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December 6, 2016 / 6 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘education’

The First Day of School [photos]

Thursday, September 1st, 2016

It’s not clear who is having more fun on this first day of school in Israel, the politicians or the students.

Prime Minister Netanyahu Photos by: Amos Ben Gershom/GPO First Day of School First Day of School

 

Prime Minister Netanyahu and Education Minister Naftali Bennett Photo by: Flash90

First Day of School

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman
Photo by: Ariel Hermoni/Ministry of Defense
First Day of School

Photo of the Day

Israeli Ministers Advocate for Better Incorporation of Zionism in School Curriculum

Tuesday, August 30th, 2016

by Ilana Messika
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Education Minister Naftali Bennett announced plans at Tuesday’s cabinet meeting for the 2016-2017 school year scheduled to begin on Thursday with a focus on the need to instill Zionist values in a more effective manner throughout the school curriculum.

“Our goal is to revolutionize education. This revolution will be based on two things—excellence and Zionism,” declared Prime Minister Netanyahu.

Netanyahu claimed that the basis of Zionist education was the study of Jewish heritage, specifically the Bible. “We have to make a supreme effort [to make this a part of the educational system]. It is the basis for our being here, it is the reason we were here, it is the reason we came back here, and it is also the reason we will stay here.”

The prime minister also stressed the importance of a comprehensive education for all of Israel’s youth.

“Whoever receives an education also acquires skills in computing, mathematics, the sciences, English, and in general history. We want to bequeath all of these to all the children of Israel, Jews and non-Jews alike, religious and secular,” he explained.

Netanyahu insisted that students’ potential could be maximized through the implementation of an internet-oriented system that would permit teachers to better interact with students.

Education Minister Bennett also announced that the education system would now function in a more personalized manner with smaller classes and more assistant teachers in kindergartens, amounting to an addition of 4,600 new professionals.

The education minister also discussed the need to better inculcate Jewish-Zionist values into the curriculum.

“We need to highlight our national values, Zionism, love of country and service to the state, and the strengthening of our shared Jewish roots.” Bennett emphasized.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Bennett Touts Education Ministry’s Service to Kindergartners, Special Ed

Wednesday, August 24th, 2016

Appearing on Wednesday before the Knesset Education, Culture and Sports Committee on the preparations for the coming school year, Education Minister Naftali Bennett listed his ministry’s achievements, including adding a second teacher’s assistant in kindergarten classes, and reducing the number of children in first grade classrooms.

Bennett announced that his goal is to have 18,000 students pass the five unit matriculation exam in math within the next four years. He also said the 2016-2017 school year will see an additional 2,000 hours of English studies in all the educational institutions in Israel. Another goal is to narrow the education gap between central and peripheral communities in Israel. Bennett noted that $13.26 million have been allocated to transportation of Bedouin children to schools throughout the Negev. And, starting this year, schools in the Arab sector will begin teaching Hebrew in the first grade.

“I am proud to head a system that cares for every segment of the population,” Bennett said.

According to Bennett, his ministry’s efforts to reduce the number of high school dropouts will be increased significantly. And the special education school year will be extended to August 15, with classes continuing during the September-October holiday season.

Addressing ultra-Orthodox education, Bennett said that only 40,000 of the 400,000 Haredi educational institutions are exempt from teaching the core curriculum. “The law that was passed by the previous Knesset never went into effect, and it was supposed to be implemented only in 2018,” he told the committee.

“I’m not one of those who cry over a law that never went into effect. We’re working with Haredi schools that want to teach five units of mathematics and English. The key to success in Haredi education is not talking, it’s doing,” Bennett added.

MK Aliza Lavie of Yesh Atid, whose party held the Education portfolio in the previous government, said in response that the plan to implement the “core curriculum law” in 2018 was intended to allow ample time for recruiting and training core curriculum teachers.

Bennett also pledged that his ministry would combat ethnic discrimination in the enrollment process of all educational institutions, particularly the ultra-Orthodox.

JNi.Media

Israelis Placing at the Top at Science Olympics Around the World

Sunday, August 21st, 2016

By Michael Zeff/TPS

While Israel’s top athletes are competing in the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, some young Israeli scientists have been winning a remarkable number of medals at the “science olympics” around the globe. An Israeli delegation of high-school students won two medals on Friday at the International Olympiad in Informatics held in Kazan, Russia.

Tomer Adar, a student at the Ruppin School in Emek Hefer, won a silver medal at the Olympiad, and Liran Markin, a student at the WIZO high school in Nahalal, took bronze. The delegation was also comprised of Noam Ta-Shma from Tel Aviv and Ron Solan from Herzliya and was coached by Dr. David Ginat of Tel Aviv University.

“Israeli students repeatedly achieve international success in scientific competitions and bring honor and pride to the State of Israel,” said Education Minister Naftali Bennett.

The competition included delegations from 81 countries while Israel ranked at 28th place overall. China was ranked first, followed by Russia and the United States.

The victory at the competition marks the fourteenth by Israelis this summer at science olympiads. An Israeli delegation also won the silver and bronze medals and ranked 20th in the world at the Chemistry Olympiad held in Tbilisi, Georgia earlier in August.

Other achievements include six medals at the Mathematics Olympiad held in Hong Kong and four medals at the Physics Olympiad held in Zurich, Switzerland.

President Reuven Rivlin held a reception in honor of some of the young scientists at his residence in Jerusalem on Sunday where he thanked them for their achievements.

“Good morning to you my champions. I thank you in the name of the entire nation for your achievements,” the president greeted the medalists of the Chemistry Olympiad, Ron Solan and Sevostianov.

Michael Bachner contributed to this report.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

The School That Set The Standard For Jewish Education In 20th-Century America

Thursday, August 11th, 2016

The original Rabbi Jacob Joseph School, or RJJ, no longer exists in Manhattan, but during its existence it long served as an important and successful model for Jewish education in the United States.

This reminiscence is based on one alumnus’s memory and appreciation of his experience there more than 65 years ago, and on his many years of service as a professional in Jewish life in the United States and Israel.

Organized in 1903, RJJ was located on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, which was the major area of first settlement for Jews immigrating to the United States from Europe.

It graduated from its elementary and high schools thousands of alumni who were or are still active in important leadership roles in Jewish life and Jewish communities in the U.S. and Israel.

What made RJJ unique was that many, if not all, of the initial components of its educational model were initially integrated into many of the day schools and yeshivas that were organized all over the United States. RJJ’s principal for many decades, Rabbi Hillel Weiss, had studied at the Pressburg yeshiva in Hungary and assigned major priority to the limudei kodesh curriculum, supported by the excellent faculty and roshei yeshiva Rabbi Weiss recruited.

What was also very special about RJJ is that it maintained a balanced dual secular program, led for many years by Herman Winter, a faculty member at Stuyvesant High School, one of America’s top secondary public schools. The graduates of RJJ’s high school were, as a result, well fortified to pursue excellent professional careers in the Jewish and secular worlds.

One of the best examples is Robert (Yisrael) Aumann – Nobel laureate, professor at Hebrew University, and outstanding talmid chacham. During the ceremony and dinner at which he was awarded the Nobel Prize, he publicly acknowledged his teachers at RJJ, including Joseph Ganzler, his teacher of mathematics, and Rabbi Shmuel Dovid Warshavchik, his rosh yeshiva. All the guests that night were served the same kosher dinner enjoyed by Professor Aumann.

It was quite a Kiddush Hashem on the part of Dr. Aumann and the school he credited for his success.

The evolution of institutions, including yeshivas, is not always characterized by ascent. Some of the right-wing yeshivas have in recent years deemphasized or emasculated their secular programs. This reflects some of the political and ideological changes in parts of the Orthodox community (changes that were already underway even before the establishment of the state of Israel). RJJ also operated a successful ivrit b’ivrit program in its elementary school – a rarity in American day schools today. This diminution of Hebrew in the day school curriculum has had regrettable consequences for the status and knowledge of Hebrew among Orthodox youth in America.

Rabbi Weiss’s relationship with the students made for a very unique ambiance at RJJ. For some of us it only became evident and appreciated long after our graduation. The student body was a considerable challenge. Some students were what in those days was considered rowdy or mischievous.

I remember once making a shiva call for the mother of two RJJ alumni who had become outstanding Jewish educators. The small group present was comprised of outstanding alumni whom had attended RJJ decades earlier. Much of that evening was spent sharing, accompanied with huge gales of laughter, their experiences as students at RJJ – a common occurrence when RJJ alumni gather.

But a smaller number of students, some from religious families, were out of sync with yeshiva life. I was startled to find one of them, an alumnus and neighbor of mine, standing next to me at Rabbi Weiss’s funeral (he had died suddenly in 1954) in front of the yeshiva building. He told me that all the years he was a student at RJJ he was invited to Rabbi Weiss’s office just before Passover. Rabbi Weiss would inquire if he had a new suit for the holiday – which he always subsequently arranged for him.

There were several pool halls near the yeshiva, one just around the corner. They were absolutely off limits to all the students because of the low-class clientele they attracted. The administration once learned that a number of students had been seen shooting pool there. A noisy scandal followed but no students were expelled by Rabbi Weiss, as had been expected. Their names weren’t even released.

What Rabbi Weiss did do, after advising the parents of the boys who were involved, was call a meeting of all the high school students, which took place in the yeshiva’s synagogue just before Shavuot. His theme, very powerfully presented, was that the study of Torah was intended to create principled, moral personalities, not pool players. (Just last year I met one of those students. He was retired and living in Israel after a distinguished career in the rabbinate).

In many right-wing yeshivas today, admission is preceded by an interview, which includes questions about the family’s religious observance. Rabbi Weiss’s approach was to welcome any student to RJJ whatever his age and religious background, provided he believed the boy and his parents were genuinely interested and would benefit from their RJJ experience.

They were not the ba’al teshuvah types of our time. But many succeeded, some in spectacular fashion. One of them, while still at yeshiva, tutored Talmud to weaker students and eventually became one of the leaders in the eida hachareides in Jerusalem. Two of my classmates, star students, went on to complete their graduate studies and settle in Israel, where they worked in Jewish education.

The combination of Rabbi Weiss’s approach and emerging communal demographics produced a very diverse student population at RJJ. Many were from working families or the city’s projects on the Lower East Side. With RJJ’s growing success after World War II, students were enrolled from more established Jewish families living on the East and West sides of Manhattan and in New Jersey. Aside from class differences, there was a vast range in religious observance. The school was also enriched by a small number of Sephardic students.

There was no official or informal dress code at RJJ; each student dressed in his own fashion. This both reflected and fostered their latent individualism (and differed substantially from some of the later right-wing yeshivas with their standard uniform for students of black yarmulkes, pants, white shirt, and black fedora on Shabbat). At that time, the majority of RJJ students were far from being or becoming Xerox copies of one other. It was, I believe a marvelous gift RJJ bestowed on its students. Within the parameters of American Orthodoxy, they could do their own thing religiously while appreciating and respecting the behavior and attitudes of other Orthodox Jews.

One final personal experience. In my freshman year in high school my teacher was HaRav J. Goldman. Like almost all the RJJ rabbis at that time, he was born in Europe, but he maintained a capacity to relate to his American-born students – no small achievement. In class we were studying Bava Kamma, which deals with the arba avot nezikin, the four major sources of damages inflicted on others for which we are responsible. One of them is fire. The Talmud debates the underlying source of our responsibility for damage by fire. One view holds it is damage caused by our property, esho meshum mamono. The other view is esho meshum chitzo, that it’s comparable to one who shoots an arrow – the damage is connected to the individual’s action.

Rav Goldman posed the question of the Ran, a commentator on the Talmud. If fire is esho meshum chitzo, connected to the individual through his action, anyone who lights Sabbath candles should be guilty of desecrating the Sabbath. Once Shabbat has begun, the fire he lit continues to be linked to that individual.

Rav Goldman turned to the class for a reaction. I stood and responded. I have no recollection of what I said that day. All I remember is that he approached me and kissed me gently on my cheek.

That sweet expression of his love more than half a lifetime ago has sustained and inspired me through the vicissitudes of a blessed religious life.

Rabbi Dr. Jerry Hochbaum

Israeli Students Win Big In Chemistry Olympics

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016

By Tzvi Lev/TPS

Georgia (TPS) – The International Chemistry Olympiad was a rousing success for Israel, as the Jewish State’s high school delegation took home two medals and was placed amongst the world’s top 20.

“Israel’s students bring pride and honor in international contests time after time” praised Education Minister Naftali Bennett. “For a student to succeed and achieve prizes in something that is also a hobby is a formula for success.”The Israeli delegation won the Silver and Bronze medals, ranked 20th worldwide, and second in Western countries, one spot behind the United States.

Professor Zev Gross of Technion University accompanied the Israeli team, and offered lavish praise. “This year, we noticed a significant improvement, not just in the medals but the high scores that the Israeli received in the competition.

The Chemistry competition was held in Tbilisi, Georgia, with 66 countries participating. Romania won first place, with China winning the second and third spots.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

IDF Appoints Orthodox Officer to Command Education Corps

Monday, July 25th, 2016

The IDF General Staff on Monday decided to appoint Brigadier General Zvika Fairaizen as Chief Education Officer. According to the IDF Spokesperson’s announcement, Fairaizen, an Air Force man, used to command a squadron of unmanned aerial vehicles and his last post was as head of section 40 of the IDF Operations Division.

It should be noted that Brigadier General Fairaizen wears a knitted yarmulke, which constitutes an extremely meaningful change in the IDF’s recent attitude regarding Religious Zionism, following both the transfer of many educational functions from the military rabbinate to the education corps, and the controversy over the appointment of Rabbi Eyal Krim as the IDF chief rabbi.

Fairaizen is a resident of Neve Tzuf in Judea and Samaria, and graduated from a hesder yeshiva in Karnay Shomron. He was the first navigator in the IAF history to be appointed squadron commander.

Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Eizenkot preferred to appoint Fairaizen, whose background combined combat operations and religious Jewish education, to lead the education corps over the head of the corps’s education department, Colonel Yael Hess, who in the past was criticized for promoting religious pluralism in the IDF. Rabbi Yigal Levinshtein, head of the pre-military yeshiva in Eli, who has himself come under much criticism from the left, has been critical of Hess, who is married to the CEO of the Conservative movement in Israel, for being “a self-declared Reform Jew, who is the number one authority in the IDF today on educating soldiers on faith and ideas.”

Maj. Gen. Eizenkot has recently removed the Dept. of Jewish Studies from the IDF chief rabbinate to the education corps.

David Israel

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/idf-appoints-orthodox-officer-to-command-education-corps/2016/07/25/

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