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April 17, 2014 / 17 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘office’

Boys And Reading: Is There Any Hope?

Friday, November 23rd, 2012

In a recent New York Times article, Robert Lipsyte, a sports author, posed the following question: “Boys and Reading: Is There Any Hope?” For years, I have been dealing with this question in my office. In fact, the U.S. Department of Education’s reading tests for the last thirty years show boys scoring worse than girls in every age group, every year.

A few months ago, a boy who I will call Mordechai came to my office with his mother. Mordechai was struggling with kriyah and English reading and his mother wanted to know if there was something deeper going on.

After a thorough evaluation, I was able to rule many things out. Mordechai did not have dyslexia, attention deficit disorder (ADHD), or sensory processing disorder (SPD). What Mordechai was exhibiting was not a difficulty with reading, but rather a reluctance to read. He simply saw no value in the enterprise and was therefore not interested in learning the skill. Even as a second grader, he had decided what his priorities were: sports and math. Sports was not only physical, but social as well and math factored into his everyday life in a way he felt reading did not.

Now, came the tricky part. How can you get someone to learn something if they have decided that they do not want to? After all, as Robert Lipsyte points out, “boys’ aversion to reading, let alone to novels, has been worsening for years.” First, we should discuss why it is that boys feel that reading has little significance in their lives:

Fiction vs. non-fiction. Many English teachers, who also happen to be female, teach reading through works of fiction. Unfortunately, studies show that boys tend to relate better to non-fiction. Thus, during the formative reading years, children are exposed to reading materials that are better suited to one gender over the other.

Role models. Boys will often see their mothers reading on Shabbos afternoon or in the evenings, but many rarely see their fathers engaged in a book. This is not because their fathers do not read. Rather, frequently, this is because their fathers will be learning in shul or with a chavrusah – experiences that boys do not have until they are beyond the elementary stages of reading.

Biology. On the whole, boys develop fine motor skills (such as hand-eye coordination) slightly later than girls. This can create difficulty with reading and writing at a young age.

Limited selection. Teachers don’t always know what is out there for boys that will engage them on to interact with a text with empathy and sincerity. Schools tend to work with books that are classics because they will encounter less resistance from parents. However, this sometimes means that books that boys might find engaging never make it into the classroom.

Filling The Reading Gap

Why do we care so much about reading? Why is it important to get our boys reading to their greatest potential? The most basic reason is that reading is the most important skill that people have in order to enhance their intelligence. Through reading, people improve their vocabularies and memories, become better writers, and even relieve stress. On a more practical level, literacy levels are correlated with financial success. In sum, we need to ensure that our boys are reading because their lives will be more fulfilling, relaxed and comfortable.

Therefore, how can we help boys learn to read? Below are some time-tested solutions:

Instruction tailored to boys’ learning style. Teachers should create lessons that have clear, structured instruction with short bursts of intense work. When teachers set specific goals and praise students for their success, the boys will be more likely to push themselves in the future. In addition, hands-on learning models that are coupled with a sense of humor are great tools for getting boys involved in reading.

Role models. Young boys need to see male role models who are reading. Remember, any text is reading – including fathers studying Gemara at the dining room table after lunch on Shabbos or reading the newspaper on a weekday morning. The idea is that boys see their fathers reading and understand that this is an activity valued by both male and female role models.

What if the Siren Goes off When I’m Alone?

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

I’m in the office today until late. I spoke to Aliza shortly after she came home. I explained I’d be here for a while, at least. She’s home alone until my husband returns from work and some errands.

“Ima, what if the siren goes off when I’m alone?” she asked me.

“Go quickly into the bomb shelter and close the door,” I told her, my heart clenching at the thought of her in a  bomb shelter alone.

“I’ll take my phone with me,” she said, and I quickly agree.

“I’ll call you right away and you can call me,” I answer back.

“Can I take Simba in with me?” she asks. Simba is our dog.

“Of course you can. That’s wonderful. You take care of Simba and call him into the room.”

What world do we live in that a 12-year old has to consider going into a bomb shelter alone? If I could leave now, I would but Al Jazeera English contacted me and asked me to be on their show. Check out my next post on that…

Visit A Soldier’s Mother.

Double Bus Exploded in Tel-Aviv, 21 Injured, 3 Serious

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

Around noon, Wednesday, a young man boarded the Dan transit company number 142 articulated bus in downtown Tel-Aviv, an area of many government and business hi-risers (the IDF command center is situated only a few blocks away), and while riding for as few minutes, the man planted a bomb on the bus, exited at the corner of Weizman and Shaul Hamerlech Streets, as behind his back a huge explosion rocked the bus, shattering its glasses and blackening its front and interiors.

The 142 bus exploded a minute or so before it would have reached its most popular spot, by the Arlozorov Street train station, where it would have been boarded by dozens of passengers, in the midst of a large crowd of pedestrians.

A police official told Ma’ariv that the organizers of this attack were hoping for a “big” event with multiple casualties.

Large police, Firefighting and EMT forces are arriving at the bus site. The street was blocked.

There are 17 injured, two of them inmoderate to serious condition, who were taken to the Ichilov Hospital nearby. No fatality, thank God.

The Ichilov Medical Center is right on Weizman Street, a short walk from the explosion.

An Army Radio reporter said that the internal damage was not as extensive as in previous explosions in years past.

Unofficial report says there was no suicide bomber on board, which suggests an explosive charge was planted on the bus. This would explain the relatively limited damage, compared to past explosions. Rumor has it that the terrorist was seen fleeing the bus and security forces were giving chase.

An eye witness told Army radio she heard the explosion and went out of her office, to discover a scene of smoke and shattered glass. She saw a female soldier’s body being removed from the bus.

Office workers in the district received warning to remain in their offices, because police suspect that the terrorist, is still at large.

An MDA official said that because of the war there is an increased number of ambulances in the city.

There are warnings about several terrorist teams in the city who are planning more attacks. Traffic jams are paralyzing access to downtown this afternoon.

Tel-Aviv school children were told to stay in school this afternoon, until further notice.

 

Hamas Claims: We Shot Down an Israeli Plane

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

Hamas has announced that it shot down an Israeli warplane by a land to air missile. The IDF denies the claim.

The IDF spokesperson’s office assured The Jewish Press that the reported downing of an Israeli plane “never happened.”

Vantage Point

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

This is a picture of President Barack Obama watching the Vice Presidential debate aboard Air Force One with members of his staff, en route from Florida to Joint Base Andrews, Maryland. It was taken Oct. 11, 2012, when to the rest of us the campaign looked wide open, with a slight advantage to the Republicans.

For mortals like myself it’s difficult to imagine beating an opponent who sits in his office watching live television while flying from Florida to Maryland. I would think you’d have to be extremely persuasive to pull it off. A few have. Not this time. Not last time around, back in 2004. Not the time before that, in 1996.

In fact, the last time it was done was with the help of a third party candidate, who siphoned off 19% of the vote from the incumbent, George Bush I. And the challenger was the best political campaigner in recent memory, Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton.

We should keep this image in mind as we’re approaching a year of open conflict with our best friend and ally across the ocean. He has oodles of power and resources we cannot match. To come up ahead – as we must – we need to be better than Mitt Romney.

Three Things to Do Before Meeting Your Financial Planner

Friday, November 9th, 2012

Did you know that the most important part of a financial planning meeting occurs even before you set foot inside your financial adviser’s office?

Before you meet for the first time, you need to do your homework. Even the most professional adviser can’t help you if you haven’t done these three things:

1. Make a list of your current income and expenses, as well as future anticipated income and expenses. Then, create a careful inventory of your net assets. Include any property you own, including stocks, bonds, mutual funds, savings and pension plans. To make this easier, use these trackers to organize your information.

2. Outline your goals.  Take a realistic look at what you want to accomplish beyond paying your monthly bills.  Do you have large college tuition expenses or wedding bills looming in the future?

When do you wish to retire? All of the various factors that may affect your future goals and desires should be written down before you meet with your financial planner so they can be included in the plan.

3. Buy a box of tissues either for the disappointing news that your aspirations are beyond your means or for the tears of joy when you find that your dreams are within your reach. While meeting with a financial planner can help create order an increased chances of reaching your goals, it shouldn’t bring any surprises.

The more complete your list of net assets, the more thoughtful your goals, and the more realistic your expectations are, the greater the chances of your reaching them… and the better you’ll sleep.

If you’re like me, even the most comfortable eye shades won’t help you fall asleep unless your finances are in order. A financial planner can’t make miracles or predict the future. However, if the clients supply accurate information and realistic goals, together they can create a financial plan to maximize chances of reaching your life goals.

Sandy Flooding Closing Forward Offices ‘For Months’

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012

A Manhattan office building that houses the Jewish Daily Forward may be closed for several months due to flood damage sustained from Hurricane Sandy.

Citing an unnamed disaster recovery company official involved with the building, where the newspaper has an office on the eighth floor, The New York Times reported Monday that 125 Maiden Lane may remain closed for months while transformers, boilers and other equipment are replaced.

Forward publisher Samuel Norich reportedly said he heard from building management that 8 million gallons of water were pumped from the basement of the building.

“We had prepared for an emergency,” Norich told The New York Times. “The emergency we had prepared for was an act of terrorism, not this.”

Forward reporters who had power at home worked remotely throughout the hurricane and into the weekend, and managed to publish its Yiddish and English paper the weekend after the storm.

Makom Hadash, an office sharing-initiative led by the Jewish environmental group Hazon, has leased space in the Forward’s office since 2010. The initiative’s partner organizations, which also are affected by the building’s closure, include Limmud NY, Moving Traditions, Storahtelling, Nehirim, B3: The Jewish Boomer Platform and the Jewish Greening Fellowship, an initiative of the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center.

JTA, whose New York-based employees have been operating remotely since shortly before Labor Day, is expecting additional delays in moving into its new Manhattan office on West 30th Street.

Several synagogues, Jewish day schools and other Jewish organizations sustained serious flood damage when Hurricane Sandy swept through the greater New York area on Oct. 29.

Among the organizations that sustained damage to their facilities from direct flooding were the Russian American Jewish Experience (RAJE), the Mazel Day School and the Jewish Community Council of Greater Coney Island, all in Brooklyn, as well as the Hebrew Academy of Long Beach on Long Island.

‘IDF Officers to Train Saad Hariri’s Men against Hezbolla in Jordan’

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

According to the Lebanese newspaper Al Diyar, which enjoys close ties to Hezbollah and the Syrian government, Israel has agreed to train soldiers affiliated with former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who is currently in exile, preparing them to fight against the Hezbollah  According to the report, during his visit to Qatar, Hariri met with Vice Foreign Minister Dani Ayalon and a representative of the Mossad with the backing of the Qatar government and Qatar’s Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani. They agreed on establishing a training camp in Jordan, with Arabic speaking Israeli officers.

The article stated that some 500 fighters will be trained each month, with the goal of reaching 20,000 soldiers after two years. A series of monthly coordination meetings was agreed on at that meeting as well.

Saad Hariri, a favorite of the Saudis and the West, was ousted from his office of Lebanon’s prime minister in January, 2011. This took place after Hezbollah and its partners in parliament broke away from the government and overthrew Hariri following an international court’s decision to indict Hezbollah for the murder of his father, former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik el Hariri. Following the report’s publication and the arrest warrants issued against Hezbollah activists, Hariri escaped to Saudi Arabia, fearing an assassination attempt against him.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/idf-officers-to-train-saad-hariris-men-against-hezbolla-in-jordan/2012/10/23/

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