffrey B. Kobrin Headmaster Ramaz Middle School Back to top ******************************************************************** The Lookjed List is a project of The Rabbi Joseph H. Lookstein Center for Jewish Education in the Diaspora The School of Education Bar Ilan University The Lookjed e-community is supported by generous grants from Dr. Shmuel and Evelyn Katz, Bal Harbour, FL and David and Susan Goldsmith, Riverdale, NY. To leave the list, respond to this message with the word "remove" in the subject line. If you would like to subscribe to Lookjed, go to the on-line form at http://www.lookstein.org/register.htm To post a message, please write us at: [log in to unmask] You can search the Lookjed list archives at http://www.lookstein.org/lookjed The Lookstein Center responds to specific educational queries and reference questions. Write us at [log in to unmask] The Lookstein 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/ Contributions of educational materials or any other suggestions are welcome. Information regarding other Lookstein Center programs may be obtained by writing to: [log in to unmask] ##################################################################### --Boundary_(ID_y174V2Q7H3ZOAfuiz8iAnA) Content-type: text/html; charset=windows-1255 Content-transfer-encoding: 7BIT The Lookjed list is a project of the Lookstein Center for Jewish Education. [log in to unmask]"> Re: Illiteracy - a call to Facebook new



Topics in this issue:

I. Queries:
     Do we allocate too much time to Jewish Studies and Hebrew lessons? (Conyer)
     Pull down map of Eretz Yisrael (Wasser)
     Teaching Talmud to non-Talmud students - textbook? (Yeres)
     Teacher Absences (Landa)
II. Fast of Esther/Easter (Sokolow)
III. Charter and dual curriculum challenges to the day school movement (Grant)
IV. More on illiteracy (Neufeld, Shaviv)
V. English workbook on Sefer Shoftim (Haber)
VI. Trip to Israel (Kobrin)

***********************************************

My thanks to all who offered feedback on the Purim issue. Happily,
most of the people who wrote knew to distinguish between the Purim
silliness and serious material - including Dr. Moshe Sokolow, whose
response to the Fast of Easter query appears below.

For those of you who have wondered what David and Devorah Katz named
their sun (sorry, son), in the end it was not Birkat ha-Hamah related.
His name is Dov Levi. T-shirts are still available at
http://www.birkathachamatshirt.com/ and you can request their
curriculum by writing to [log in to unmask]


I trust that in preparation for the past and upcoming weeks Torah
readings, many of you have directed your students to resources that
"flesh out" the Tabernacle and its utensils, like -
http://www.yucs.org/~rweiser/virtual_mikdash.shtml or
http://www.daat.ac.il/daat/tanach/mishkan/mishkan.htm

I was recently directed to a site that describes the efforts of a
farmer in England who has devoted significant time to building models
of the Temple and  its kelim. It may be of interest to your students.

See the article here:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/religion/4837608/Farmer-builds-model-of-Biblical-temple.html
or http://tinyurl.com/batqwg

and the picture gallery here:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/picturegalleries/howaboutthat/4837528/A-model-of-biblical-proportions-man-spends-30-years-creating-a-model-of-Herods-Temple.html
or http://tinyurl.com/balpqv

Enjoy!
Shalom

*************************************************

I. Queries:

From: Bryan Conyer [log in to unmask]
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Sunday, March 08, 2009 9:04 AM
Subject: Do we allocate too much time to Jewish Studies and Hebrew lessons?

Dear colleagues,

After a brief respite, I have again entered the world of being a
professional in a Jewish Day School.

The first debate I have stepped into is: Do we allocate too much time
to Jewish Studies and Hebrew lessons.

As a Jewish educator, I find the question annoying. As part of the
Jewish Day School leadership, I need to constructively frame the
conversation.

Any suggestions, experiences and resources you can recommend will be
gratefully appreciated.

Thank you and Purim Sameach,

Bryan Conyer

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

From: Aviva Wasser [log in to unmask]
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Thursday, March 05, 2009 3:12 PM
Subject: Pull down map of Eretz Yisrael

Does anyone know where I can purchase a pull down map of Eretz Yisrael
that would have all the biblical cities on it?
If not a pull down map then a wall map?
Also, has a biblical wall map of Israel been published?

Thanks,
Aviva Wasser
Ilan High School

[log in to unmask]

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

From: Moshe Yeres [log in to unmask]
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Tuesday, March 10, 2009 10:03 PM
Subject: Teaching Talmud to non-Talmud students - textbook?

We  are looking for a student textbook and/or workbook for a Talmud
class (3 hours per week) for senior students who have not studied
Talmud intensively before in High School. Book should present Hebrew
(Aramaic) Talmud text but should use English as language of
instruction. Book could focus on a particular perek or contain
excerpts from different tractates of Talmud Bavli.

Suggestions on or off list would be appreciated.

Rabbi Dr. Moshe J. Yeres
Vice Principal for Jewish Studies
TanenbaumCHAT - Kimel Campus
Email: [log in to unmask]

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

From: [log in to unmask]
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Sunday, March 08, 2009 6:00 AM
Subject: Teacher Absences

I was asked by the chair of the education committee at our school,
Epstein Hebrew Academy in  St. Louis, MO. to survey other day schools
as to their policies concerning teacher absences.

How many paid days of teacher absences are granted per year?  How many
sick days?  How many personal days?
I would appreciate as many responses as possible to help us determine
our policy.  You can email me @ [log in to unmask]

Thanks so much!
Shiffy

Back to top

 

*************************************************

II. Fast of Esther/Easter

From: "Moshe Sokolow" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Tuesday, March 10, 2009 3:52 PM
Subject: fast of easter

Shalom,

Sometimes art imitates life. There really is a fast of Esther-Easter,
it is the three day fast observed by Maranos who revered Esther
because she led a "double life" as a secret Jewess, reminiscent of
their own existence.

Indeed, instructions given to investigators for the Inquisition list
the observance of this fast (held on the first moon of February) as
more of an indication of "judaizing" than the celebration of Purim
itself.

Purim freilich
Moshe

Back to top

 

************************************************

III. Charter and dual curriculum challenges to the day school movement

From: [log in to unmask]
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Thursday, March 05, 2009 7:47 PM
Subject: Charter and dual curriculum challenges to the day school movement

Having been involved in the yeshiva- day school movement for the past
thirty-five years, I am truly concerned about the real threat of
charter and dual curriculum public schools.   I attended a Hebrew
School
during elementary and high school, and learned how to read
Hebrew (without comprehension), Jewish history, some Chumash and
Jewish tradition.  For me the Hebrew school's major success was
encouraging me and preparing me to go to Y.U., just as the Hebrew
School
encouraged others to go to JTS.   However, though the school
"held the fort" in terms of Jewish education for most of its other
students, there later Jewish involvement was minimal. Hebrew School
just couldn't compete with the pull of extra-curricular public school
activities.

However, things have changed in the old USA.   First, public schools
are much more secular now than when I went to school and appear much
less threatening in terms of fostering other, non-Jewish religious
themes on our children.   Second, the major educational blocks in
Hebrew School were the need to spend so much time on teaching reading
Hebrew, and the students' alienation from the Hebrew texts that the
Hebrew School teachers were trying to teach.   Today, students coming
from Charter or dual curriculum public schools would enter an
afternoon religious school with Hebrew skills already in place.   The
public school- day schedule in many communities is much shorter than
when I went to school, and thus extra-curricular activities could be
pursued as well as religious school attendance.

Even in modern orthodox communities the financial burdens are such
that given the above realities public school with supplemental Jewish
education do not look so bad.  So what's the problem?

First, our day schools are now filled with professional Jewish Studies
teachers.   One of the reasons for this is that one can now make a
living in Jewish education.    Should public school and supplementary
Jewish education catch on again, we would eventually lose professional
Jewish education teachers who simply can't make a full salary in
supplementary Jewish education.

Second, a day school and yeshiva immerses a student in a full Jewish
experience from morning until evening.   All students in most of the
these schools begin the day Jewishly with Tefilah, are surrounded by
Kosher eating requirements, sing Jewish religious and Israeli songs
and experience secular studies integrated within a Jewish atmosphere,
as Jewish studies are presented on an equal (or almost equal) footing
with secular studies.  For example, studying Chumash during the school
day rather than after school in a supplementary program gives
importance and greater credence to that subject.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, study after study has
demonstrated that day school and yeshiva education are arguably the
most effective way to stem intermarriage and assimilation.   I would
like to note that though different branches of Judaism do outreach to
intermarried couples and include these couples in synagogue
activities, I am not aware of any branch perceiving intermarriage
without eventual conversion as a good.

The only answer I can come up with to counter the threat of charter
schools and dual curriculum public schools to the day school movement
is to find those still moneyed people who are committed to intense
Jewish education and to lobby them on behalf of our Jewish schools.
There are many charitable, wealthy individuals who already support the
yeshiva and day school movement, but it is increasingly obvious that
we need more.

Kol Tov,

Stu Grant

Back to top

 

*************************************************

IV. More on illiteracy

From: Barbara Neufeld [log in to unmask]
To: Shalom Berger
Sent: Tuesday, March 10, 2009 9:09 PM
Subject: comment for the conversation on "illiteracy"

Tzvi Daum raises some interesting and important points in his response
to the "illiteracy dilemma" conversation.  Although they were not
written for the Orthodox schools, I want to bring his and others'
attention to a set of standards and benchmarks for teaching Tanakh
that were developed several years ago and are informing the
development of improved curriculum, instruction, and assessment at a
growing set of Community, Conservative, and Reform Day schools.  One
of the significant features of the project is that its implementation
encourages schools to make their own informed decisions about which
standards they want to emphasize in order to achieve the learning
outcomes for students that matter most for them.

The project has been led by Charlotte Abramson at JTS,
[log in to unmask]  Information about the project and the standards
and benchmarks are available on line at
http://www.jtsa.edu/William_Davidson_Graduate_School_of_Jewish_Education/Melton_Research_Center_for_Jewish_Education/Melton_Standards_and_Benchmarks.xml

I have been the evaluator for the project since the Standards and
Benchmarks were completed.

Barbara Neufeld, Ed.D.
President/Senior Research Associate
Education Matters, Inc.
Cambridge, MA 02138
Website:  www.edmatters.org

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

From: Paul Shaviv [log in to unmask]
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Sunday, March 08, 2009 4:14 PM
Subject: Illiteracy and curriculum: a practical suggestion

The discussion on 'illiteracy' has turned to the issue of curriculum.
Time to recycle and idea that I proposed some years back -- we need a
'North American Centre for Jewish High School Education'.
   This
facility would preferably be housed in an existing High school (to
serve as a practical laboratory), and apart from a small permanent
staff would -- perhaps among other PD programmes - would host teams of
teachers on secondment from their schools for periods of time (a month
to a year),  who would work on curriculum projects.  The aim would be
to create a uniform, spiral curriculum for N American High Schools in
the basic subjects..  It might have to be multi-leveled, but at least
it would have a common base. (Perhaps the common source-books would
come first?).  I have extensive ideas on how such a project could work
-- too long to specify here, and the original 'vision document' that I
wrote some years back is now outdated.  Note that as far as I know,
there is not a SINGLE comprehensive, classroom friendly textbook
available for HS JS (Bloomberg/Kapustin on the 2nd Temple is possibly
an honourable exception).  'Chagei Yisrael' is taught, one way or
another, in every single school; no single real textbook available.

Any friendly funding out there (currently, a rhetorical question!) ?

--
Paul J. Shaviv, M.A.,M.Phil.
Director of Education
TanenbaumCHAT

Back to top

 

*************************************************

VI. English workbook on Sefer Shoftim

Posted by: Sender Haber <[log in to unmask]>
Date: March 04, 2009 10:30PM
Re: English workbook on Sefer Shoftim

Torah Umesorah has a workbook on Shoftim. I can't find it online, but
it is in their catalog.

Back to top

 

***********************************************

V. Trip to Israel

From: Jeffrey Kobrin [log in to unmask]
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Thursday, March 05, 2009 2:15 PM
Subject: RE: Lookjed Digest XI:39

The Ramaz Middle School is running an 8th grade trip to Israel this
May as well, as we have for the past eight years.
We needed to be sure we had enough funds to aid those families who
would need help (far more are requesting than ever did before).  Once
we found those funds, we committed to running the trip.

Rabbi Jeffrey B. Kobrin
Headmaster
Ramaz Middle School

 

Back to top

 

********************************************************************

The Lookjed List is a project of The Rabbi Joseph H. Lookstein Center for Jewish Education in the Diaspora The School of Education Bar Ilan University

The Lookjed e-community is supported by generous grants from Dr. Shmuel and Evelyn Katz, Bal Harbour, FL and David and Susan Goldsmith, Riverdale, NY.

To leave the list, respond to this message with the word "remove" in the subject line.

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The Lookstein 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/

Contributions of educational materials or any other suggestions are welcome.

Information regarding other Lookstein Center programs may be obtained by writing to: [log in to unmask] ##################################################################### --Boundary_(ID_y174V2Q7H3ZOAfuiz8iAnA)-- ========================================================================= Date: Wed, 18 Mar 2009 17:13:32 +0200 Reply-To: [log in to unmask] Sender: lookjed list <[log in to unmask]> From: Shalom Berger <[log in to unmask]> Subject: Lookjed Digest XI:43 Comments: To: [log in to unmask] MIME-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: multipart/alternative; boundary="----=_NextPart_000_0006_01C9A7EC.DD9798B0" This is a multi-part message in MIME format. ------=_NextPart_000_0006_01C9A7EC.DD9798B0 Content-Type: text/plain; charset="windows-1255" Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable The Lookjed list is a project of the Lookstein Center for Jewish Education. Topics in this issue: I. Queries: =A0=A0=A0=A0 Sexuality education in day schools (Weiss) =A0=A0=A0=A0 Pre-1-A programs (Skurowitz) =A0=A0=A0=A0 Research on religious high school education (Guberman) II. Teacher absences (Daum) III. More on illiteracy (Rothstein) IV. School trip to Israel (Garfinkel) V. Passover material and new Israeli stamps at the J Site (Richman) VI. Some Purim Lookjed responses *************************************************************** After a break for Purim, Classroom Teaching is back. This week's episode deals with various issues that arise when administering tests. To listen or subscribe go to http://www.lookstein.org/podcasts/. If you have listened to at least one "Classroom Teaching" episode, your input would be appreciated. Please take a short survey at http://tinyurl.com/dlktj4. *************************************************** I. Queries: Posted by: [log in to unmask] Date: March 16, 2009 10:27AM Subject: Sexuality education in day schools There are a number of new programs that are being made available to day schools today whose aim is teaching and bringing sexual identity issues to the attention of the public within a religious framework. Some of the topics that they introduce in the day school curriculum include things as innocuous as talking to members of the opposite sex, but also such topics as body image, sexual identity, how to have sex and so forth. I was wondering about the reaction of Jewish educators to these programs and whether anyone sees problems with introducing these topics to high school students in our community. Thanks, Tamar Weiss --------------------------------------------------------------- From: Rabbi Skurowitz <[log in to unmask]> Date: Fri, Mar 13, 2009 at 3:39 AM Subject: Pre-1-A programs To: [log in to unmask] Can anyone tell me which M.O. day schools in NY have pre-1A classes? I am not referring to those schools who use this name for their regular (Kindergarten) classes for 5 year olds.=A0 I am asking about an intermediate section for students who completed Kindergarten and would benefit from a smaller class with more individualized attention. The goal would be for the students to join 2nd grade the next year, but some would need to move up only to 1st grade the next year.=A0 I am looking for data on what percentage of students from pre-1A classes actually advance to 2nd grade the following year. You may respond to to [log in to unmask] Thanks, Rabbi Avram Skurowitz, Ed.D Head of School Brauser Maimonides Academy Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33314 -------------------------------------------- Date: Mon, 16 Mar 2009 07:02:38 +0200 From: Joel Guberman <[log in to unmask]> To: [log in to unmask] Subject: Research on religious high school education We are looking for a quantitative study on the impact of the yeshiva high school experience on Jewish learning skills and spiritual = growth.=A0 This would include impact on commitment to performance of mitzvot and = continued torah learning as well as effects on issues of emunah.=A0 We would like = to know if any school has done this on students upon graduation, five years later and ten years later. Tizkeh lamitzvot, Joel Guberman PTA Yeshiva tichonit toranit madaait Maale adumim Back to top ***************************************************** II. Teacher absences Posted by: Tzvi Daum [log in to unmask] Date: March 08, 2009 10:18AM Subject: Teacher Absences In our school teachers are allowed five absences per year without any reduction in pay. Teachers who do not take advantage of these absences are paid an additional day's salary for each day not taken. In my experience, this does seem to motivate teachers not to take a day off without a good reason. Days taken off for professional development are generally approved without penalty. Tzvi Daum [www.torahskills.org] [www.opensourcecurriculum.blogspot.com] Back to top *********************************************** III. More on illiteracy From: Gidon Rothstein [log in to unmask] To: Shalom Berger Sent: Thursday, March 12, 2009 5:18 AM Shalom, In terms of the illiteracy epidemic, I would note that the latest round of ideas all share the crucial flaw of lack of implementation. There may be a thousand good ideas for how to improve literacy, but they're all unimportant if they stay at the talking-about-it stage. Locking up educators in a room is nice, as long as schools will then implement them; the same could be said for all the other ideas.=A0 So instead of thinking about how to solve the illiteracy problem, why don't we think about what would move schools to adopt any uniform standards? In the Torah UMesorah world, there is some uniformity, since they will boot schools that don't meet certain qualifications, I believe.=A0 One question for us is how to get schools of diverse backgrounds and commitments to accept centralized standards.=A0 The schools in Israel are no help here, by the way, since many of them are specifically geared towards taking students who know nothing-- they understand that's the situation in America, and plan to work with it. As a result, at least some students feel no pressure to learn anything in high school, since they'll get it in Israel. What would get the community--parents, rabbis, shuls, schools- to adopt a certain set of standards, and look down on those who willfully fail to meet them?=A0 In the "right-wing" world, such standards are simple, clear, and even too inflexible--the boy who doesn't want to learn for 3 years post HS and then go to the Mir for a year or two while he finds a wife, followed by another few years of learning has a problem.=A0 I don't have to envy that particular set of standards to envy their ability to articulate standards of importance to them (and the articulation comes, mostly, from the central authorities) and have them be implemented.=A0 Can we do such a thing, and if so, how? Gidon Rothstein Back to top *********************************************** IV. School trip to Israel From: Tzivia Garfinkel [log in to unmask] To: [log in to unmask] Sent: Thursday, March 12, 2009 5:36 PM Subject: School trip to Israel The Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School has an 8th grade trip to Israel and it is scheduled for April 22 - May 7th this year.=A0 We began the trip in 1996.=A0 The school instituted an annual Israel fee which begins in Kindergaten.=A0 By the time students reach 8th grade, they have a good portion of the cost of the trip already set aside through these fees.=A0 In addition to the Israel fee, parents and kids also conduct fundraising efforts during their 8th grade year, to try to cover the entire cost of the trip. Tzivia Garfinkel Head of Jewish Studies Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School Chicago, IL 60613 Back to top ****************************************************** V. Passover material and new Israeli stamps at the J Site (Richman) From: "Jacob Richman" <[log in to unmask]> Sent: Tuesday, March 17, 2009 11:57 AM Subject: 152 Passover Educational Hotsites and 80 Cool Passover YouTube = Videos Hi Everyone! Passover is a Jewish holiday, of Biblical origin, marking the birth of the Jews as a people and their emergence as a unique nation in history, devoted to G-d's will. It celebrates the liberation of the children of Israel from slavery in Egypt over 3000 years ago, under the leadership of Moses. This year Passover begins on Wednesday night, April 8, 2009. I posted on my website 152 links about Passover, ranging from laws and customs to games and recipes. Site languages include English, Hebrew, Russian, Spanish, French, Portugese, Italian and German. All 152 links have been reviewed / checked this week. The web address is: http://www.jr.co.il/hotsites/j-hdaypa.htm and...... I gathered links to 80 cool Passover videos on YouTube. Enjoy the videos at: http://www.jr.co.il/videos/passover-videos.htm Please forward this message to family and friends, so they may benefit from these holiday resources. An early Happy Passover! Jacob ------------------------------------------------------ From: "Jacob Richman" <[log in to unmask]> Sent: Monday, March 16, 2009 2:21 AM Subject: New Israeli Educational Stamps Posted Online Hi Everyone! I scanned and posted on my website the new Israeli stamps that were issued in February 2009. I included the stamp itself, the first day cover, and an English and a Hebrew flyer about the stamp. - Fruits of Israel - The Tel Aviv Centennial - Extreme Sport The new stamps are located at: http://www.jr.co.il/pictures/stamps/index-2009.html Shavua Tov - Have a good week , Jacob Back to top ****************************************************** VI. Some Purim Lookjed responses [I would like acknowledge and thank those of you who commented on the recent Purim Lookjed issue. Here are some choice responses. Shalom] From: [log in to unmask] Sent: Thursday, March 12, 2009 5:24 PM Subject: Satisfying God I would like to thank Rabbi Newton for his insightful comments in the last digest. I would just like to add that if heaven is populated only with people who think Maimonidean, I'd much spend my eternity elsewhere! How boring! Ima --------------------------------------------- From: Shlomo Horwitz [log in to unmask] To: [log in to unmask] Sent: Thursday, March 12, 2009 5:24 PM Subject: Re: Lookjed Digest XI:42 Dear Shalom, I wanted to share this fascinating article about Queen Esther that makes her as timely and relevant as....a fresh cup of coffee. Apparently, Egypt wants to boycott Starbucks because they claim that company's logo of a woman in a crown actually represents the "Queen of the Jews", which you have to admit is pretty offensive. Personally I think this article (http://tinyurl.com/b6hn4l) could make for a lively discussion in a classroom or at the Shabbat table. Enjoy, Shlomo Shlomo Horwitz Director Jewish Crossroads http://www.jewishcrossroads.org Back to top ******************************************************************** The Lookjed List is a project of The Rabbi Joseph H. Lookstein Center for Jewish Education in the Diaspora The School of Education Bar Ilan University The Lookjed e-community is supported by generous grants from Dr. Shmuel and Evelyn Katz, Bal Harbour, FL and David and Susan Goldsmith, Riverdale, NY. To leave the list, respond to this message with the word "remove" in the subject line. If you would like to subscribe to Lookjed, go to the on-line form at http://www.lookstein.org/register.htm To post a message, please write us at: [log in to unmask] You can search the Lookjed list archives at http://www.lookstein.org/lookjed The Lookstein Center responds to specific educational queries and reference questions. Write us at [log in to unmask] The Lookstein 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/ Contributions of educational materials or any other suggestions are welcome. Information regarding other Lookstein Center programs may be obtained by writing to: [log in to unmask] ##################################################################### ------=_NextPart_000_0006_01C9A7EC.DD9798B0 Content-Type: text/html; charset="windows-1255" Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable The Lookjed list is a project of the Lookstein Center for Jewish Education. [log in to unmask]">


Topics in this issue:

I. Queries:
     Sexuality education in day schools (Weiss)
     Pre-1-A programs (Skurowitz)
     Research on religious high school education = (Guberman)
II. Teacher absences (Daum)
III. More on illiteracy (Rothstein)
IV. School trip to Israel (Garfinkel)
V. Passover material and new Israeli stamps at the J = Site (Richman)
VI. Some Purim Lookjed responses

***************************************************************

After a break for Purim, Classroom Teaching = is back. This week's
episode deals with various issues that arise when administering = tests.
To listen or subscribe go to http://www.lookstein.org/podc= asts/.

If you have listened to at least one "Classroom Teaching" = episode,
your input would be appreciated. Please take a short survey at
http://tinyurl.com/dlktj4.

***************************************************

I. Queries:

Posted by: [log in to unmask]
Date: March 16, 2009 10:27AM
Subject: Sexuality education in day schools

There are a number of new programs that are being made available to
day schools today whose aim is teaching and bringing sexual identity
issues to the attention of the public within a religious framework.
Some of the topics that they introduce in the day school curriculum
include things as innocuous as talking to members of the opposite = sex,
but also such topics as body image, sexual identity, how to have sex
and so forth.

I was wondering about the reaction of Jewish educators to these
programs and whether anyone sees problems with introducing these
topics to high school students in our community.

Thanks,

Tamar Weiss

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

From: Rabbi Skurowitz <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Fri, Mar 13, 2009 at 3:39 AM
Subject: Pre-1-A programs
To: [log in to unmask]

Can anyone tell me which M.O. day schools in NY have pre-1A classes?
I am not referring to those schools who use = this name for their
regular (Kindergarten) classes for 5 year olds.  I am asking about = an
intermediate section for students who completed Kindergarten and = would
benefit from a smaller class with more individualized attention.

The goal would be for the students to join 2nd grade the next year,
but some would need to move up only to 1st grade the next year.  I = am
looking for data on what percentage of students from pre-1A classes
actually advance to 2nd grade the following year.
You may respond to to [log in to unmask]

Thanks,
Rabbi Avram Skurowitz, Ed.D
Head of School
Brauser Maimonides Academy
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33314

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

Date: Mon, 16 Mar 2009 07:02:38 +0200
From: Joel Guberman <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Research on religious high school education

We are looking for a quantitative study on the impact of the yeshiva
high school experience on Jewish learning skills and spiritual = growth.  This
would include impact on commitment to performance of mitzvot and continued
torah learning as well as effects on issues of emunah.  We would = like to
know if any school has done this on students upon graduation, five = years
later and ten years later.

Tizkeh lamitzvot,

Joel Guberman
PTA Yeshiva tichonit toranit madaait Maale adumim

Back to top

*****************************************************

II. Teacher absences

Posted by: Tzvi Daum [log in to unmask]
Date: March 08, 2009 10:18AM
Subject: Teacher Absences

In our school teachers are allowed five absences per year without = any
reduction in pay. Teachers who do not take advantage of these = absences
are paid an additional day's salary for each day not taken. In my
experience, this does seem to motivate teachers not to take a day = off
without a good reason. Days taken off for professional development = are
generally approved without penalty.

Tzvi Daum

[www.torahskills.org]
[www.opensourcecurriculum.blogspot.com]

Back to top

***********************************************

III. More on illiteracy

From: Gidon Rothstein [log in to unmask]
To: Shalom Berger
Sent: Thursday, March 12, 2009 5:18 AM

Shalom,

In terms of the illiteracy epidemic, I would note that the latest
round of ideas all share the crucial flaw of lack of implementation.
There may be a thousand good ideas for how to improve literacy, but
they're all unimportant if they stay at the talking-about-it stage.
Locking up educators in a room is nice, as long as schools will then
implement them; the same could be said for all the other ideas.  = So
instead of thinking about how to solve the illiteracy problem, why
don't we think about what would move schools to adopt any uniform
standards? In the Torah UMesorah world, = there is some uniformity,
since they will boot schools that don't meet certain qualifications, = I
believe.  One question for us is how to get schools of diverse
backgrounds and commitments to accept centralized standards.  = The
schools in Israel = are no help here, by the way, since many of them are
specifically geared towards taking students who know nothing-- they
understand that's the situation in America, and plan to work = with it.
As a result, at least some students feel no pressure to learn = anything
in high school, since they'll get it in Israel.

What would get the community--parents, rabbis, shuls, schools- to
adopt a certain set of standards, and look down on those who = willfully
fail
to meet them?  In the "right-wing" world, = such standards are
simple, clear, and even too inflexible--the boy who doesn't want to
learn for 3 years post HS and then go to the Mir for a year or two
while he finds a wife, followed by another few years of learning has = a
problem.  I don't have to envy that particular set of standards = to
envy their ability to articulate standards of importance to them = (and
the articulation comes, mostly, from the central authorities) and = have
them be implemented.  Can we do such a thing, and if so, how?

Gidon Rothstein

Back to top

***********************************************

IV.
School trip to Israel

From: Tzivia = Garfinkel [log in to unmask]
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Thursday, March 12, 2009 5:36 PM
Subject: School trip to Israel

The Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School has an 8th grade trip to = Israel
and it is scheduled for April 22 - May 7th this year.  We began = the
trip in 1996.  The school instituted an annual Israel fee which = begins
in Kindergaten.  By the time students = reach 8th grade, they have a
good portion of the cost of the trip already set aside through these
fees.  In addition to the Israel fee, parents and kids also = conduct
fundraising efforts during their 8th grade year, to try to cover the
entire cost of the trip.

Tzivia Garfinkel
Head of Jewish Studies
Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School
Chicago, IL 60613

Back to top

******************************************************

V. Passover material and new Israeli stamps at the J Site = (Richman)

From: "Jacob Richman" <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Tuesday, March 17, 2009 11:57 AM
Subject: 152 Passover Educational Hotsites = and 80 Cool Passover YouTube Videos

Hi Everyone!

Passover is a Jewish holiday, of Biblical origin, marking the
birth of the Jews as a people and their emergence as a unique
nation in history, devoted to G-d's will. It celebrates the
liberation of the children of Israel from slavery in Egypt
over 3000 years ago, under the leadership of Moses.

This year Passover begins on Wednesday night, April 8, 2009.

I posted on my website 152 links about Passover,
ranging from laws and customs to games and recipes.
Site languages include English, Hebrew, Russian, Spanish,
French, Portugese, Italian and German.

All 152 links have been reviewed / checked this week.
The web address is:
http://www.jr.co.il/ho= tsites/j-hdaypa.htm

and......

I gathered links to 80 cool Passover videos on YouTube.
Enjoy the videos at:
http://www.jr.co.= il/videos/passover-videos.htm

Please forward this message to family and friends,
so they may benefit from these holiday resources.

An early Happy Passover!
Jacob

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

From: "Jacob Richman" <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Monday, March 16, 2009 2:21 AM
Subject: New Israeli Educational Stamps Posted Online

Hi Everyone!

I scanned and posted on my website the new Israeli stamps
that were issued in February 2009.
I included the stamp itself, the first day cover,
and an English and a Hebrew flyer about the stamp.

- Fruits of Israel

- The Tel Aviv Centennial

- Extreme Sport

The new stamps are located at:
http://www.j= r.co.il/pictures/stamps/index-2009.html

Shavua Tov - = Have a good week ,
Jacob

Back to top

******************************************************

VI. Some Purim Lookjed responses

[I would like acknowledge and thank those of you who commented on = the
recent Purim Lookjed issue. Here are some = choice responses.
Shalom]

From: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Thursday, March 12, 2009 5:24 PM
Subject: Satisfying God

I would like to thank Rabbi Newton for his insightful comments in = the
last digest. I would just like to add that if heaven is populated = only
with people who think Maimonidean, I'd much = spend my eternity
elsewhere! How boring!

Ima

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


From: Shlomo Horwitz [log in to unmask]
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Thursday, March 12, 2009 5:24 PM
Subject: Re: Lookjed Digest XI:42

Dear Shalom,

I wanted to share this fascinating article about Queen Esther that
makes her as timely and relevant as....a fresh cup of coffee.
Apparently, Egypt wants to boycott Starbucks because they claim that
company's logo of a woman in a crown actually represents the "Queen = of
the Jews", which you have to admit is pretty offensive.

Personally I think this article (http://tinyurl.com/b6hn4l) could make
for a lively discussion in a classroom or at the Shabbat table.

Enjoy,

Shlomo

Shlomo Horwitz
Director
Jewish Crossroads
http://www.jewishcrossroads.org<= /a>

Back to top

 

 

********************************************************************

The Lookjed List is a project of The Rabbi Joseph H. Lookstein Center for Jewish Education in the Diaspora The School of Education Bar Ilan University

The Lookjed e-community is supported by generous grants from Dr. Shmuel and Evelyn Katz, Bal Harbour, FL and David and Susan Goldsmith, Riverdale, NY.

To leave the list, respond to this message with the word "remove" in the subject line.

If you would like to subscribe to Lookjed, go to the on-line form at http://www.lookstein.org/register.htm

To post a message, please write us at: [log in to unmask]

You can search the Lookjed list archives at http://www.lookstein.org/lookjed

The Lookstein Center responds to specific educational queries and reference questions. Write us at [log in to unmask]

The Lookstein 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/

Contributions of educational materials or any other suggestions are welcome.

Information regarding other Lookstein Center programs may be obtained by writing to: [log in to unmask] ##################################################################### ------=_NextPart_000_0006_01C9A7EC.DD9798B0-- ========================================================================= Date: Sun, 22 Mar 2009 12:13:47 +0200 Reply-To: [log in to unmask] Sender: lookjed list <[log in to unmask]> From: Shalom Berger <[log in to unmask]> Subject: Lookjed Digest XI:44 Comments: To: [log in to unmask] MIME-version: 1.0 Content-type: multipart/alternative; boundary="Boundary_(ID_UIUyOttV7/LBsCPT8GWiVA)" This is a multi-part message in MIME format. --Boundary_(ID_UIUyOttV7/LBsCPT8GWiVA) Content-type: text/plain; charset=windows-1255 Content-transfer-encoding: quoted-printable The Lookjed list is a project of the Lookstein Center for Jewish Education. Topics in this issue: I. Queries: =A0=A0=A0=A0 Attending the ASCD conference (Bergman) =A0=A0=A0=A0 Role of Communal Agencies (Witty) =A0=A0=A0=A0 Torah reading website (Beliak) II. Some new online resources (Weinstein, Marx) III. Teaching Talmud to non-Talmud students - textbook? (Kanarek) IV. Technology education (Cahn) V. Off-list discussion (Finkelman, Rothstein) ************************************************* I. Queries: From: Michelle Bergman [log in to unmask] To: [log in to unmask] Sent: Wednesday, March 18, 2009 6:22 PM Subject: Attending the ASCD conference Dear Shalom, Having just returned from the annual convention of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD), to which many of us belong, I wondered ,yet again, why I never meet more than one or maybe two representatives from the yeshivah world. This is a pre-eminent convention for those of us in the profession, held from Saturday-Monday, with excellent preconferences (e.g. the one I attended was with Robert Marzano) on Friday, over by 3:30.=A0 Even if one chooses not to=A0attend on Shabbat, there are still hundreds of sessions and exhibitors on Sun-Mon. Leaving expense aside, having attended for several years when money was not the issue, I'd enjoy hearing from a few colleagues around the country as to why this conference is not a "draw," and which large conferences they find most beneficial. Thanks in advance, Michelle Bergman, HALB Michelle Bergman, Associate Principal,=A0 General Studies HALB ------------------------------------------------------------ From: [log in to unmask] To: [log in to unmask] Sent: Wednesday, March 18, 2009 6:47 PM Subject: Role of Communal Agencies Recently our community has experienced the significant downsizing of our Mercaz (formerly called the Board of Jewish Education). One of the arguments that has been put forward as an explanation for this move was that there needed to be a change in the way that the community provides services to individual schools, teachers, parents, and students. I would like to hear from Lookjed list members what services are provided to you, your school, your teachers, and student body by your local Mercaz-equivalent agency. My aim is to get an idea a) of those services that need to be maintained despite the personnel reductions and b) those services which in your view are much better or more appropriately provided by a central educational organization. Responses may be on-list or off-list to [log in to unmask] In responding please be so kind as to identify what your educational role. ("Parent" qualifies as a response, too.) Thanks for your time.=A0 Chag Kasher V'Sameach! Sincerely, Rabbi Avraham A. Witty Toronto, Canada ------------------------------------------------- From: Tamara Beliak Neumeier [log in to unmask] To: [log in to unmask] Sent: Wednesday, March 18, 2009 10:59 PM Subject: Torah reading website My school gives out CDs to help prepare students to read on Torah reading days. We are looking to have students go to a website instead that could help them practive leining. Does anyone know of a website that helps students with specific Torah readings and has the words and the sounds of leining available online? --Tamara Beliak Solomon Schechter of Westchester Back to top ************************************************ II. Some new online resources From: "Dov Weinstein" <[log in to unmask]> Sent: Thursday, March 19, 2009 11:29 PM Subject: Dov's Torah on the Web Dear Family, Friends, Acquaintances, Etc., I am pleased to share with you my latest little project - an animated summary and insight into half of this week's Torah reading written and narrated by yours truly: www.g-dcast.com For now, it's the front page of the site.=A0 By next week, you'll have = to find me by name below the main video screen. Please feel free to forward the link to anybody you might think might be interested.=A0 I'm hoping to use this as a calling card to break into the lucrative world of Torah narration.=A0 Or voice overs.=A0 Or books-on-tape.=A0 Or whatever. Hope this finds you well, Dov (Weinstein, Tiny Ninja Theater) ----------------------------------------------------- From: Sara Marx [log in to unmask] To: [log in to unmask] Sent: Friday, March 20, 2009 6:31 PM Subject: Pesach Playlist BabagaNewz.com introduces Pesach Playlist, a new activity for you to use in the classroom, and for students to use with their family at the Seder. It is a set of printable bookmarks designed to look like iPods, each of which asks students to learn about and reflect on a different part of the Seder. Bookmark download and ideas about how to use them in the classroom: http://www.babaganewz.com/teachers/index_main.cfm?cat=3D10&sub=3Dplaylist= Pesach lesson plans: http://www.babaganewz.com/teachers/index_main.cfm?cat=3D10&sub=3Dholidays= pesach Also new from BabagaNewz.com this month is a book study guide on A Pickpocket's Tale by Karen Schwabach. The book and the discussion connect with the value of herut/freedom. A Pickpocket's Tale Study Guide: http://www.babaganewz.com/teachers/index_main.cfm?cat=3D10&sub=3D7903less= on Sara Marx Editor | BabagaNewz.com [log in to unmask] Back to top ************************************************ III. Teaching Talmud to non-Talmud students - textbook? From: [log in to unmask] To: [log in to unmask] Sent: Thursday, March 19, 2009 11:13 PM Subject: Teaching Talmud to non-Talmud students - textbook? Dear Shalom! Regarding Teaching Talmud to non-Talmud students - textbook? I waited one week to see if there are any replies regarding Teaching Talmud to non-Talmud students - textbook, I see that there are no replies. Lo shamati eino raya, that is why I refrained from replying right away. Given that in Minsk, Pinsk and Plonsk there were no textbooks, we can well understand why there are no textbooks in N.Y.C or L.A. Talmud is usually taught by Rabbis who were not taught by textbooks, so it is not part of the tradition to teach with textbooks. Some schools and teachers develop their own teaching material. There is a textbook in Hebrew for the "Talmud Latalmid" text. Dr. Tzvika Kanarek Lifshitz College, Jerusalem Back to top ************************************************* IV. Technology education Posted by: Judy Cahn=A0 <[log in to unmask]> Date: March 19, 2009 02:36PM Re: Technology education For our entire parent body we conducted Internet Safety/Cyberbullying workshops. We presented and discussed the social websites and use of digital devices for communication. We explained positives, negatives, filters, controls on these sites. We used video clips (public service announcements) and produced an information pamphlet for parents which I can email at your request. For students, in all grade level computer classes, we spent time discussing appropriate online behavior and digital communication issues -- based on their level of understanding. For more information, feel free to contact me at [log in to unmask] Judy Cahn Technology Specialist Bi-Cultural Day School Stamford, CT Back to top *************************************************** V. Off-list discussion [I have long argued that as valuable as Lookjed discussions are for getting educators to communicate with each other, the conversations that take place off-list are the true indication that virtual relationships can be significant. I rarely am privy to such discussions, but when this one was shared with me, I thought that it might be of interest to others, as well. In a recent post, Gidon Rothstein called for implementation of a set of standards for Jewish education. This call led Yoel Finkelman to question the value of "standards" and initiate a discussion to clarify what the ultimate goal of such a call might be. Although an off-list conversation is, by its nature, less formal that one that appears in a public format, I think that the discussion is a valuable one. Their give-and-take appears below. Shalom] ----- Original Message ----- From: Yoel Finkelman To: [log in to unmask] Sent: Wednesday, March 18, 2009 1:03 PM Subject: your lookjed post Why do you assume that having uniform standards would help?=A0 1) To the extent that there is accountability and standardized testing to determine if standards are met, that is the extent to which creative teachers will be forced to "teach for the test" rather than for understanding.=A0 2) If there are no accountability and standardized tests, then schools might sign a document saying they accept those standards and continue with business as usual.=A0 3) Do you think that, say, Maayanot and SKA should have the same standards? More broadly, could you articulate the link that you see between uniform standards and literacy?=A0 After all, you could have several schools with their own unique and even radically different standards all of whom, or none of whom, are teaching toward literacy. Yoel On Thu, Mar 19, 2009 at 1:46 PM, Gidon Rothstein <[log in to unmask]> wrote: I agree with all the challenges you raise about literacy, which is exactly why I think it requires central authorities at all levels to be pushing for it.=A0 The reason we have to push for it is that it is essential to being an adult Jew, regardless of what anyone may say about the relative value of other goals. I'm not trying to be difficult, either, but Jews are required to learn Chumash (de-oraita, and de-rabanan with either Rashi or Onkelos), they're required to daven using the Siddur (matbea she-tav-u hachamim), to hear the Haftarah, etc.=A0 And they're not required, by the way, to learn Mishnah, Gemara, or Halacha in a textual way. Education, in all societies throughout history, has been about preparing children to be adults in that society-- imagine if Native American children didn't want to learn to hunt or ride horses, found it boring.=A0 We, as a society, need to retool, to realize that it's not ok that we have now, and are raising, generations of Jews who are not able to perform the simplest tasks of Jewish adulthood, with detrimental effects not only on their literacy, but on their religiosity, and on the atmosphere we create in our communities. I, personally, would prefer "stick" kinds of pushing, but we don't have an environment for that (it would be unreasonable, in other words, to ask Israeli yeshivot or YU to refuse to accept students who were illiterate, since they would suffer for it).=A0 But there are plenty of "carrot" ways we can, patiently, recognizing a culture doesn't change instantly, move our communities towards literacy (when R. Aharon Kotler started pushing the Kollel idea, it wasn't easy, either).=A0 Here are a few: What if elementary schools gave up on introducing Siddur in 1st grade, Chumash in 2nd, Rashi in 3rd, Navi in 4th, Mishnah in 5th, and Gemara in 6th, and instead worked on Siddur for two years, introduced Chumash in 3rd and focused on that for a few years, etc.? What if the standard for moving to the next level of learning was demonstrating proficiency in the first text, not the arbitrary push of summer vacation?=A0 Of course, some parents would be offended by the idea that their child wasn't already learning Gemara in 5th grade-- but, as educators, we sometimes need to tell people they're not yet ready for something, or to challenge them to develop the requisite mastery. What if shul rabbis began pushing their Bar and Bat Mitsvah-age congregants to demonstrate proficiency in Chumash and Rashi and Nach and Mishnah, and began extolling that from the pulpit, quietly nudging families away from the pretense that their son or daughter learned an entire Masechet of Gemara?=A0 (By the same token, what if rabbis began doing that with their adult learning in shul-- focusing their derashot on textual issues, highlighting shiurim with real literacy going on, and simply ignoring those shiurim that tried to leapfrog literacy into material for which most congregants aren't ready?) What if Israeli yeshivot, at their interviews, asked students to open a Chumash anywhere (or even a Neviim Rishonim) and start to read and translate? What if YU, instead of pushing a Bekius Initiative focused on a Mesechta of Gemara, focused on Bekius in Chumash and Navi? What if schools insisted their Honors classes be taught Ivrit be-Ivrit? For all of those, if there were also rewards that were not yet attainable until that was done, it would help a lot (a Bar Mitsvah boy can't lain his parsha or haftarah in shul until he can demonstrate that he can not only lain it, but also read and understand it; students can't take AP classes in high school-- college level work-- until they demonstrate high school level proficiency in Jewish texts; YU's Yeshiva Program won't take you in unless you can, etc.) What we promote and value says a great deal about us; just like, in the "right-wing" world, the question asked of a newly engaged young man is "where is he learning?" (which has its own problems, I grant you), we need a world in which we expect and value that our next generation has the skills, interest, and connection to Torah that they can actually read it themselves.=A0 And those who can should be held up as the paragons of what we praise. I agree there are no standardized ways to evaluate literacy, but reading and translating from among a large corpus where the text chosen can't be predicted seems to me a reasonable facsimile of literacy. It is a huge task, and it will involve bringing on board many different stakeholders, and will see many setbacks along the way.=A0 But unless we start, we are not in any way deserving of the title educators, we are simply customer service agents, only within the field of religion rather than consumer products.=A0 If all we can do is help people do what they want anyway, we're not doing anything, and they're not getting from us what they need.=A0 We are failing them and failing the future of Jewry. If you think the list is interested in our conversation, I am happy to have it posted. Thank you for letting me clarify and articulate my thoughts. Gidon ----- Original Message ----- From: Yoel Finkelman To: Gidon Rothstein Sent: Thursday, March 19, 2009 2:53 AM Subject: Re: your lookjed post Thanks for the long and thoughtful response, but I still don't see the value added to standards.=A0 Everybody already agrees that literacy is good (though there is disagreement about how much literacy matters relative to other goals).=A0 Now, at the moment there are various things standing in the way of literacy: parents and students who don't care that much; teachers without the metacognitive skills to articulate what literacy looks like; lack of hours in the schedule; lack of literacy in other things, in an age of instant online gratification; distractions in the school year; the inherent difficulties in teaching difficult texts in a foreign language; those who think that affective goals are more important than literacy and that you can't have both. How do standards change that substantially?=A0 Assuming that a head of school buys in to the standards and does a good job of communicating them to staff and emphasizing their importance, it might help focus teachers a bit, but it is not going to make the other stuff go away. And if the head of school does not buy into the standards or does not do a good job of communicating with teachers, then standards will not make any difference. And, again, if there are real ways of evaluating literacy in a standardized way and if there are consequences for not meeting benchmarks, then we are back in No Child Left Behind (or, as a close friend likes to call it, No Child Left Awake) high-stakes testing that really only tests skills in taking standardized tests, but not mastery.=A0 Look at the bagrut fiasco in Israel for students with above average potential, who are forced to study for the bagrut instead of actually learning. I'm not trying to be difficult, and I am a big literacy fan (do what I can to teach for it), but 1) I'm afraid of educational big shots imposing things on teachers 2) I'm not sure how standardization will fix anything. Yoel On 3/19/09, Gidon Rothstein <[log in to unmask]> wrote: My earlier email might have been a little too confused, so here, in brief is what I think: I seek uniform standards of skills and of some basic sets of knowledge, minimal enough that good teachers won't be forced to teach to the test, but will be guided as to how much ground, at a minimum, must be covered.=A0 (I remember once being told by an elementary school principal that "it couldn't be done" when I said I thought 8th grade graduates should have learned all of Chumash). The link between standards and literacy, then, is that my standards would be to test for literacy -- by certain marker moments in Jewish life, do our students have the skills, knowledge, and attachment to religion that we would hope for/expect? I hope that's clearer, and I look forward to your response. Gidon ----- Original Message ----- From: Yoel Finkelman To: Gidon Rothstein Sent: Thursday, March 19, 2009 6:15 PM Subject: Re: your lookjed post OK.=A0 If what you mean by standards is really a kind of collective cheshbon hanefesh about curriculum and pedagogic tools that results in certain kinds of benchmarks and goals for schools and students to meet, I'm on board. I always wonder in these kinds of situations, whose interests does the status quo serve?=A0 Who latent functions are there in the status quo that will make changing it more difficult? Who benefits from things as they are, both real benefits and perceived benefits (i.e. I MUST send my son to a school where they start Gemara in fifth grade, because...)?=A0 Who might the players be in such a collective cheshbon hanefesh?=A0 Who would be on board, and what would help get reluctant players on board? Back to top ******************************************************************** The Lookjed List is a project of The Rabbi Joseph H. Lookstein Center for Jewish Education in the Diaspora The School of Education Bar Ilan University The Lookjed e-community is supported by generous grants from Dr. Shmuel and Evelyn Katz, Bal Harbour, FL and David and Susan Goldsmith, Riverdale, NY. To leave the list, respond to this message with the word "remove" in the subject line. If you would like to subscribe to Lookjed, go to the on-line form at http://www.lookstein.org/register.htm To post a message, please write us at: [log in to unmask] You can search the Lookjed list archives at http://www.lookstein.org/lookjed The Lookstein Center responds to specific educational queries and reference questions. Write us at [log in to unmask] The Lookstein 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/ Contributions of educational materials or any other suggestions are welcome. Information regarding other Lookstein Center programs may be obtained by writing to: [log in to unmask] ##################################################################### --Boundary_(ID_UIUyOttV7/LBsCPT8GWiVA) Content-type: text/html; charset=windows-1255 Content-transfer-encoding: 7BIT The Lookjed list is a project of the Lookstein Center for Jewish Education. [log in to unmask]">


Topics in this issue:

I. Queries:
     Attending the ASCD conference (Bergman)
     Role of Communal Agencies (Witty)
     Torah reading website (Beliak)
II. Some new online resources (Weinstein, Marx)
III. Teaching Talmud to non-Talmud students - textbook? (Kanarek)
IV. Technology education (Cahn)
V. Off-list discussion (Finkelman, Rothstein)

*************************************************

I. Queries:

From: Michelle Bergman [log in to unmask]
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Wednesday, March 18, 2009 6:22 PM
Subject: Attending the ASCD conference

Dear Shalom,

Having just returned from the annual convention of the Association for
Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD), to which many of us
belong, I wondered ,yet again, why I never meet more than one or maybe
two representatives from the yeshivah world. This is a pre-eminent
convention for those of us in the profession, held from
Saturday-Monday, with excellent preconferences (e.g. the one I
attended was with Robert Marzano) on Friday, over by 3:30.  Even if
one chooses not to attend on Shabbat, there are still hundreds of
sessions and exhibitors on Sun-Mon.

Leaving expense aside, having attended for several years when money
was not the issue, I'd enjoy hearing from a few colleagues around the
country as to why this conference is not a "draw," and which large
conferences they find most beneficial.

Thanks in advance, Michelle Bergman, HALB

Michelle Bergman,
Associate Principal,  General Studies
HALB

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

From: [log in to unmask]
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Wednesday, March 18, 2009 6:47 PM
Subject: Role of Communal Agencies

Recently our community has experienced the significant downsizing of
our Mercaz (formerly called the Board of Jewish Education). One of the
arguments that has been put forward as an explanation for this move
was that there needed to be a change in the way that the community
provides services to individual schools, teachers, parents, and
students.

I would like to hear from Lookjed list members what services are
provided to you, your school, your teachers, and student body by your
local Mercaz-equivalent agency.
My aim is to get an idea a) of those services that need to be
maintained despite the personnel reductions and b) those services
which in your view are much better or more appropriately provided by a
central educational organization.

Responses may be on-list or off-list to [log in to unmask]. In
responding please be so kind as to identify what your educational
role. ("Parent" qualifies as a response, too.)

Thanks for your time.  Chag Kasher V'Sameach!

Sincerely,
Rabbi Avraham A. Witty
Toronto, Canada

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

From: Tamara Beliak Neumeier [log in to unmask]
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Wednesday, March 18, 2009 10:59 PM
Subject: Torah reading website

My school gives out CDs to help prepare students to read on Torah
reading days. We are looking to have students go to a website instead
that could help them practive leining. Does anyone know of a website
that helps students with specific Torah readings and has the words and
the sounds of leining available online?

--Tamara Beliak
Solomon Schechter of Westchester

Back to top

************************************************

II.
Some new online resources

From: "Dov Weinstein" <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Thursday, March 19, 2009 11:29 PM
Subject: Dov's Torah on the Web

Dear Family, Friends, Acquaintances, Etc.,

I am pleased to share with you my latest little project - an animated
summary and insight into half of this week's Torah reading written and
narrated by yours truly:

www.g-dcast.com

For now, it's the front page of the site.  By next week, you'll have to
find me by name below the main video screen.

Please feel free to forward the link to anybody you might think might
be interested.  I'm hoping to use this as a calling card to break into
the lucrative world of Torah narration.  Or voice oversOr
books-on-tape.
  Or whatever.

Hope this finds you well,
Dov (Weinstein, Tiny Ninja Theater)

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

From: Sara Marx [log in to unmask]
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Friday, March 20, 2009 6:31 PM
Subject: Pesach Playlist

BabagaNewz.com introduces Pesach Playlist, a new activity for you to
use in the classroom, and for students to use with their family at the
Seder. It is a set of printable bookmarks designed to look like iPods,
each of which asks students to learn about and reflect on a different
part of the Seder.

Bookmark download and ideas about how to use them in the classroom:
http://www.babaganewz.com/teachers/index_main.cfm?cat=10&sub=playlist

Pesach lesson plans:
http://www.babaganewz.com/teachers/index_main.cfm?cat=10&sub=holidayspesach

Also new from BabagaNewz.com this month is a book study guide on A
Pickpocket's Tale by Karen Schwabach. The book and the discussion
connect with the value of herut/freedom.

A Pickpocket's Tale Study Guide:
http://www.babaganewz.com/teachers/index_main.cfm?cat=10&sub=7903lesson

Sara Marx
Editor | BabagaNewz.com
[log in to unmask]

Back to top

************************************************

III. Teaching Talmud to non-Talmud students - textbook?

From: [log in to unmask]
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Thursday, March 19, 2009 11:13 PM
Subject: Teaching Talmud to non-Talmud students - textbook?


Dear Shalom!
Regarding Teaching Talmud to non-Talmud students - textbook?

I waited one week to see if there are any replies regarding Teaching
Talmud to non-Talmud students - textbook, I see that there are no
replies. Lo shamati eino raya, that is why I refrained from replying
right
away.

Given that in Minsk, Pinsk and Plonsk there were no textbooks, we can
well understand why there are no textbooks in N.Y.C or L.A. Talmud is
usually taught by Rabbis who were not taught by textbooks, so it is
not part of the tradition to teach with textbooks. Some schools and
teachers develop their own teaching material.

There is a textbook in Hebrew for the "Talmud Latalmid" text.

Dr. Tzvika Kanarek
Lifshitz College, Jerusalem

Back to top

*************************************************

IV. Technology education

Posted by: Judy Cahn  <[log in to unmask]>
Date: March 19, 2009 02:36PM
Re: Technology education

For our entire parent body we conducted Internet Safety/Cyberbullying
workshops. We presented and discussed the social websites and use of
digital devices for communication. We explained positives, negatives,
filters, controls on these sites. We used video clips (public service
announcements) and produced an information pamphlet for parents which
I can email at your request. For students, in all grade level computer
classes, we spent time discussing appropriate online behavior and
digital communication issues -- based on their level of understanding.

For more information, feel free to contact me at [log in to unmask]

Judy Cahn
Technology Specialist
Bi-Cultural Day School
Stamford, CT

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V. Off-list discussion

[I have long argued that as valuable as Lookjed discussions are for
getting educators to communicate with each other, the conversations
that take place off-list are the true indication that virtual
relationships can be significant. I rarely am privy to such
discussions, but when this one was shared with me, I thought that it
might be of interest to others, as well.

In a recent post, Gidon Rothstein called for implementation of a set
of standards for Jewish education. This call led Yoel Finkelman to
question the value of "standards" and initiate a discussion to clarify
what the ultimate goal of such a call might be.

Although an off-list conversation is, by its nature, less formal that
one that appears in a public format, I think that the discussion is a
valuable one. Their give-and-take appears below.

Shalom]


----- Original Message -----
From: Yoel Finkelman
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Wednesday, March 18, 2009 1:03 PM
Subject: your lookjed post

Why do you assume that having uniform standards would help?  1) To the
extent that there is accountability and standardized testing to
determine if standards are met, that is the extent to which creative
teachers will be forced to "teach for the test" rather than for
understanding.  2) If there are no accountability and standardized
tests, then schools might sign a document saying they accept those
standards and continue with business as usual.  3) Do you think that,
say, Maayanot and SKA should have the same standards?

More broadly, could you articulate the link that you see between
uniform standards and literacy?  After all, you could have several
schools with their own unique and even radically different standards
all of whom, or none of whom, are teaching toward literacy.

Yoel


On Thu, Mar 19, 2009 at 1:46 PM, Gidon Rothstein
<[log in to unmask]> wrote:

I agree with all the challenges you raise about literacy, which is
exactly why I think it requires central authorities at all levels to
be pushing for it.  The reason we have to push for it is that it is
essential to being an adult Jew, regardless of what anyone may say
about the relative value of other goals.

I'm not trying to be difficult, either, but Jews are required to learn
Chumash (de-oraita, and de-rabanan with either Rashi or Onkelos),
they're required to daven using the Siddur (matbea she-tav-u
hachamim),
to hear the Haftarah, etc.  And they're not required, by
the way, to learn Mishnah, Gemara, or Halacha in a textual way.
Education, in all societies throughout history, has been about
preparing children to be adults in that society-- imagine if Native
American children didn't want to learn to hunt or ride horses, found
it boring.  We, as a society, need to retool, to realize that it's not
ok that we have now, and are raising, generations of Jews who are not
able to perform the simplest tasks of Jewish adulthood, with
detrimental effects not only on their literacy, but on their
religiosity, and on the atmosphere we create in our communities.

I, personally, would prefer "stick" kinds of pushing, but we don't
have an environment for that (it would be unreasonable, in other
words, to ask Israeli yeshivot or YU to refuse to accept students who
were illiterate, since they would suffer for it).  But there are
plenty of "carrot" ways we can, patiently, recognizing a culture
doesn't change instantly, move our communities towards literacy (when
R. Aharon Kotler started pushing the Kollel idea, it wasn't easy,
either).  Here are a few:

What if elementary schools gave up on introducing Siddur in 1st grade,
Chumash in 2nd, Rashi in 3rd, Navi in 4th, Mishnah in 5th, and Gemara
in 6th, and instead worked on Siddur for two years, introduced Chumash
in 3rd and focused on that for a few years, etc.? What if the standard
for moving to the next level of learning was demonstrating proficiency
in the first text, not the arbitrary push of summer vacation?  Of
course, some parents would be offended by the idea that their child
wasn't already learning Gemara in 5th grade-- but, as educators, we
sometimes need to tell people they're not yet ready for something, or
to challenge them to develop the requisite mastery.

What if shul rabbis began pushing their Bar and Bat Mitsvah-age
congregants to demonstrate proficiency in Chumash and Rashi and Nach
and Mishnah, and began extolling that from the pulpit, quietly nudging
families away from the pretense that their son or daughter learned an
entire Masechet of Gemara?  (By the same token, what if rabbis began
doing that with their adult learning in shul-- focusing their derashot
on textual issues, highlighting shiurim with real literacy going on,
and simply ignoring those shiurim that tried to leapfrog literacy into
material for which most congregants aren't ready?)

What if Israeli yeshivot, at their interviews, asked students to open
a Chumash anywhere (or even a Neviim Rishonim) and start to read and
translate?

What if YU, instead of pushing a Bekius Initiative focused on a
Mesechta of Gemara, focused on Bekius in Chumash and Navi?

What if schools insisted their Honors classes be taught Ivrit be-Ivrit?

For all of those, if there were also rewards that were not yet
attainable until that was done, it would help a lot (a Bar Mitsvah boy
can't lain his parsha or haftarah in shul until he can demonstrate
that he can not only lain it, but also read and understand it;
students can't take AP classes in high school-- college level work--
until they demonstrate high school level proficiency in Jewish texts;
YU's Yeshiva Program won't take you in unless you can, etc.)

What we promote and value says a great deal about us; just like, in
the "right-wing" world, the question asked of a newly engaged young
man is "where is he learning?" (which has its own problems, I grant
you), we need a world in which we expect and value that our next
generation has the skills, interest, and connection to Torah that they
can actually read it themselves.  And those who can should be held up
as the paragons of what we praise.

I agree there are no standardized ways to evaluate literacy, but
reading and translating from among a large corpus where the text
chosen can't be predicted seems to me a reasonable facsimile of
literacy.

It is a huge task, and it will involve bringing on board many
different stakeholders, and will see many setbacks along the way.  But
unless we start, we are not in any way deserving of the title
educators, we are simply customer service agents, only within the
field of religion rather than consumer products.  If all we can do is
help people do what they want anyway, we're not doing anything, and
they're not getting from us what they need.  We are failing them and
failing the future of Jewry.

If you think the list is interested in our conversation, I am happy to
have it posted. Thank you for letting me clarify and articulate my
thoughts. Gidon


----- Original Message -----
From: Yoel Finkelman
To: Gidon Rothstein
Sent: Thursday, March 19, 2009 2:53 AM
Subject: Re: your lookjed post

Thanks for the long and thoughtful response, but I still don't see the
value added to standards.  Everybody already agrees that literacy is
good (though there is disagreement about how much literacy matters
relative to other goals).  Now, at the moment there are various things
standing in the way of literacy: parents and students who don't care
that much; teachers without the metacognitive skills to articulate
what literacy looks like; lack of hours in the schedule; lack of
literacy in other things, in an age of instant online gratification;
distractions in the school year; the inherent difficulties in teaching
difficult texts in a foreign language; those who think that affective
goals are more important than literacy and that you can't have both.
How do standards change that substantially?  Assuming that a head of
school buys in to the standards and does a good job of communicating
them to staff and emphasizing their importance, it might help focus
teachers a bit, but it is not going to make the other stuff go away.
And if the head of school does not buy into the standards or does not
do a good job of communicating with teachers, then standards will not
make any difference.

And, again, if there are real ways of evaluating literacy in a
standardized way and if there are consequences for not meeting
benchmarks, then we are back in No Child Left Behind (or, as a close
friend likes to call it, No Child Left Awake) high-stakes testing that
really only tests skills in taking standardized tests, but not
mastery.  Look at the bagrut fiasco in Israel for students with above
average potential, who are forced to study for the bagrut instead of
actually learning.

I'm not trying to be difficult, and I am a big literacy fan (do what I
can to teach for it), but 1) I'm afraid of educational big shots
imposing things on teachers 2) I'm not sure how standardization will
fix anything.

Yoel


On 3/19/09, Gidon Rothstein <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

My earlier email might have been a little too confused, so here, in
brief is what I think:

I seek uniform standards of skills and of some basic sets of
knowledge, minimal enough that good teachers won't be forced to teach
to the test, but will be guided as to how much ground, at a minimum,
must be covered.  (I remember once being told by an elementary school
principal that "it couldn't be done" when I said I thought 8th grade
graduates should have learned all of Chumash).

The link between standards and literacy, then, is that my standards
would be to test for literacy -- by certain marker moments in Jewish
life, do our students have the skills, knowledge, and attachment to
religion that we would hope for/expect?

I hope that's clearer, and I look forward to your response. Gidon


----- Original Message -----
From: Yoel Finkelman
To: Gidon Rothstein
Sent: Thursday, March 19, 2009 6:15 PM
Subject: Re: your lookjed post

OK.  If what you mean by standards is really a kind of collective
cheshbon hanefesh about curriculum and pedagogic tools that results in
certain kinds of benchmarks and goals for schools and students to
meet, I'm on board. I always wonder in these kinds of situations,
whose interests does the status quo serve?  Who latent functions are
there in the status quo that will make changing it more difficult? Who
benefits from things as they are, both real benefits and perceived
benefits
(i.e. I MUST send my son to a school where they start Gemara
in fifth grade, because...)?  Who might the players be in such a
collective cheshbon hanefesh?  Who would be on board, and what would
help get reluctant players on board?

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Contributions of educational materials or any other suggestions are welcome.

Information regarding other Lookstein Center programs may be obtained by writing to: [log in to unmask] ##################################################################### --Boundary_(ID_UIUyOttV7/LBsCPT8GWiVA)-- ========================================================================= Date: Wed, 25 Mar 2009 09:54:09 +0000 Reply-To: [log in to unmask] Sender: lookjed list <[log in to unmask]> From: Shalom Berger <[log in to unmask]> Organization: "Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan, Israel " Subject: Creative Responses to Educational Challenges - Uri L'Tzedek Comments: To: [log in to unmask] MIME-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: TEXT/PLAIN; charset=US-ASCII The Lookjed list is a project of the Lookstein Center for Jewish Education. An occasional Lookjed feature has been what I call "Creative Responses to Educational Challenges." In the past they have included such initiatives as - The Torah miTzion Kollel program - http://lookstein.org/lookjed/read.php?1,13437 Spiritual education - http://lookstein.org/lookjed/read.php?1,4323,4324#msg-4324 and Teaching Mishnah - http://lookstein.org/lookjed/read.php?1,4323,4573#msg-4573 I have asked Shmuly Yanklowitz to present a program that he has spearheaded and would like to share with the day school community. I welcome responses from educators to this initiative. Shalom ******************************************************************* Creative Responses to Educational Challenges - Uri L'Tzedek Shmuly Yanklowitz Uri L'Tzedek is an Orthodox social justice organization guided by Torah values and dedicated to combating suffering and oppression. Through community based education, leadership development and action, Uri L'Tzedek creates discourse, inspires leaders, and empowers the Jewish community towards creating a more just world. http://uriltzedek.webnode.com/ [log in to unmask] It has been observed that Orthodox Judaism is becoming more and more parochial, advocating only for causes that are close to home (Israel advocacy, fighting anti-Semitism, school vouchers, etc.). Certainly these issues are important, but for younger generations of Jews, who don't hold the survival fears that their parents and grandparents held, there is a craving for new meaning. Serving as an Ohr L'Goyim (a light to the nations) as teachers and activists for global peace and justice is a lost discourse in contemporary American Orthodoxy. Young religious Jews want to reclaim and reinvent those models in a new globalized interconnected society. Countless students in Jewish day schools are turned off by what they perceive as the irrelevancy of their educations to what they care most about. Yes, they leave knowing berakhot (blessings), the laws of how to build a sukkah, and how the Tabernacle was built but they are clueless about what Judaism can offer on topics such as universal health care, environmentalism, domestic worker rights, immigration issues, statute of limitations, business ethics, poverty alleviation, as examples. Additionally the discourse has narrowed, making halakhah the only language and lens for asking difficult questions about society. The Torah has a very broad and universalistic message in addition to our particular legal worldview. How can we bring that inspiration and charge into classrooms, into informal education, and into the streets? How irresponsible would it be to not train a student that is under our tutelage to thrive in the world and not to ensure that they are equipped with the skills of integrating their Jewish values with contemporary issues or that they are trained in methods of creating social change to live their values in a meaningful way. In a world where 1 billion people (1/6th of the world?s population) live on $1 a day and 2 billion people (1/3rd of the world?s population) live on $2 a day, our Jewish voices are needed now more than ever to protest the injustices. Learning these values and living these values must begin in early Jewish education. Orthodox college students have been joining pluralistic organizations to engage as global citizens. These students are working on service projects in developing countries with American Jewish World Service (www.ajws.org) and on domestic year-long projects with Avodah (www.avodah.net), to give two examples. It is great to have Jews of different denominations working together on crucial issues but there should also be options grown out of the Orthodox community itself. Additionally, models for service in the community are often limited to chesed (one-time acts) at the exclusion of tzedek (strategies that are systemic, sustainable, and complex). Many young Jews have been turned off from activism and volunteerism due to its overly simplistic nature. They want more than bikkur cholim (visiting the sick), soup kitchens, and shalach manot (gifts given on Purim). Those mitzvot are vital to our education and daily lives, of course, but they do not inspire Jewish leadership or systemic change. Rav Ahron Soloveichik discussed tzedek with a language of "rights" in "Civil Rights and the Dignity of Man" as something crucial and enduring. Thinking politically, systemically, and creatively about how to respond to oppression and injustice is the main thrust of the ethos of the Torah and of Chazal. Additionally, Orthodox Judaism has been lacking serious accountability in how its enterprises are operating. The Rubashkins case and Madoff scandal have shown us that we need to be watchdogs for ourselves to ensure that the Halakhic community, and Jewish community at large, is not perpetuating injustice in the world at the least and is optimally setting a paradigmatic high moral standard. Regarding transparency, Uri L'Tzedek is launching the Tav HaYosher to certify kosher restaurants that meet legal standards. This is only one crucial step of many to be taken to ensure that we are taking responsibility for our own communal dollars and institutions. So these are the challenges we face: 1. How to create a new discourse and activism that is effective and inspiring for young Jews. 2. How to infuse the ethics of the Torah and the laws of Choshen Mishpat into great collective efforts to perpetuate justice in the world. 3. How to create more internal transparency and accountability for Orthodox leadership and businesses. 4. How can this social justice activism be unique to the needs and talents of Orthodox Judaism (resources, types of halakhic and values discourse, etc.) These trends are beginning to change. Shifra Bronznick, (http://www.jewcy.com/user/2956/bronznick), recently argued that three major factors have sparked an increased interest in young Orthodox engagement in social justice: Darfur , Rubashkins, and the plethora of non-denominational Jewish social justice organizations inclusive to Orthodox students. It seems that the first may touch upon our Jewish national collective history and conscience (the Shoah), the second is a desire for increased internal moral accountability, and the third is the demonstration of an enhanced passion for universal justice through an inclusive Jewish framework. These are great reasons to engage! Of course, not all of the movement has come from outside of the Orthodox community though. This said, these students not privy to a strong education in civic duties and social justice can come to feel far behind. Orthodox students arrive on college campuses after a year in Israel and find that they have few tools to discuss the most fascinating issues of contemporary politics or of social change like so many non-Orthodox students have. It is the belief of Uri L'Tzedek that Torah and the guarders of its laws and teachings have a tremendous amount to offer to contemporary thought and activism. It is for this reason that Uri L?Tzedek has introduced a three-pronged approach for inspiring the Orthodox Jewish community to become activists for justice. 1. Education 2. Leadership Development 3. Actions In education, Uri L'Tzedek provides dynamic education for teens, teaches on college campuses throughout the country, offers batei midrash for young professionals, and holds yamei iyun in synagogues. A typical "beit midrash" that Uri L'Tzedek leads will have a central social justice theme (health care, domestic abuse, poverty, ethical kashrut, tenant rights, etc.) and attracts between 25-60 Modern Orthodox attendees at each beit midrash. There are 4 different components: 1. Shiur : high-level learning from Chumash, Talmud, Halakhah, and Jewish philosophy. 2. Issues scholar: Someone who works in policy, an academic, or an activist. 3. Spiritual chavruta: Personal sharing about how the learners experience this topic. 4. An Encounter with "The Other": Someone directly affected by the issue who can share personal anecdotes and experiences. Batei Midrash always have the first three components but do not always necessarily have the fourth component (the encounter). The leaders are strict to always keep these programs to one hour and 20 minutes (no longer) to respect the time constraints upon our learners with full-time work schedules. In leadership development, Uri L'Tzedek mentors grassroots activists and empowers young leaders to act on their convictions. For example, there is a student at SAR High School that has received a grant from Uri L'Tzedek and who we mentor in his "Micro-Consulting" project in Riverdale. Similarly, we mentor many Yeshiva College and Stern College students, along with students at 15-20 other campuses around the country, who are craving outlets to create serious social change. A recent case: A YU student realized that her university was not providing a location for the cafeteria workers to eat their lunches (only the bathroom or the street) since they did not keep kosher. Under Uri L'Tzedek's mentorship, a student began to organize her fellow students. While the problem has not been resolved, she was able to attain a temporary room where workers could eat in for that semester on certain days and at certain times. This was a big first victory for her. This is one example of many where college students are looking for training and mentorship in creating change on their campuses and beyond. Uri L?Tzedek has at least 10 college fellows coming to New York for a summer of training, learning, and organizing for change. Seeking to empower women and to empower young people is a part of the necessary decentralization of power that Orthodox Judaism needs in order to thrive, where all of its members can grow and contribute based on their unique passions and talents. In our actions focus, we believe that our learning must be transformed into action on behalf of the other. We do community organizing, political advocacy, demonstrations and rallies, fundraise, micro-lending to poor families in villages in the developing world, lead boycotts, and direct service. How can we better teach the midot of spiritual activism? How can we inspire with the spirituality of perpetuating justice into the world? How can we be more eclectic in the types of discourse that we include into our religious Jewish identities? How can we continue to support Israel and local Jews in countless ways while also going beyond our own communities to assist all types of people of need? How can day schools best integrate our curricula into their programs? Uri L'Tzedek has now existed for two years and has reached thousands of learners and activists. The organization now has full-time staff, hundreds of activist partners, thousands of supporters, nation-wide educational programming, and global projects. We would like to begin thinking about how we can best assist Jewish educators, particularly in day schools, in their work to make their teaching relevant to current issues, to inspire leadership and service, and to facilitate deeper level thinking about our distinct civic engagement as religious Jews. Shmuly Yanklowitz [log in to unmask] http://uriltzedek.webnode.com/ ******************************************************************** The Lookjed List is a project of The Rabbi Joseph H. Lookstein Center for Jewish Education in the Diaspora The School of Education Bar Ilan University The Lookjed e-community is supported by generous grants from Dr. Shmuel and Evelyn Katz, Bal Harbour, FL and David and Susan Goldsmith, Riverdale, NY. To leave the list, respond to this message with the word "remove" in the subject line. If you would like to subscribe to Lookjed, go to the on-line form at http://www.lookstein.org/register.htm To post a message, please write us at: [log in to unmask] You can search the Lookjed list archives at http://www.lookstein.org/lookjed The Lookstein Center responds to specific educational queries and reference questions. Write us at [log in to unmask] The Lookstein 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/ Contributions of educational materials or any other suggestions are welcome. Information regarding other Lookstein Center programs may be obtained by writing to: [log in to unmask] ##################################################################### ========================================================================= Date: Mon, 30 Mar 2009 00:49:49 +0300 Reply-To: [log in to unmask] Sender: lookjed list <[log in to unmask]> From: Shalom Berger <[log in to unmask]> Subject: Lookjed Digest XI:46 Comments: To: [log in to unmask] Mime-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: text/plain; charset="ISO-8859-1" Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bit The Lookjed list is a project of the Lookstein Center for Jewish Education. Topic in this issue: Responses to "Creative responses to educational challenges – Uri LeTzedek" Kapustin, Hammer-Kossoy, Lubetski , Kohl, Wolkenfeld ****************************************** I have received a number of interesting responses to the Uri LeTzedek presentation that I shared on-list last week. I welcome further comments on this suggestion. We will return to our "regularly scheduled programming in the next Lookjed. Shalom ******************************************* Responses to "Creative responses to educational challenges – Uri LeTzedek" From: Sam Kapustin [log in to unmask] To: Shalom Berger Sent: Sunday, March 22, 2009 11:51 PM Dear Shalom: Thank you for including me as a respondent to the Uri l'Tzedek paper. From an educational perspective, the pursuit of tikkun olam, which is basically what this is, in all Jewish educational settings is laudable and justifiable. Among the issues that it raises, as in all such proposals, are: 1) How does it relate to our general educational goals and objectives? 2) What are the motivations that underlie the proposal, and are they in consonance with those of the School? 3) Are the specific suggestions for implementation realistic and achievable? The author makes a number of assumptions about the lack of success in Orthodoxy and especially in our high schools. Without debating these in depth, one can agree with the need to demonstrate that the halakhic system can and does provide a meaningful and spiritually inspiring system without implying that all students are "craving for new meaning" or are frustrated by "the irrelevancy of their educations." In other words, it is not necessary to engage in self-righteous hyperbole in order to question whether or not we are doing enough to illustrate the ethical significance of what we teach. Similarly, he implies that by focusing on ritual observance and text study, schools are promoting a legalistic and rigid Orthodoxy that cannot fail to push our students away from Orthodoxy, if not Judaism itself. I do not believe that the situation is so dire or our failure so complete. It is at least possible that part of the impetus for the increased involvement of Orthodox students that we have recently witnessed is a result of the very learning and experiences that these students have had at these same schools. All this being said, there is also little doubt that Jewish educators, both Orthodox and not, are faced with the challenge of relating in a meaningful way what schools teach and do to the daily lives of their students. The question, therefore, is not whether social action/tikkun olam has a place, but what that place should be within the broad Jewish educational goals of the school. For example, I would suggest that the social action that is being sought should be viewed only as a positive outcome of a much more significant goal. If, for example, we teach the first perek of Masechet Kiddushin, we should not be satisfied if students know "only" the intricacies of the marriage ceremony and the legal obligations of husband toward wife, but also the ethical underpinnings inherent in these legal requirements, as has recently been demonstrated by Dov Berkovits in his SheAsani Gever. In other words, the ethical dimensions of the halakha should not be viewed as a secondary adjunct to the educational halakhic enterprise, but central to it. If such issues are integrated organically into Orthodox education, if the focus remains on what the text really teaches in its entirety and if the connection between the legal and the ethical becomes as natural in the classroom as the definitions of the av melachot, "social action" will become normal and inevitable. This will be true, because we will have anchored the type of behaviour that Uri L'Tzedek seeks in our sources and traditions. If, however, social action becomes an end in itself, divorced from its ideological roots in the halakha, if the focus is on the act and not on its justification and if the purpose of our education becomes almost exclusively bein adam lahavero, without proper focus on bein adam lamakom, all our social action will become indistinguishable from that of the non-Jewish world. It will lack a coherent foundation and a consistent rationale. As yesterday homosexuality was bad and today it is good, so Darfur is the present flavour of the month but may lose its attraction on the morrow. We need only review the evolution of "ethical" attitudes to the Arab-Israeli conflict to appreciate the relativistic capriciousness of ethical motivations in our time. Additionally, I am somewhat troubled by the non-educational agenda that seems to permeate the proposal. I was not aware that schools' objectives include "the necessary decentralization of power that Orthodox Judaism needs in order to thrive." Let us be careful not to confuse the political with the educational. Let us indeed "empower" , but in this manner, that all young Jews be able to explore, discover and develop their religious identity, but without political or ideological preconceptions. Jewish adolescents and young adults need to be aware of the dynamic nature of the halakha and of all Jewish tradition, so that they may decide on their own how it can become manifest in our troubled world. The degree to which this must be done, the relative obligations to fellow Jews and to non-Jews and the extent to which precious school time should be devoted to these goals are just a few of the fundamental questions at which the proposal only hints. For example, professional educators may not have the same luxury as Uri L'Tzedek to issue broad manifestos. We are responsible for what happens each minute in each of our classrooms, and we must weigh how those minutes are utilized. Yet, in truth, we also do not have the luxury to ignore the challenge that this dedicated group of idealists presents to us. Samuel Kapustin Director of Jewish Studies Tanenbaum Community Hebrew Academy of Toronto ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------- From: Meesh Hammer-Kossoy [log in to unmask] To: [log in to unmask] Sent: Friday, March 27, 2009 12:29 PM Subject: Re: Creative Responses to Educational Challenges - Uri L'Tzedek Yasher Koah to Shmuly and the whole Uri LeTzedek team on their outstanding initiative, invaluable both for its educational impact and for the change it brings in its wake. I have long been puzzled and troubled by the insular approach of the Orthodox community toward these issues. In the Social Justice track that I directed at Machon Pardes this year, I was stunned to find that while for non-Orthodox Jews it is a truism that the core purpose of Judaism is tikkun olam, Orthodox students seemed to have little sense that social justice is a deep value beyond what they experience as the isolated concepts of tzedakah and hessed. In my mind, especially for those of us living in Israel, one of the major contributions of the Modern Orthodox worldview over that of the Ultra-Orthodox is that we as a community have a stake in -- and something to say about -- what goes on beyond the isolated borders of our shuls and schools. Judaism has something to say about every aspect of human existence, not just kosher slaughter and religious education. Uri LeTzedek and the Pardes Social Justice Track are just two of a number of such initiatives of recent years, including the BeMaaglei Tzedek's Tav Hevrati, Rabbanei Tzohar, and Bet Morashah's Bet Midrash LeTzedek Hevrati. There is grave doubt, however, whether or not these projects can begin to compensate for the damage done to the image of Orthodox Judaism by the Agriprocessors and Madoff scandals. I wonder if the Orthodox community is doing enough to respond to the moral blemish left on us by these scandals? Can we expect anyone to want to be Orthodox, if this is what we produce? Are we so afraid of looking like the liberal movements that we are willing to abandon the flag of social justice to them, despite the impact their work and its power to inspire Jewish identity? Meesh Hammer-Kossoy, Ph.D. Director of Social Justice Track Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies www.pardes.org.il ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------- From: Rabbi Uriel Lubetski [log in to unmask] To: Shalom Berger Sent: Sunday, March 22, 2009 7:23 PM Many schools have a community service component to their requirements. In our school we require 18 hours a year. What a student does to fulfill those hours varies greatly. Some students perform meaningful community service projects such as visiting an older person and reading to them throughout the year while others find less meaningful projects. We as school administrators and teachers are always looking to find projects for our students. Creating and implementing meaningful projects could be helpful to the school. Furthermore, creating a forum for students to share their experiences and what they gained from the projects could be useful. Lastly, discussion of the Jewish values found in Jewish sources that these projects demonstrate will be impactful for students. Unfortunately, with cuts in staffing, we find it difficult to assign a staff member to find meaningful projects, lead discussions with students on their projects, and teach the Jewish sources relating to tikkun olam. This organization could be helpful in these three areas. Focusing on the ‘traditional’ community service projects like soup kitchens, mishloach manot to the Jewish poor, or assisting the Jewish elderly is not as ‘glamorous’ as focusing on global peace and justice. However, if our students were to find more meaning in their ‘traditional’ service projects it will engender a sense of obligation which will translate in their college years and beyond into more activism on global peace and justice. Rabbi Uriel Lubetski, Principal MS/HS Yeshivat Rambam / Maimonides Academy 6300 Park Heights Avenue Baltimore, MD 21215 [log in to unmask] http://www.yrambam.org ---------------------------------------------------------------- From: [log in to unmask] To: [log in to unmask] Sent: Tuesday, March 24, 2009 3:31 AM Subject:Uri L’Tzedek I read with interest the impassioned rhetoric of Shmuly Yanklowitz as he discussed Uri L'Tzedek. He frames what he sees as ‘the problem’ using a somewhat narrow view of Jewish day school activism. And as a Jewish educator for over three decades, I view this program and its promises as both helpful and detrimental to the growth of Jewish day school students. Yanklowitz declares that: “Serving as an Ohr L’Goyim (a light to the nations) as teachers and activists for global peace and justice is a lost discourse in contemporary American Orthodoxy. Young religious Jews want to reclaim and reinvent those models in a new globalized interconnected society. Countless students in Jewish day schools are turned off by what they perceive as the irrelevancy of their educations to what they care most about.” I speak from experience in a few Jewish day schools and from knowledge about the teaching practices of some of the teachers in each of those schools. My colleagues and I have taught students to think of themselves as Jews who are both concerned about fellow Jews and concerned about their role as exemplars to the rest of the world. The students Yanklowitz may be referring to, who grumble about the irrelevance of their education, are usually those who find Halacha irrelevant to the way of life they wish to live. These disgruntled students are not searching for a way to link fighting for workers rights with what they are learning in Talmud class. Yankelowitz continues: “How irresponsible would it be to not train a student that is under our tutelage to thrive in the world and not to ensure that they are equipped with the skills of integrating their Jewish values with contemporary issues or that they are trained in methods of creating social change to live their values in a meaningful way.” Mr. Yanklowitz may not have visited high schools where community service hours are required for graduation. Those service hours can be logged for Jewish and non-Jewish causes. He may not have joined a student lobbying group on Capitol Hill, made up of students attending the Panim el Panim Leadership Training Conference in Washington, DC. Jewish day school educators are already providing understanding of civic responsibility and opportunities for our students to see themselves as citizens of their country. As a Jewish educator I have arranged for a group of students to help clean up a local nature preserve; I organized/chaperoned a group of students who helped run a rally and organize a postcard writing campaign for victims in Darfur; I supervised students who served lunch at a non-denominational senior center. Schools where I have worked have raised money for a cancer society, a homeless shelter, and did a book drive for a low income day care center in a depressed neighborhood. These organizations were not run under Jewish auspices. These were in addition to events focused on doing chesed for Jewish causes. When Mr. Yanklowitz indicates that “Orthodox college students have been joining pluralistic organizations to engage as global citizens… but there should also be options grown out of the Orthodox community itself…” I believe he is looking at a narrow group of Jewish day schools. Jewish day schools where I have worked have laid groundwork and when students get to college they are continuing to serve. Mr. Yanklowitz enumerates what he hopes Uri L’Tzedek can do in Jewish day schools. He says: “So these are the challenges we face…” My view on the challenges is a little different. I have reviewed countless community service hours done by students and tallied the proceeds of impassioned fundraising efforts. Truthfully, the majority was for Jewish causes. I often felt that we Jewish educators were doing a good job, teaching our students to care for fellow Jews – an outgrowth of the Torah imperative to take care of family/community first. What disappoints me is that when students leave the Jewish day school they don’t carry that imperative with them. My collection of anecdotal information indicates that there are not that many on-campus activists for Israel or leaders and volunteers at Hillel. The alumni associations at various day schools lament that they have trouble building a strong donor base from their alumni. Does Mr. Yanklowitz want to draw Jewish students away from fundamental responsibility to community? First we need to inculcate in our students the basic idea that Jewish activism for Jewish causes is needed, Jewish causes can be glamorous, and they are a way of working towards tikun olam. Chaye Kohl --------------------------------------------------------------------------- From: "David Wolkenfeld" <[log in to unmask]> To: <[log in to unmask]> Sent: Wednesday, March 25, 2009 5:14 AM Subject: Uri L'Tzedek and Creative Challenges in Education Shmuly, Thank you for inviting me to comment on your excellent essay. I have three quick points: If you are correct and the values and social justice work that Uri L’Tzedek advocates is an integral component of Judaism and a demand of the Torah, then its educational benefits are somewhat beside the point. We have a responsibility as a community to enact the social initiatives of the Torah and embody in our communal life the ethical priorities of the Torah. The educational effects of that work is secondary. Princeton is a more conservative campus politically than most other Ivy League universities and a substantial percentage of our Orthodox students here are politically right-wing. I have been sensitive to that fact when I teach and I was anxious that the presentation that Uri L’Tzedek’s R. Ari Weiss gave on campus, when he was our guest for Shabbat, would be broad enough to encompass students with diverse political opinions. R. Weiss did a wonderful job of putting together a presentation that was extremely focused, containing a great deal of moral clarity, and yet broad enough to include students with different political opinions. There is a danger that a group such as Uri L’Tzedek will either become a narrow propaganda mouthpiece for a “religious left” or be so inclusive in its message of a broad swath of the political spectrum that its message becomes banal and irrelevant. If we believe that Jewish tradition contains a unique approach to contemporary social justice questions, it should be possible to express that approach in language that is sharp and focused, but also politically neutral. The Torah may have a vision for just human interactions in a just society, people will differ in the political approach to achieve those ends. Finally, Uri L’Tzedek has modeled its focus on the wonderful Israeli organization B’Ma’aglei Tzedek, but like its Israeli sister organization, Uri L’Tzedek has not, to my knowledge, ever attempted to wrestle with the moral and social justice implications of the Arab - Israeli conflict etc. I can easily see why each organization has chosen not to add their voice to an already crowded, loud, and strident public discourse - but the absence means that each organization has nothing to say about the most acute moral questions facing Jews today. The extant public discourse is increasingly polarized. Defenders of Israel, for example, reject out of hand the possibility that Israel or Israelis could cross moral redlines in the course of the conflict or, more disturbingly, accept the truth of war crime allegations and defend the indefensible. On the other hand, much of the liberal world can no longer conceive, under any circumstances, of an Israel existing as a Jewish and Democratic state in peace and justice. Rabbi Menachem Schrader once remarked that those who came of age in the era of the Six Day War, to this day, have a different perspective on the religious significance of Israel than those who came of age during the Yom Kippur War. The Oslo years (1993-2000) took place during my own formative teenage years and I retain a vision of Israel as a nation heroically searching for peace that is a legacy of those years. My students’ teenage years were filled with the increasingly desperate and increasingly violent years of the second intifada and its aftermath. There are many young Jews who love Israel, who have spent months or years of their lives living in Israel, and who are shaken to the core by recent allegations of misconduct during the recent Gaza War - to take only one contemporary example. It would be a project of incalculable value if religious Jewry could formulate and articulate a coherent moral response to the ethical challenges of warfare, statehood, and counter-terrorism without simplistically translating a priori political opinions into moralizing language. David Wolkenfeld Director of the Jewish Learning Initiative on Campus (JLIC) at Princeton University JLIC is a partnership between the Orthodox Union and Hillel ******************************************************************** The Lookjed List is a project of The Rabbi Joseph H. Lookstein Center for Jewish Education in the Diaspora The School of Education Bar Ilan University The Lookjed e-community is supported by generous grants from Dr. Shmuel and Evelyn Katz, Bal Harbour, FL and David and Susan Goldsmith, Riverdale, NY. To leave the list, respond to this message with the word "remove" in the subject line. 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