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September 26, 2016 / 23 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘education’

NY Gov Signs Anti-Boycott Law then Joins 52nd Israel Parade in Pouring Rain [video]

Sunday, June 5th, 2016

It was dry and cozy at the Harvard Club in Manhattan, where NY Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Sunday announced a new executive order that bans companies supporting a boycott of Israeli products from doing business with NY State agencies. Outside, on Fifth Avenue, the stubborn marching groups of the 52nd annual Celebrate Israel parade were pushing ever forward under the persistent rain.

Gov. Cuomo spoke to an audience that included many Jewish leaders and lawmakers, describing the BDS movement as an “economic attack” on Israel. “We cannot allow that to happen,” the governor said, according to the NY Times. “If you boycott against Israel, New York will boycott you.”

Mr. Cuomo signed the executive order, and then joined the wet masses in the parade.

The BDS usual suspects, such as the movement’s Qatari founder Omar Barghouti, called Cuomo’s move part of Israel’s “legal warfare against BDS,” and complained that Israel was trying to “delegitimize the boycott.” Mostly because the boycott represents an effort to delete, not just delegitimize Israel.

The governor later tweeted: “What a great honor it was to march in the @CelebrateIsrael parade today.”

It may have rained on Sunday in Manhattan literally, but it didn’t rain on Israel’s parade figuratively, as the Broadway Cast of Fiddler on the Roof, the band SOULFARM, – the Paprim Ensemble Dancers of Israel Dance Institute, and the Maccabeats — to name but a few — did their thing down the avenue.

Marching Bands included NYC Police, Cadets, Fusion Core, Saint Brigades Drum & Bugle Corps, Connecticut Hurricanes, Bushwhackers Drum & Bugle Corps, Long Island Sunrisers Drum & Bugle Corps, Upper Schuylkill Marching Band, Raiders Drum & Bugle Corps, Excelsior Drum & Bugle Corps, and Skyliners.

The parade featured floats and vehicles from the American Committee for Shaare Zedek Medical Center, American Friends of Magen David Adom, American Technion Society, American Zionist Movement, Ariel University, Avi Chai Foundation, Bank Leumi, Bnei Akiva of the United States and Canada, Carmel, EL AL & Israel Ministry of Tourism, Gift of Life Marrow Registry, Dr. Felix Glaubach & Family, Hazon, Hebron Fund, Hillel Yeshiva, IDB Bank, IDT Corporation, Israel Bonds, State of Israel, Jfiix, Jewish Agency, Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, Jewish National Fund, Kars 4 Kids, Kids of Courage, Nefesh B’ Nefesh, One Israel Fund, Russian American Jewish Experience, Sephardic Heritage Alliance Inc. & Iranian American Jewish Federation, Stand With Us, and UJA-Federation of NY.

Finally, this is the complete list of the marching groups:

92nd St Y/Jdate
AJC-American Jewish Committee
American Russian Jewish Community Cluster /COJECO
American Veterans of Israel Legacy
AIFL-American Israel Friendship League
ARZA
ASHAR
AZM
Barkai Yeshivah
Ben Porat Yosef
Berman Hebrew Academy – Rockville, MD
Bi-Cultural Day School
B’nai Jeshurun
Bnei Akiva of US and Canada
Boy/Girl Scouts of America
Brandeis School
Camp HASC
Carmel Academy
Center for Jewish Life
Chai Riders
Congregation Or Zarua
Cyprus Federation of America
Eagles Wings Ministries
East Midwood Hebrew Day School
Ezra Academy
Friends of Israel Scouts – Tzofim Tzabar
Friends of the IDF
Friends of Yashar LaChayal /East Brunswick Tri-Synagogue Alliance
Frisch School
Golda Och Academy
H.E.S. Hebrew Educational Society
HAFTR Lower/Middle/High School
HALB Middle School
HALB DRS
HALB SKA
HANC
Hannah Senesh Community Day School
Hazon
Heschel School
Hillel International
Hillel Yeshiva/HS
JAFI – Jewish Agency International Development
JCRC – Long Island
Jewish Educational Center
Jewish Educational Center – Bruriah
Jewish Educational Center – Mesivta,
Jewish Federation Northeastern, PA
Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest, NJ
Jewish Federation of North NJ
Jewish Federation Rockland County
Jewish Foundation School
Jewish War Veterans of the USA
Joseph Kushner Academy/Rae Kushner HS
Jscreen
Kinneret Day School
LGBT Cluster
Lone Soldier Center
Lower Merion Cluster
Ma’ayanot Yeshiva HS for Girls
Magen David Yeshiva Celia Esses High School
Magen David Yeshivah  (2015 Winner)
Maimonides Academy – Los Angeles
Manhattan Day School
Manhattan Jewish Experience
Marks Jewish Community House
Marlboro Jewish Center
Monmouth County – Federation from the Heart of NJ
Moriah School
National Conference of Shomrim Societies
Northeast Queens JCC
Northshore Hebrew Academy Middle/High Schools
OHEL Children’s Home & Family Services / Camp Kaylie
OU/Yachad/ NCSY
Progressive Cluster
Rabbi Arthur Schneier Park East Day School
Rabbi Pesach Raymon Yeshiva  (2015 Winner)
RAJE
Ramaz School Middle/High Schools
Rambam Mesivta – Midreshet Shalhevet
Rosenbaum Yeshiva of North Jersey
SAR Academy/High School
SHAI
Shorefront YM-YWHA
Shulamith School for Girls – Cedarhurst
Shulamith School for Girls of Brooklyn
Skaters and Bladers in Memory of JJ Greenberg
Solomon Schechter Day School of Bergen County
Solomon Schechter School of Long Island
Solomon Schechter School of Manhattan
Solomon Schechter School of Queens
Solomon Schechter School of Westchester
Team Lifeline (Chai Lifeline)
Temple Beth Abraham
Temple Israel of Great Neck
Temple Sholom of West Essex
Torah Academy of Bergen County -TABC
UJ Federation of Greater Toronto
United Congregations for Israel
United Mashadi Jewish Committee of America – UMJCA
United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism/USY
Volunteers for Israel
Westchester Day School  (2015 Winner)
Westchester Hebrew High School
Westchester Jewish Council
Yavneh Academy  (2015 Winner)
YB Hillel of Passaic
Yeshiva at the Jersey Shore/Congregation Brothers of Israel
Yeshiva Derech HaTorah
Yeshiva Har Torah
Yeshiva High School 0f Boca Raton
Yeshiva of Central Queens  (2015 Winner)
Yeshiva University
Yeshivah of Flatbush Middle/High School  (2015 Winner)
Yeshivat BitaHon
Yeshivat Noam
Young Judaea/Hadassah
ZOA – Zionist Organziation of America

(Source: Celebrate Israel Parade)

David Israel

Innovation in Jewish Education – “Investing in the Jewish Future”

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016

For years, Jewish education has been searching for a means to inspire, to innovate, and redefine the standard curriculum to engage the next generation of Jews.

Schools across the Jewish spectrum have received constant pressure to re-package and teach classic content in a style that speaks to the students. The fast-pace of today’s technology is forcing educators and the institutions they represent to connect, and to remain relevant.

There are sparks of a burgeoning renaissance in the field of Jewish education. Among the leaders in the groundbreaking initiative are Yeshiva University, who has begun to offer an Experiential Education Certificate to offer Jewish leaders a new set of tools with which to transform teaching material. The premise of the certificate is to encourage the educator to tap into creative, less formal teaching styles that can present the materials in a new light.

The Mayberg Family Foundation is hosting this week (June 1-2) its annual Jewish Education Innovation Challenge (JEIC) retreat. In contrast to the slow process of traditional funding, the Mayberg innovation challenge more closely resembles a Jewish education version of a “pitch night.” At the retreat, finalists have 12 minutes to pitch their projects to a panel of judges, (think “Shark Tank”), who have then discuss and question them. All participants and audience members are invited to access all elements of the grant applications in Mayberg’s Guidebook app, opening the process to the public. Winners will receive notice and a $50,000 grant later this month. Manette Mayberg, trustee of the foundation, views their refreshing funding style as “Investing in the Jewish future.”

This year’s Lead Facilitator at the retreat is Aryeh Ben David, an innovator in education, founder of Ayeka and their “Soulful Education” method. The Soulful Education methodology works with existing schools’ educators and curriculum, but with a new approach to both that changes the emphasis of Judaic Studies from amassing knowledge to processing information for personal transformation and growth.

The argument made is that the innovation needed in Jewish Education is to replace the traditional information accumulation model with one that uses Jewish wisdom as a means to personalization and internalization for teacher and students alike.

The organization’s has recently received grants for the coming school year from The Avichai Foundation, Lippman-Kanfer Foundation for Living Torah, and The Kohelet Foundation for a “start up” program that will provide training, mentoring and ongoing work with 18 faculty members from three Day Schools for an extensive 10-month training period.

“Ayeka isn’t changing the what or the who so much, but rather the how. Jewish educators are being presented with an opportunity to transform the way we reach Jewish learners, not just through conveying information, but by having the students personalize their learning and bring it into their lives.” Ayeka sees its paradigm shifting, unapologetically open approach as a necessary step for improving Jewish education.

While Mayberg places the responsibility on the schools to work and change from within, some more grassroot, independent projects are approaching Jewish education from the perspective of an outsider or consultant.

Shinui is a network of six organizations focused on innovation in the “part time” education sector, such as Sunday school, JCCs, adult education classes and more. While they are not dealing with full time day school, they are challenging boundaries in the non-orthodox world. Collaboration based, they are using platforms of engagement to effect 6 different geographical areas, from Houston to San Francisco.

Kevah, a self-described DIY project, invests in a ground-up educational group. To start a new chapter, a local host convenes a group of learners interested in a certain topic, and then Kevah provides them with an educator, administrative platform, and a curriculum which matches their style. It is up to the group to continue their learning. Their method banks on group dynamics and commitment to make learning a source of enrichment rather than a chore.

When seeking answers to the need for innovation in traditional learning, pioneers are finding communities and learners most responsive when they educate and inspire the personal and spiritual connections each individual forms with Judaism. Recognizing the imperative of continuing Jewish life, they are pushing into the world of the informal and spiritual realms, emphasizing fresh approaches in an effort to disrupt the status quo and keep the Jewish future bright.

Ayeka training retreat in Glencove, NY (

Ayeka training retreat in Glencove, NY (

Rachel Moore

Pres. Rivlin Understands Arab Students’ Dilemma on National Symbols, Anthem: ‘Must Be Addressed’

Monday, May 30th, 2016

President Reuven Rivlin is seeking a way to find the “shvil hazahav” – the golden mean – wherein everyone can find something to agree upon in Israel’s national symbols and anthem.

On Sunday, Rivlin acknowledged that the national anthem, ‘HaTikva,” stirs the hearts of the nations Jews but as such does not do the same for those in the country who were not born Jewish — and this issue must be addressed.

The president acknowledged while speaking with Jewish and Arab students at Jerusalem’s Himmelfarb High School that one “can’t expect loyal Israeli citizens who are not Jewish to say that they have ‘a Jewish spirit yearning deep in the heart’ (quoting from the lyrics on the anthem) because they are not Jews. Maybe their spirit is yearning for their country, but not as part of the Jewish People because they are not part of the Jewish People,” he acknowledged. But the dilemma is not one that is easily remedied, Rivlin said.

Rivlin made the remark in response to a question by an Arab student who asked if it was possible to change or add anything to the symbols of the state, so that Arab citizens can identify with it, and feel a part of the country.

The president deferred to Education Minister Naftali Bennett, who had accompanied him to the school along with Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat. “This dilemma must be solved by Israeli leaders, one of whom is sitting right next to me,” he said. “The question you are asking needs to be on the national agenda in the next generation or two. This is a dilemma we cannot ignore. It needs to be addressed by leaders, by members of Knesset who were chosen by the people,” Rivlin said.

“At this point, where we have to base the existence of the State of Israel on a Jewish State, and a democratic one, we have to hold on to and strengthen the Zionist dream which comes with and often causes friction with those citizens who are not Zionist,” he went on.

“I await the day that every Israeli citizen can identify with the State of Israel and not just the deep, important idea of the 2,000-year-old quest of the Jewish people to return to their homeland.”

Hana Levi Julian

The Big Twelve and Jewish Education

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016

{Originally posted to the author’s website, Emes Ve-Emunah}

The intractable problem of the high cost of Jewish education has once again been discussed in a major Charedi publication. This time it focused on the woefully underpaid Mechanchim. Mishpacha Magazine featured a cover story on Rabbi David Ozeri, the leader of Brooklyn’s Sephardi community. He has made it a top priority to improve the lot of these dedicated teachers.  To say that most Mechanchim currently struggle on the salaries they are paid is an understatement.

I have discussed this issue many times. The problem is that parents can barely afford to pay what they are already being asked to pay. I don’t know too many parents of a typical family size of 4 or 5 children that pay full tuition for all of their children. And I also don’t know too many Orthodox parochial schools that don’t run on deficits. Which leaves their Mechanchim out on a limb.

How can we raise their salaries to a point where they will no longer have to buy groceries on credit – not having enough money to pay for them when they are purchased? They are constantly in a state of debt to the religious grocery store owners who extend this kind of credit out of the goodness of their hearts. They too deserve to be paid what they are owed.  Not to mention the fact that often Mechanchim have to borrow money to pay for life cycle events like weddings for their children. Weddings that are generally very modest.

There are no easy answers. Traditional fund raising by these institutions have their limits. In far too many cases those efforts are maxed out and there is still a short fall at the end of the year. In the more right wings schools where family size is often substantially larger, the scholarship allowances are greater making the shortfall greater. That makes their ability to raise salaries to a livable level a near impossibility. Their parent body is already ‘taxed’ to the limit – paying as much as they possibly can in most cases.

And yet as  is quite clear now more than ever, if we want to perpetuate Orthodox Judaism well into the future, a good Jewish education is indispensable!

Everything I just said is not new. The problem seems to be unsolvable in traditional ways. We can’t expect parents to pay higher tuition from money which they do not have.  Fund raising is maxed out. And even if we could find and eliminate waste in the school budgets, I doubt that would significantly impact their bottom line.

I have in the past made some suggestions about how to remedy the situation. The most important of which has as of yet not been implemented. The fact is that the Orthodox Jewish world has enough money to fund Jewish education.  The money is there.

One of the eye opening comments made in the Mishpacha article was a statistic quoted by one of Rabbi Ozeri’s wealthy donors. He made the astonishing claim that there are 12 billionaires in the Torah world. If this is true, then my proposal that they take ‘the pledge’ would solve the problem.

By coincidence 60 Minutes re-broadcast a story yesterday about ‘The Giving Pledge’(see below). Billionaires Bill and Melinda Gates, and Warren Buffet have started a very exclusive club where they and fellow billionaires pledge to give away at least half of their wealth to the charities of their choice. If there is one ‘charity’ that is vital to the future of Judaism, it is Jewish education. Imagine if these 12 billionaires took the pledge and chose Jewish education as their philanthropic recipients. Imagine funding a super endowment fund with 6 billion dollars designed specifically to supplement the budgets of all parochial elementary and high schools. That would generate who knows how many millions of dollars per year that would go directly to Jewish education.

One might ask whether it’s fair to ask anyone to give away half their wealth to a single charity. I think it’s fair if we are talking billionaires. I don’t see a problem living off the remaining 500 million. I could live on half that. What about other legitimate charities? I think there might be room for additional contributions from the remaining 500 million.

The Jewish people have inherited the trait of Chesed form our patriarch Abraham. But it appears that the non Jewish world has a head start on us. If it is true that there are 12 billionaires in Orthodoxy there is not a doubt in my mind  that they should do this. I don’t see how a Torah oriented billionaire could refuse to do it. They know the value and importance of Jewish education. And they must also know about the economics of it. Of what value is that money if it just sits in their bank accounts?

And this hasn’t even touched the multi-millionaires that could donate millions of their own wealth to such a fund without breaking a sweat.

So here is my message to any Orthodox billionaires and multi-millionaires that may be reading this post:  You have the ability. There is no reason not to do this. It will advance the cause of Jewish education to unprecedented levels; raise the pay-scale for these devoted Mechanchim; help attract top teachers in the future; and take the enormous pressure off  parents struggling to pay their tuition bills. Come on guys. Just do it!

Harry Maryles

#TechnionChallenge Winners Announcement with Jewish Day School Student Reactions

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

In 2016, RAVSAK and the Technion challenged Jewish Day School students around the world to create a Rube Goldberg machine that tells the story of Passover.

Here is the video announcement of the four winning schools and the students’ reactions.

In the closely contested High School category, first place went to the team from Abraham Joshua Heschel High School, in New York City. The judges cited their use of successful energy transfer elements and high creativity level as main reasons for their selection. Second place went to The Weber School in Atlanta, whose entry showed a true understanding for the mechanics involved to create a visually stunning display.

There was a tie for first place in the Middle School category. The entry from the 7th grade team from Bialik College, in Melbourne, Australia, was well-thought out, with many different types of energy transfers – some of which were very unusual for Rube Goldberg machines. The submission of the 6th grade team from Scheck Hillel Community School (North Miami Beach, Florida) was lauded for its creativity, and for energy transfer aspects that were executed properly and efficiently.

Video of the Day

The Essentials In Education

Monday, April 25th, 2016

Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand; instead of a million count half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumb nail. – Henry D. Thoreau

 

Henry Thoreau, the nineteenth century American author, philosopher, and naturalist, was responding to the “speed of modern day” when he argued for simplicity. That speed has certainly gotten faster in the last one hundred and fifty years, and Thoreau’s argument for simplicity is still a good one! In fact, bestselling author Mike Schmoker makes the case in his book Focus: Elevating the Essentials to Radically Improve Student Learning. Schmoker says it is quite simple to get exactly what we want and what students need. We just need to go back to the essentials:

“If we choose to take just a few well-known, straightforward actions in every subject area, we can make swift, dramatic improvements in schools. Some believe we could virtually eliminate the achievement gap within a few years…”

But the price for such swift improvement is steep: Most schools would have to stop doing almost everything they now do in the name of school improvement. Instead, they would have to focus only on implementing “what is essential.” Hardest of all, they would have to “ignore the rest”… the fads, programs, and innovations that now prevent us from ensuring that every student in every school receives a quality education.

Schmoker goes on to explain what is essential for schools. He identifies three simple things:

Reasonably coherent curriculum (what we teach)

Sound lessons (how we teach)

More purposeful reading and writing in every discipline, or authentic literacy (integral to both what and how we teach).

While these three categories of educational reform are arguably simple, it is also important that everyone understands exactly what they mean in order to begin the improvement process together:

            What we Teach. There are many curricula focused on different skills and content. Schmoker explains that what we teach needs to be tied to authentic literacy. In other words, we need to have students reading, writing, and talking about the essential information in each subject. He says that too many students leave school without the skills they will need for the twenty-first century. They need to be able to “read, write, cipher… think and solve problems… draw upon a rich vocabulary based on a deep understanding of language and the human condition.” This means that students should engage in the material in sufficient intellectual depth, and should not be excessively tied to the “standards.” In fact, Schmoker claims that the standards detract from real learning. Working with curricula that truly allow students to read, write, and talk about the essential content will prepare students for college, careers, and productive citizenship.

            How we Teach. In 2007, a study reported that teachers are the most important school factor in how much children learn. Effectively teaching is not a mysterious process. In fact, it consists of just a few teaching practices that are not at all new. They are:

Clear objectives (or goals). These goals are established by the teacher and stated to the students

Teaching, modeling, and demonstrating. Students can get a sense of how to do the skills through the teachers’ words and actions.

Guided practice. Students have an opportunity to try their own hand at the activity.

Checks for understanding. Before moving onto the next skills, teachers ensure that all students understand the lesson at hand.

            Authentic Literacy. When Schmoker talks about “authentic literacy,” he is not talking about “reading skills.” Instead, he is describing purposeful (and usually argumentative) reading, writing, and talking about a subject. That means that in math, students will read, write, and talk about square roots. The same for science and history. Often, English is the only subject that deals with “reading comprehension;” however, Schmoker points out that this is the single most important skill in the twenty-first century. And, unfortunately, it is under-taught and under-valued. Reading, writing, and talking about the subject can help with content and with thinking skills.

Rifka Schonfeld

Beis Ya’kov Girls Get Passover Gift: Multiplication Table Printed on Cleaning Rags

Thursday, April 14th, 2016

The 3rd grade students at the Beis Ya’akov school for girls in Netanya, Israel, which is part of the Independent (Haredi) school system, on Wednesday received an unusual gift from their teacher on the last day before the Passover break: cleaning rags printed with the school’s name, the multiplication table (1 through 100) and the following ditty (translated from the Hebrew, where it also rhymes):

To the bright schoolgirl,
Who scrubs and brightens with the rag in her hand,
Learn and memorize the multiplication table,
And honor your parents multiple times.

The parents of said schoolgirls told Yedioth Aharonoth the gift is offensive to the girls as well as to their families. They said the message that emanates from it is that “a woman is not too bright and her role is to clean the house.” One of the mothers who’s kids attend the girls’ school, said that if it turns out the rag was actually handed out by the school principal and not as a prank by one of the teachers, she would consider looking for a different school for her girls after Passover. Another mother called the incident “serious” and said “it is inconceivable that a teacher in Israel would express herself in such a way that represses the student’s self-esteem.”

The Netanya municipality issued a statement saying that since the school is part of the Independent system, it is not part of the general public school system programs. However, the city spokesperson added, “the content is entirely contrary to the values being taught by the municipal education administration, which fosters openness, achievement and innovation.”

The spokesperson announced there would be an inquiry with the Beis Ya’akov school management.

The school principal was not available to comment. However, several Haredi sources told the ultra-Orthodox Kikar Hashabbat website that the entire thing is a tempest in a teapot, and there’s no problem with schoolgirls memorizing the multiplication table while scrubbing the house for Passover. In fact, those mothers, instead of being offended, should be proud of their industrious daughters.

JNi.Media

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/beis-yakov-girls-get-passover-gift-multiplication-table-printed-on-cleaning-rags/2016/04/14/

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