Mifgashim Volume 8 Issue 60


1.	Resource for Pesach Seder Preparations

2.	Professional Development Opportunities
a.	Siegal College Summer Institute for Teachers
b.	Jim Joseph Foundation Fellowships

3.	Responses:  Beating the Midwinter Blues (Liberman)

4.	Marshall Memo:  Personal Ethics, not just Social Activism


1.	Resource for Pesach Seder Preparations

Rabbi Menachem Leibtag has excellent material that can be used to prepare for one’s 
Pesach seder.  See

We will not be publishing Mifgashim the rest of this week.

Chag Kasher V’sameach,
Lee Buckman


2.	Professional Development Opportunities

Announcing the Siegal College Summer Institute Moreh L'Morim :  An Educator's Guide to 
Perplexing Times will be held at Siegal College in Cleveland from August 9-12.   

The four day conference features such outstanding, national educators as Vicky Kelman 
and the staff of the Teva Center for Judaism and Ecology as well as the full resources of 
Siegal College and the Cleveland Jewish community. Participants can choose 4-day 
intensive tracks of study including evaluating our own teaching, educational outreach to 
young families, and effective teaching of contemporary moral dilemmas. 

Additional learning opportunities include a broad range of Jewish studies content and 
Jewish education sessions. Participants can also elect to participate in a single day of 
Jewish learning and professional development.   Evening cultural and recreational 
activities will be available as well as ongoing opportunities for networking with other 
Jewish educators from communities across the country. 

For more information contact: Professor Jeffrey Schein [log in to unmask]
216-464-4050 x123.


Jim Joseph Foundation Fellowships:  Leading Educators Online sponsored by the Lookstein 
Center for Jewish Education.

This is a two-year professional development experience that will provide participants with 
leadership development, enriched Jewish learning, and in-depth training in how to build 
online communities of practice.

Fourteen select participants will be accepted for the first cohort and will participate in the 
fellowship from October 2009 through April 2011 while they continue in their current 

Participating Fellows will receive an annual stipend of $10,000 for each of the two years 
of the program, in addition to travel, room and board at the seminars and retreats.

For more information or to nominate a candidate, go to  

Direct applications are not accepted.  Fellows must be nominated.  Applications are due 
May 15, 2009.  Applications will receive notification by June 30, 2009.

If you have questions, email [log in to unmask] or call 1-914-233-3944.


2.	Responses:  Beating the Midwinter Blues (Liberman)

Oh, the dreaded midwinter blues.  If only they would go away!! I very much enjoyed your 
ideas/suggestions, and being a teacher, I had to sort and prioritize them.

Since psychologists tell us that a sense of security is needed along with the basics of 
survival, I felt that # 8, reassuring the teachers about their status for the following year, 
is of major importance. That midyear boast of recognition of work accomplished and 
security for next year would go a long way.

I always personally look at the calendar the second it comes out and highlight vacation 
days. (I am a teacher after all.) 

I think it is VERY important to try to plan at least one vacation day per month from 
January to Pesach. There are days such as Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Presidents Day, 
half day for Purim, etc. Those days REALLY give teachers something special to look 
forward to. A Friday through Monday Presidents Day week-end is GREAT.
Acknowledging teacher achievements whenever and often is very important. Coming from 
the Head of School would be a TREMENDOUS boost for all teachers. Nothing could match 
that kind of praise and notice.

Last I’ll comment on the “fun” ideas. Canceling a staff meeting, flowers for Shabbat, a 
day without a duty, etc. are the “perks” that go with our profession and are appropriate 
and needed. We all know the stress teachers are under daily. The “little” things mean so 
Carol Liberman
The Beren Academy
Houston, TX
[log in to unmask]


4.	Marshall Memo:  Personal Ethics, not just Social Activism

The Sunday, April 5, 2009 edition of the NY Times featured an article entitled “Schools’ 
gossip girls and boys get some lessons in empathy.”  The author describes efforts to 
reduce social aggression in schools through empathy training.

Schools incorporate empathy “training” in many ways.  For example, English classes 
discuss the role of empathy in literature.  Co-curricular clubs focus on reaching out to 
peers with special needs.  Schools hold a “Mix it up Day” in order to break up cafeteria 

Even the Parent Teacher Association has gotten involved.  In one Scarsdale school, 
parents are trying to curtail the tradition of 7th and 8th graders coming to school Monday 
morning wearing the personalized sweatshirts handed out at weekend bar and bat 
mitzvahs in an effort to reduce social exclusion.  

“As a school, we’ve done a lot of work with human rights,” said Michael McDermott, the 
middle school principal in Scarsdale.  “But you can’t have kids saving Darfu and isolating 
a peer in the lunchroom.  It all has to go together.”

Several curricula are being used throughout the United States.  In Los Angeles, middle 
schools are using “Second Step:  Student Success Through Prevention” which teaches 
empathy, impulse control, anger management and problem solving.  In Seattle, 
elementary schools are using “Roots of Empathy.”  Many New York schools are using 
David Levine’s book “Teaching Empathy”

For the full-length article see


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