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October 23, 2014 / 29 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘education’

Vatican: Papal Visit to Show IDF ‘Imprisoning’ Christian Population

Thursday, August 8th, 2013

Fr. Peter Vasko, President of the Franciscan Foundation for the Holy Land (FFHL), heralded Pope Francis’ announcement that he may visit the Holy Land next year as an opportunity for the “whole world to see the plight of Christians in the area.

Vasko said the pontiff’s presence would also “shine a light on the dwindling Christian population in the Holy Land, and hopefully help ease living conditions in the area.” Christians, once a majority in the area, have diminished to less than two percent of the population as restrictions on travel, education and work have increased.

In Palestinian controlled areas, including Bethlehem, what remains of the Arab Christians population are virtual prisoners in their own homes. At the same time, Israeli controlled areas are the only places in the entire Middle East where the Christian population has been rising.

Pope Francis said the visit – his first as head of the Church – would mark the 50th anniversary of Pope Paul VI’s trip to Jerusalem in 1964. The announcement came on the heels of Israeli President Shimon Peres’ recent visit to the Vatican. During that visit, Peres urged the pope to come to Israel, adding, “The sooner you visit the better, as a new opportunity is being created for peace, and your arrival could contribute significantly to increasing the trust and belief in peace.”

Peres added, “I turn to you and ask that within your sermons in front of millions of believers in the world you include the hope for peace in the Middle East and the whole world.”

Vasko said the Vatican has long supported FFHL programs, which provide education, housing and work opportunities for thousands of Palestinian Christians. Both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI visited Israel during their tenures.

Pope Francis accepted Peres’ invitation, but no date has been set for the trip.

Census Debunks Arab Demographic Threat

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

Jewish and Arab birth rates indicate that the percentage of school children in the Israeli educational system who are Jewish will grow by 2019 while the percentage of Arabs will decline.

The Central Bureau of Statistics reported Tuesday that the Jewish percentage will rise by one percentage point, from 73 to 74 percent, and the Arab percentage will decline by a point, from 27 to 26 percent.

Previous warnings of a growing Arab population were based on birth rates that no longer are valid. The latest statistics show that there will be 12 percent more children in the Hebrew education system by 2019 but only 10 percent more in the Arab system.

One reason for the decrease in the Arab birth rate might be due to Arab families enjoying a higher quality of life and becoming part of the “middle class” that usually is accompanied by smaller families. The change also indicates that Arabs in Israel do not share the ideology of the Bedouin and fundamentalist Muslim communities that promote larger families as part of the “resistance” movement to eliminate a Jewish majority in Israel.

However, birth rates among Haredi and modern orthodox Jews remain high, one of the reasons that the supposed Arab demographic threat in Judea and Samaria also is exaggerated.

The estimated number of school children also indicates that the Haredi birth rate has declined but still is far higher than in other Jewish sectors in Israel. The annual growth rate in the Haredi primary educations schools is expected to drop from 4.7 percent, for the period from 2001 until 2012, to 3.6 percent by 2019. The rate in the secondary school system is forecast to drop by nearly 50 percent, from 4 percent to 2.3 percent.

The growth rate in state secular and religious schools will increase, but only to 1.43 percent in the primary school system, according to the Bureau of Statistics.

Children in Haredi schools will comprise 31 percent of the total primary school population by 2019, 50 percent more than the 21 percent recorded in the past 11-year period.

When the Education Minister Misplaced Hebron

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

Most people don’t realize how close we were to losing Kever Rachel (Rachel’s Tomb) in Bethlehem during Oslo.

Not understanding the historical and religious significance of this holy site, and according to some, not knowing about it at all, Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin had originally included the Tomb site in Area A, the section of the Land of Israel that was to be handed over to the Arabs.

Only heartfelt pleas by MKs Chanan Porat (Mafdal) and Menachem Porush (UTJ) succeeded, at the last minute, to rescue our matriarch’s resting place from falling into Arab hands, and likely, the same despicable desecration and destruction that befell Joseph’s tomb in Shechem (Nablus) after the Arabs had received control of that site.

In 1997, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave away 80 percent of the city of Hebron to the Arabs as part of the Wye River Agreement. Today, 97 percent of Hebron is off-limit to Jews. Even now the occasional call can still be heard to expel the Jews from the remaining 3 percent of Hebron, so it would all be handed over to the Arabs.

In 2005, 10,000 Jews were expelled from Gush Katif and northern Shomron.

A common refrain heard from soldiers, police and even the moving people who were evacuating Gush Katif residents was how “normal” the towns of Gush Katif appeared, because they had expected them to be desolate caravans and outposts in the desert.The average Israeli had no idea just how beautiful and robust those places were, and how much they were like every other town in Israel.

In today’s news, the EU is trying to force Israel to divide our land nearly in half using economic threats, and, much like in the case of Gush Katif, only relatively few Israelis know what a magnificent urban sprawl of Jewish life has risen there.

In March 2011, Education Minister Gidon Sa’ar (Likud) introduced a pilot project requiring that, along with a requisite visit to Jerusalem, every student, at least once between the first and twelfth grades, would visit Hebron, the city purchased at full price from the gentiles by Abraham, where our patriarchs and matriarchs are buried.

There was the typical outcry from the radical left, but Sa’ar went ahead with the pilot, and religious and not religious students began to visit Hebron, many for the first time in their lives.

The trips were not used for “indoctrination”, nor for “whitewashing” history. Students were encouraged to have open discussions on the history and politics surrounding the city. Two thousand students have participated in the program to date.

The Hebron pilot was successful and set to expand, and its significance cannot be overstated.

We’ve already seen that it’s easy to throw away or ignore the loss of Kever Rachel, Hebron, and Gush Katif, when you’ve never been there. Too many of our students have a difficulty explaining why they live in Israel and why they aren’t “occupiers”.

But when a student learns in school about his ancestors and his shared history, and then visits the site he has just learned about and discovers that it’s just a short bus ride away from his home, it’s no longer just a textbook fact to be forgotten after the test, it’s a reality that can’t be discarded or ignored.

What Gidon Sa’ar accomplished, and was set to accomplish was astounding.

But what Gidon Sa’ar began to build, the new Education Minister who replaced him, Shai Piron (Yesh Atid), managed to destroy effortlessly.

Upon entering office, Minister Shai Piron introduced a new program, where Hebron is just one of a group of possible sites schools may visit. Other sites, that Piron equated in importance to Hebron, are development towns in the Negev, the Jordan Valley, and “other sites of importance”.

In short, Piron took a unique educational moment, and filed it under “irrelevant.”

I call on Minister Piron to reinstate the program for mandatory visits to Hebron for every school. The importance of this trip, connecting Jewish students to their history, to the birthplace of Jewish civilization, to understanding why they are in Israel, is as important for their education as it is for this country’s future.

Alvin Schiff, Jewish Education Pioneer, Dies

Monday, July 8th, 2013

Alvin Schiff, a pioneer in Jewish education and a prolific author, died of unknown causes, Yeshiva University announced Monday. He was in his mid-80s.

He established and directed the Graduate School of Jewish Education at YU in 1959, before it was later renamed the Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration.

Schiff authored more than a dozen books, as well as several hundred articles and research papers on the status of Jewish education.

He was a founder of such Jewish education projects as March of the Living, along with the New York parade for Israel now known as Celebrate Israel.

Herbert Dobrinsky, vice president of Yeshiva University affairs and a former student of Schiff, told JTA, ”I can’t say he was the greatest educator in the world, but he came close to it.”

Schiff received his bachelor’s degree from Yeshiva College and his doctorate from YU’s Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology, as well as an honorary degree from YU in 1977.

Yair Lapid Sets Aside Money for Ariel University

Sunday, May 26th, 2013

Israeli Finance Minister Yair Lapid will grant nearly $14 million in aid to Ariel University.

The money, which was pledged by the previous finance minister, Yuval Steinitz, will be transferred in two stages, Haaretz reported Sunday.

Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein earlier this year blocked the transfer of the money, which had been approved during the election campaign.

About 40 percent of the money will be transferred in August following passage of the new budget, according to the newspaper, and the rest after the start of 2014.

Ariel University Center was recognized by Israel’s Cabinet as an accredited university in September 2012 when it became Israel’s eighth university.

In July, the Ariel center was recognized as a full university by the Council for Higher Education in Judea and Samaria, which was established in 1997 after the Council for Higher Education refused to discuss academic issues concerning Judea and Samaria.

The Judea and Samaria council’s 11-2 vote came despite a recommendation against approval by the planning and budget committee of the Council for Higher Education, as well as opposition from the country’s other seven universities and public figures who objected to upgrading a college in Judea and Samaria.

In Hebrew: ‘Background’

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

רֶקַע The word background in English might refer to the visual background of an image or the conceptual background of someone’s past.

So too in Hebrew.

The Hebrew word for background is רֶקַע.

For example:

כְּכָל הַנִּרְאֶה, נַחַל עוֹבֵר בָּרֶקַע שֶׁל הַמּוֹנָה לִיזָה. It appears that a riverbed passes through the background of the Mona Lisa. and

הִיא בָּאָה מֵרֶקַע דָּתִי. She comes from a religious background. רקע comes from the Biblical active-simple פָּעַל verb לִרְקֹעַ, meaning to stamp out or to spread out. It’s related to the word for firmamentרָקִיעַ.

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In Hebrew: ‘Disturbance’

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

הַפְרָעָה If you already know some Hebrew, you may be familiar with the word for to disturb -לְהַפְרִיעַ, an active-causative הִפְעִיל verb.

For example:

מוֹרֶה: לֹא לְהַפְרִיעַ בַּשִּׁעוּר! Teacher (a male): Do not disturb (during the) class! The noun form of להפריע, a disturbance, is הַפְרָעָה. And הפרעה is also the word for disorder, such as in the Hebrew term for ADHD (Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder)הַפְרַעַת קֶשֶׁב וְרִכּוּז (literally, Disorder of Attention and Concentration).

To call someone disturbed, you’d use מֻפְרָעfor a male and מֻפְרַעַתfor a female. מופרע and מופרעת derive from the passive-causative הֻפְעַל verb form.

For example:

מְבַצֵּעַ הַטֶּבַח בַּבַּנְק בִּבְאֵר שֶׁבַע הָיָה אָדָם מֻפְרָע.
The perpetrator of the massacre at the bank in Beer Sheba was a disturbed person.
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Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/ktzat-ivrit/in-hebrew-disturbance/2013/05/21/

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