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Title: Wisdom From All My Teachers: Challenges And Initiatives In Contemporary Torah Education

Title: Wisdom From All My Teachers: Challenges And Initiatives In Contemporary Torah Education
Edited By Jeffrey Saks and Susan Handelman
Publisher: Atid and Urim Press

 

It is rare to find a book notable for its area of concern, its contributors, its sponsorship, and its publisher. But Wisdom From All My Teachers rates high on each level.

Books on religious education tend to be full of platitudes, but this one is packed with 20 creative and insightful explorations of such important topics as the nature of Torah study and its relationship to the love and awe of G-d, personal moral development; the role of worldly wisdom in Torah education; the cultivation of the student’s soul; the challenges of teaching students or adults who do not fit into the mold of the traditional curriculum; deliberations on the teaching of Talmud and Bible to this generation; the use of philosophy and aggadah in the yeshiva curriculum; and the place of the Israel experience in shaping the religious personality. Here is food for thought for all of us who want to think seriously and creatively about the important issues in contemporary Jewish education.

Just as the topics are first-rate, so are the contributors. Roshei Yeshiva Rabbis Chaim Brovender, Norman Lamm and Aharon Lichtenstein provide important hashkafic overviews.
Seasoned professionals like Erica Brown, Shalom Carmy, Beverly Gribetz, Gilla Ratzersdorfer, and Joel B. Wolowesky tackle specific educational issues with insight and erudition, as do other equally engaging but lesser-known educators Their discussions will surely provide a springboard for deliberators that can only enhance Torah education in our contemporary setting.

The book was sponsored by Atid: The Academy for Torah Initiatives and Directors in Jerusalem. Atid was founded in 1998 by Rabbi Chaim Brovender and Jeffrey Sacks as a center for professional training, resource development and policy planning for Torah education. It has quickly emerged as a center for serious discussion of important issues in
contemporary Jewish education. Rabbi Brovender has long been recognized as one of the creative voices in Jewish education. The whole explosion of advanced Torah education for
women can be traced to his original and courageous pioneering efforts decades ago. In this volume, he takes up a fresh question: the role of the fine arts of yeshivah education.

The handsome volume was published by Urim Publications, a new Jewish publishing house that is quickly setting a standard for excellence in the quality and importance of the volumes they put out, and the care they take to present their significant material in attractive and well-crafted volumes. It shall be interesting to see it emerge as a new major resource for contemporary Judaica.

Wisdom From All My Teachers combines erudition with deep concern for the challenges facing the field of Jewish education in the contemporary world. It should be read by all
laymen and professionals who want to deal with these challenges in sophisticated way.

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