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May 7, 2015 / 18 Iyar, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘education’

My Encounter with Rav Lichtenstein

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

Some 25 years ago I decided I wanted to go to Israel and debated over which Yeshiva I would attend.

The “Gush”, Yeshiva Har Etzion, Rav Aharon Lichtenstein’s yeshiva in Israel, was one of the options on my very short list.

I applied, and was invited to come down to Yeshiva University for an interview with Rav Lichtenstein.

I spent weeks preparing for that interview. I picked out an interesting piece of Gemorah, and learned it backwards and forwards.

I walked confidently into Rav Soloveitchik’s apartment in YU where Rav Lichtenstein was holding interviews with prospective students, and we began to learn. He asked questions and I answered them. I defended my positions. Very straightforward.

And then I don’t know what happened.

He raised a question from a different Gemorah related to this particular sugiyah. A Gemorah I had also studied in preparation for this interview.

I don’t recall it even being a complex question. But his question came from a perspective I hadn’t considered, and it turned everything upside down. Suddenly we had to take everything I learned apart, and we started again from a completely different angle.

I walked into that interview thinking I knew that Gemorah like the back of my hand, and by the middle of this experience, I realized I knew almost nothing, including how to learn.

What was supposed to have been a 15 minute interview, turned into an intense, more than hour-long learning session and intellectual battle, the likes of which I had never experienced in my entire life.

I walked out of the apartment as white as a sheet, and covered in sweat from the energy I expended in the intellectual battle I just fought and lost with Rav Lichtenstein, realizing that my weeks of learning, where I thought I knew the Gemorah inside and out, had barely scraped the surface of the depths of what learning truly was.

The students who were waiting patiently outside for for their turn, took one look at me and were afraid to go in next for their interviews.

While it had been intellectually satisfying, I was sure I hadn’t been accepted to the Gush after displaying how embarrassing little I had managed to actually learn in the few weeks ahead of the interview, compared to what we had accomplished in such a short time.

But to my surprise I was accepted.

Ultimately, I chose a different path to Israel, but that encounter — learning with Rav Lichtenstein — was the yardstick by which I measured the quality of my learning from that point forward.

A Man Who Brings Students to Israel and a Revolutionary Rabbi Brigadier General

Thursday, April 9th, 2015

(((CLICK BELOW TO HEAR AUDIO)))

Yishai is joined in-studio by Momo Lifshitz, the CEO of Lirom Global Education and former director of Oranim Educational Initiatives, the #1 provider of Birthright Israel participants. He shares his dream to bring Jewish and non-Jewish students to study in Israel and get a college degree at a great price, while falling in love with — and in — the country.

Then, Yishai is joined in-studio by Rabbi Avichai Rontzki, former IDF chief rabbi (2006-2010), with the rank of Brigadier General. During his post, Rontzki carried out a mini-revolution in the command, expanding his mandate to allow for a much more active role of rabbis in the army, and creating the “Jewish Awareness Department,” which conducts educational activities in combat units.

Yishai Fleisher on Twitter: @YishaiFleisher
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Facts Contradict Lapid’s Claims

Sunday, March 15th, 2015

Claims by Finance Minister Yair Lapid that he has spearheaded a major change to reduce overcrowded classrooms have no resemblance to reality, two Israeli business newspapers noted on Sunday.

Lapid said late last week that the budget, which the Cabinet approved but was not passed by the Knesset before it was dissolved, is the “most social budget” ever and incorporates a “national program for reducing overcrowded classrooms.”

The Calcalist and The Marker reported that the itemized Education Ministry budget for 2015 does not make any reference to Lapid’s claim.

The largest increases in the budget are for absorbing the natural growth of the school-age population, extending the school year to include grades 1-4 in the “summer camp in school and providing free pre-nursery school for children ages 3-4.

Reducing the size of classes would cost approximately $250 million, not including the cost of building new classrooms.

According to Lapid’s response to the articles,  he is reducing the “size” of classes by adding teachers and student-teachers to existing classes to reduce the teacher-student ratio.

UK Jewish Schools Could Face Closure for Not Promoting Homosexuality

Monday, November 3rd, 2014

First posted at Jewish Business News.

UK schools that are found to be ‘indoctrinating pupils about gay people’ will face closing under new rules designed to promote ‘British values,’ the British Government confirmed Monday, according to the Daily Mail.

But the Department for Education said it was “nonsense” to suggest teachers in these schools would be forced to give lessons on gay rights.

That brought a response from Labor’s shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt, who said that Education Secretary Nicky Morgan “clearly does not believe that LGBT rights are British values.”

Hunt added: “Compulsory sex and relationship education, including LGBT rights, in all schools is common sense, not nonsense. Nicky Morgan should apologize for the offence that has been caused by claiming that it is nonsense for all schools to teach gay rights.”

There you go. So, presumably, under a Labor government (with a Jewish prime minister, no less), Ultra Orthodox schools would have to teach the value of homosexual marriage, or else…

Oy vey…

READ: UK School Inspectors Bully Orthodox Students with Sexual and Inappropriate Questions A spokesman for the Department for Education insisted that Ofsted, the official body for inspecting schools, was right to make sure religious schools were not promoting homophobia.

There goes a whole portion of Leviticus down the drain…

The spokesman said: “Ofsted are rightly ensuring that schools do not indoctrinate pupils about gay people – or any other people – being inferior.

“The same goes for schools that do things like make girls sit separately at the back of the class. Both are practices which go directly against the fundamental British values of tolerance and respect.

“We believe schools should prepare all pupils for life in modern Britain. A broad and balanced curriculum is vital for this.”

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan told the Sunday Times that schools must teach “pupils to respect other people even if they do not agree with them.”

Which makes perfect sense, as Morgan put it: “I should have thought this is a principle with which the vast majority of people would agree.”

See? Education turns out to be democracy after all…

Here comes the less fun part: according to the Mail, schools have been warned that those that fail to follow new rules on “British values” (that’s LGBT to you and me) will be judged inadequate and could face closure by Ofsted inspectors.

The decision, which makes it practically illegal to teach some aspects of Jewish Studies, follows snap inspections by Ofsted at 40 schools, including Christian and Jewish institutions.

The new rules give inspectors the power to downgrade schools where teachers are breaching the Equality Act, which encourages respect for lesbian, gay and transgender people as well as those of other religions and races.

READ: UK: Islamist School Plot Leads to Inspectors ‘Testing’ Jewish kids on Sex, Gay Issues

Apple Co-Founder Lands in Israel between the Rockets

Monday, August 25th, 2014

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak is in Israel to take part in Monday’s EduAction Forum scheduled in Holon, next to Tel Aviv, to start off the new school year on the right foot, rockets permitting.

Wozniak will talk at the conference on his favorite subject – teaching – under the title of “The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far from the Tree.”

The co-founder of Apple left the company some 30 years ago and now is the chief scientist for Fusion-io, which specializes in cloud computing.

With a net worth of $100 million, Wozniak also teaches computers to junior high school students.

He did not the let the war stop him from visiting Israel, but the same cannot be said for author Amy Chua, who chickened out of the conference.

Although Wozniak no longer is with Apple, his former company has invested heavily in Israel and recently appointed an Israel Arab, Johnny Srouji, as its first Israeli vice president.

British PM : Check Schools After Islamist Takeover Plot

Monday, June 9th, 2014

Britain is beginning to wake up after an Islamist plot to take over the nation’s school system was discovered.

The alleged plot, ‘Operation Trojan Horse,’ involved forcing state schools to adopt a more Muslim culture by hiring school governors whose sympathies lay with Islam and would support a more conservative Islamic religious agenda.

Prime Minister David Cameron issued a pre-emptive statement Monday prior to publication of the findings of an investigation by Ofsted school officials into the allegations about the plot.

Cameron also scolded two of his most senior ministers over the weekend for publicly criticizing each other over their handling of the issue.

Jewish Youth Battle to Win Israel’s 2014 Annual International Bible Quiz

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014

The nation’s eyes are on Israel’s annual International Bible Quiz for Youth, being held today (Yom HaAtzma’ut) at The Jerusalem Theater. Sixteen finalists, boys and girls, are facing off on the stage to win the prize. The contest is broadcast live on nearly all channels, radio and television, in addition to those on Internet, across the country.

Last week 75 contestants from 33 nations met in Jerusalem with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Education Minister Shai Piron.

Questions are announced by the emcee in Hebrew, but appear on the screen in English as well as in Hebrew.

Prime Minister Netanyahu traditionally presents the final round of questions to contestants who are fighting to be the winners of the competition.

At the halfway point, Jewish Agency director Natan Scharansky was asked to present an award to an outstanding student from Or Yehuda, and in his brief address spoke of the importance of strengthening Jewish identity among the youth in the Diaspora.

The contest has been an annual event since its inception. There is also an Israel Bible Quiz for Adults.

Last year’s youth winners were Elior Babian of Beit Shemesh, Israel and Yeshiva University High School student Yishai Eisenberg of New Jersey.

The prime minister’s son Avner won third place in 2010, and the contest has increased in popularity each year.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/jewish-youth-battle-to-win-israels-2014-annual-international-bible-quiz/2014/05/06/

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