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May 26, 2016 / 18 Iyar, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘education’

Ministers Approve MK Hazan Bill Making Arabic Mandatory for All First Graders

Sunday, October 25th, 2015

(JNi.media) The Ministerial Committee on Legislation on Sunday approved a bill by MK Oren Hazan (Likud), making it mandatory for all Jewish students in Israel to learn spoken Arabic, starting in the first grade, while Arab students will be required to learn Hebrew at the same age. “I am delighted that during the peak of a new wave of terrorism, the Ministerial Committee for Legislative Affairs, together with Education Minister Naftali Bennett, who helped, has accepted a bill of this magnitude,” said MK Hazan in response. “The proposal is the government’s message to the public regarding acts promoting coexistence and calming spirits.”

Hazan continued: “Especially these days, when terrorism prevails and coexistence is undermined, it is important to lower the flames and to create a bridge made up of language, cultural understanding and rapprochement among the citizens of the state, and there is nothing better than understanding the language to understand the culture and mentality of a million and a half Arab citizens in Israel and hundreds of millions of Arabic speakers across the Middle East.”

The young Knesset member, who has been the target of every establishment figure in Israel across the political spectrum, after he entered the Knesset, over what many saw as a checkered past (he was accused of ingesting hard drugs despite the fact that he suffers from a respiratory disease that makes such an activity deadly), said that the “approval of the law of Hebrew and Arabic study in the first grade for all students in Israel is a binding bridge. I have no doubt that when the Jewish public will understand the Arabic language as the Arab public will understand the Hebrew language, we will all see better days.”

The Ministerial Legislation Committee is composed of representatives of all the factions in the coalition, and its decisions are binding to all Knesset coalition members, so chances are this bill will become a law in short order.

And so, unexpectedly, an MK whom Defense Minister Ya’alon accused of disgracing the Likud, and the Israeli police were looking for ways to indict for managing a casino in Bulgaria before taking office — ended up suggesting a concrete solution to the yawning gap between Arabs and Jews.

At this stage of the game, many new Hazan fans in Israel argue that, so far, neither Ya’alon nor the police have come up with anything nearly as promising.


Amcha Initiative: UC Davis Must Address Escalating Wave of On-Campus Anti-Semitism

Thursday, October 15th, 2015

(JNi.media) Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, AMCHA Initiative co-founder and director, issued a statement in response to recent anti-Semitic graffiti at UC Davis, saying, “What happened at UC Davis is incredibly frightening and alarming,” and noting that “to those of us monitoring this closely, it is clear the wave of anti-Semitism that has haunted UC’s Jewish students over the past few years is only escalating and must be addressed.”

Last Saturday, cars and walls at a UC Davis campus parking lot, outside an apartment complex, were defaced with anti-Semitic graffiti, swastikas and hate messages, including the message “[Expletive] Jews.” Chancellor Linda Katehi said in a statement earlier this week: “I am deeply troubled and disappointed that the campus community has experienced another incident that included damaged property and, even more grievously, offensive and disparaging slurs. This is conduct most unbecoming and completely against our principles of community.”

“We applaud Chancellor Katehi for swiftly condemning this most recent anti-Semitic act at UC Davis and calling for a welcoming, tolerant and safe community,” Rossman-Benjamin said, but insisted that “it is critical the UC Regents adopt the State Department definition of anti-Semitism to educate students and faculty about how some of the extreme rhetoric often used during divisive BDS campaigns breeds a climate of hate that encourages anti-Semitic incidents like this.”

The US State Department definition recognizes that contemporary anti-Semitism has assumed various disguised forms and, as the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights found, is often “camouflaged as anti-Israelism or anti-Zionism.” The State Department definition acknowledges activity that demonizes and delegitimizes Israel and denies its right to exist as anti-Semitism.

According to AMCHA, UC has experienced many incidents of anti-Jewish discrimination this past academic year, including swastikas spray-painted on a Jewish fraternity after fraternity brothers spoke against divesting from Israel, “grout out the Jews” and “Hitler did nothing wrong” carved into school property after contentious BDS campaigns, a Hillel event for the LGBT community protested and disrupted by anti-Israel students and faculty, flyers blaming Israel AND all Jews for 9/11 plastered on campus and a Jewish student running for office questioned about her eligibility by anti-Israel activists simply because of her religion. UC Jewish students report feeling afraid to tell fellow students they are Jewish, walk to the Hillel house for Sabbath dinner and wear a Jewish star necklace. Many report being bullied, harassed, intimidated and assaulted.

The UC Regents recently formed a working group to address anti-Semitism on campus. Over the past six months, more than 50 Jewish organizations, including ADL, AJC, Hillel, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and AMCHA and more than 3,000 UC students, faculty, alumni, California residents, rabbis, Jewish day school principals and educators, including the world’s preeminent scholars of anti-Semitism, have written to UC in support of adopting an accurate definition of modern anti-Semitism to properly identify and educate the campus community about contemporary Jew-hatred. Specifically, the groups have urged the adoption of the State Department definition of anti-Semitism.


City of Jerusalem & Parents’ Group Declare School Strike Over Inadequate Security

Wednesday, October 7th, 2015

The Jerusalem municipality joined the city parents’ association to declare a school strike Thursday for students in grades 9-12 to protest inadequate government security funding.

High schools throughout Jerusalem will be on strike as both the city and the parents demand the government pay for security measures that will protect schools throughout the school day.

Elementary schools are in session as usual.

“As long as the government is shirking its responsibility for school security, we will not abandon our children,” explained Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat in a statement released Wednesday night.

According to the statement, security for Jerusalem schools is funded only until 1:30 pm.

Security coverage at school is not funded after that time, and those communities who cannot afford to pay for it may simply have no coverage until the end of the school day.

Hana Levi Julian

Yeshiva University President Richard Joel Announces Retirement

Thursday, September 10th, 2015

Yeshiva University President Richard Joel has announced he plans to step down at the end of his current term, and possibly earlier if a successor can be found before 2018.

The announcement was made by Joel, 65, in an email sent to YU alumni, staff and students on Thursday.

“I am well into my 13th year of the presidency and the 28th year of leading Jewish educational institutions,” Joel wrote.

“When I accepted a third term as president, I informed our chair, Henry Kressel, that it would be my last.

“As we now are poised to advance, I have asked chairman Moshael Straus to begin the process of transition and to identify and recruit my successor. This wonderful and committed lay leadership deserves to have the time to be deliberate in that process.”

Earlier in the day on Thursday (Sept. 10) Yeshiva University and Montefiore Health System announced they sealed a landmark deal between the two that gives Montefiore operational authority and responsibility over Albert Einstein College of Medicine (Einstein).

Under the agreement, Yeshiva University remains responsible for academic oversight, including the granting of degrees. YU also runs a satellite program in Israel.

Hana Levi Julian

Jewish School Year Starts with Revolutionary Curriculum

Tuesday, September 8th, 2015

(Alon Shvut, Israel) Jewish schools throughout North America as well as in South Africa and Australia are introducing a revolutionary curriculum to their students this academic year. Over 1,300 students in over twenty schools will be using the new program designed by the Halacha Education Center (HEC). The programs designed by HEC represent a major overhaul of the classic Jewish educational experience.

The HEC has taken the original sources and prime texts of Jewish law and developed new exciting, user-friendly, accessible textbooks, teacher’s guide, videos, and audio-visual material that engage the students in a deep, enjoyable and memorable fashion. The new materials are likely the first significant reformatting and presentation of Judaism’s ancient laws and wisdom.

“The curriculum is an extraordinary experience,” declared Rabbi Leonard Matanky, Dean of Ida Crown Jewish Academy in Chicago, who participated in the program pilot. “The materials they have prepared and the professional development they have provided have had a profound impact upon teachers and students.”

“It presents the breadth and depth of the halakha (Jewish law) itself while providing the background and scaffolding necessary for the high school student,” commented Rabbi Tully Harcsztark, Principal of the SAR Academy in Riverdale, NY, another pilot participant. “It exposes students to original sources, including contemporary responsa, in a manner that makes challenging topics cognitively as well as spiritually and emotionally accessible.”

The HEC is the brainchild of Rabbi Yosef Zvi Rimon, a leading Rabbinic personality in Israel. They have published over 40 books, including Rabbi Rimon’s best-selling Hagaddah of Pesach as well as the Laws of Shemita (the Sabbatical Year), and Laws of the Army. Multiple HEC texts are currently part of the required curriculum throughout the public school system in Israel, as mandated by the Ministry of Education. They are used in all 250 state religious high schools, in an additional 200 elementary schools, and have reached over 95,000 students.

In 5 years HEC has produced 43 books and provided enriched Jewish learning for over 400,000 people worldwide.

HEC currently produces material in English, Hebrew, Spanish, French and Portuguese.

Jewish Press Staff

2.2M Israeli Children Return to the Classrooms

Tuesday, September 1st, 2015

Slightly more than two million children returned to school this morning (Tues. Sept. 1) in the State of Israel.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett visited a local school in Ra’anana where photographers snapped pictures of the minister and other parents bringing their children to class and ceremoniously bidding them farewell.

Children arrive to their first day of First Grade at Paula Ben Gurion elementary school in Jerusalem.

First Grade at Paula Ben Gurion elementary school in Jerusalem.

Bennett recently presented a national plan to increase the number of students graduating from advanced mathematics classes, with an initial goal to double the numbers in four years.

The plan, at an estimated cost of NIS 75 million, will double the number of advanced math teachers within four years from 1,000 to 2,000. In addition, 15,000 hours of classes and study assistance will be added to the curriculum.

“All districts are ready, the schools are ready,” the minister wrote on his Facebook page Monday night, adding, “166,208 teachers are ready for 2,194,931 Israeli students.

First Grade students attending school at Paula Ben Gurion elementary school in Jerusalem.

First Grade students at Paula Ben Gurion elementary school in Jerusalem.

“The school year will open as planned, without any strikes or surpises. I wish the children of Israel – Good luck! We love you!”

Despite those warm wishes and the successful start to the new school year, however, Bennett is already under attack from Zionist Union MK Tzipi Livni, a former government minister.

Livni attended opening day at the Yachad School in Modi’in, where she slammed Bennett’s recent statement that one can achieve more social tolerance by strengthening Jewish identity, rather than by a “melting pot” approach.

“Bennett is forgetting the other side of the equation,” she said. “The ‘other’ does not need to be ‘me’ but the other has to respect the ‘me’… to respect his heritage, to respect his language, and following the proliferation of incidents of racism and hatred this summer, we must teach that the ‘other’ does not need to be a frightening, incited and besmirched enemy.

“Along with improving and strengthening studies in mathematics, it is essential that we first teach our children to be human beings,” Livni said.

Bennett covered precisely that concept in a statement last month, saying “If I study my identity as an Israeli, as a Jew, in depth, and I am at peace with this identity, I do not need to fear meeting a person who is different, respecting him, appreciating him, working alongside him.

“We need to respect identity while advancing tolerance.”

Hana Levi Julian

Bennett: Israeli-Arab Children to Start Learning Hebrew in Kindergarten

Friday, August 14th, 2015

Education Minister Naftali Bennett announced that in the coming year, Israeli-Arab students will begin learning to speak Hebrew in kindergarten, and will be required to learn Hebrew until the 12th grade.

Bennett says the move will help narrow the social gap between Arabs and Jews.

In May, MK Oren Hazan (Likud) proposed that Jewish students be required to learn Arabic, starting in first grade.

Jewish Press News Briefs

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