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April 24, 2014 / 24 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘test’

The Impact of Anxiety On Children In The Classroom

Friday, August 31st, 2012

Tuesday afternoon, 1:30 p.m.

Pinny is a fourth grader in Mrs. Spitzer’s classroom. The class is doing a math lesson – its long division. Pinny loves math, so he’s giving Mrs. Spitzer his full attention.

“Now class,” Mrs. Spitzer intones, “what do we do after we subtract 7 from 9?” “Bring down the 4,” answers the entire class in unison.

O.K. I know subtract and bring down, but haw does it start again? Oy, I’m never gonna be able to do this. We have a social studies test on Thursday on 40 pages in the book. 40 pages!!! How am I gonna study 4O pages?

“On to more examples. 653 divided by 9.”

Pinny glances down at his math workbook, and is surprised to discover that he has written nothing in the spaces for the answers to numbers 1,2,3, and 4. As he glances around the classroom, he sees that everyone’s workbook is filled except his. As he quickly glances at Chaim’s workbook, which is on the desk next to his and fills in the answers, he feels so frustrated.

“What s wrong with me,” he wonders.

Test Taking Anxiety

Thursday Afternoon, 2:30 p.m.

Pinny feels nervous. He studied the material a few times with his mother the night before, but he is not sure he knows it well. He couldn’t eat breakfast or lunch properly so his stomach is rumbling and his mouth feels dry.

“Keep your eyes on your own paper” says Mrs. Spitzer firmly. “Turn your papers over and you may begin.”

Pinny turns his paper over and looks at it again and again. None of it, nothing seems familiar. “Maybe I got the wrong test, “Pinny thinks to himself. “Let me take a look at Chaim’s paper. I hope Mrs. Spitzer doesn’t notice. Nope. It’s the exact same test. I don’t get it I studied hard last night? What happened?”

And as he watches everybody else busily filling in answers on their test paper, he frantically tries to recall something, ANYTHING, from last night’s study session. Pinny sits there feeling truly helpless and wondering “what’s wrong with me?”

Following Instructions/Comprehension

Friday Morning, 11:45 a.m.

Pinny is exhausted. He barely slept the night before worrying about taking the bus to go to his grandmother’s house for Shabbos. This would be the first time he would be going there straight from school.

The Rebbe is speaking to the boys, something about bus changes.

“O.K. boys, listen up. We have new drivers on the buses, and the routes have changed slightly. I’m going to read your name and bus number. After that, I want you to pack up, and wait on line until I dismiss you.

“Berkowitz, Benoliel, Cahan, and Davis, bus number 41. Ettinger, Friedman, Ganzweig, and Gewirtz, bus number 42.”

I hope Bobby prepared my favorite chocolate cake. I hope she remembered that the cover that she usually keeps on the bed is very scratchy and itchy. I hope she changed it to the green and blue one.

Mommy thinks I’m big enough to take the bus all by myself. I hope she’s right and I don’t get…

“Pinny,” a deep voice interrupts “Everyone else is packed up, on line, and ready to go.”

“Right Rebbe, I’ll be really quick .Which bus am I going on again?” Pinny hears the rebbe audibly sigh, as he repeats the instructions for the bus.

Memory

Friday afternoon 12:10 p.m.

Pinny gets on the bus headed to Flatbush. He feels a bit queasy, but he has reviewed the route so many times with his mother that he’s pretty sure he’ll know where to go. After frantically searching through his knapsack, he realizes that he has misplaced the address.

O.K., so I’ve been to Bobby’s house before, I’ll just wing the address from memory. Is it 1427 East 37th street, or 1437 East 27th street. Which one is it? I can’t remember. Which one is it? Let me think…Let me think…. O.K. I know my friend Simcha lives around the corner from Bobby, and he lives on East 28th street, so its gotta be…Whewl Here’s the paper with the address stuck in the pocket of my folder. East 27th street here we come!

Are You Really a Jew?

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

These days, it’s pretty hard to know who really is Jewish. Let’s take the example of the singles-bar scene in New York. A lot of times a Jewish guy will start talking to girl (call her Debbie) and during the conversation, he’ll ask if she’s Jewish, and she says, “Sure,” when she isn’t Jewish at all. How so?  Let’s say Debbie’s Jewish grandfather married a non-Jew and they had a daughter together. The grandfather told his daughter that she was Jewish, so she grew up thinking she was a Jew. When it came time for her to marry, she married a Jew, to please her father, and so her poor husband married her, innocently thinking she was Jewish because that’s what she believed. When they raised their child, Debbie, they told her she was Jewish, even though she isn’t Jewish at all. Tragically, this scenario has occurred in hundreds of thousands of cases, throughout the Diaspora. It’s another reason why it’s so very dangerous to live there.

So I have devised an almost foolproof test to determine if a person is really a Jew. If you can read Chapter 8 of my novel, “Tevye in the Promised Land,” without getting goose bumps, it may be because you aren’t Jewish. Like I said, the test isn’t 100% foolproof. It could be that you are merely emotionally retarded. Or maybe your concentration span has been so crippled by the Internet that you don’t have the patience to read to the end.

And the opposite is also true. Lots of non-Jews who read the chapter get goose bumps and that doesn’t prove that their Jews. It shows they are lovers of Israel, that’s all. Or that they recognize outstanding literature.

Fortunately for you, this wonderful Jewish novel is currently being serialized in The Jewish Press, www.jewishpress.com/sections/books/tevye-in-the-promised-land-books/tevye-in-the-promised-land-chapter-eight-the-holy-land/2012/08/07/

so you can take the test right now. Get ready to shiver!

Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities

Sunday, July 22nd, 2012

A Reader’s Compelling Argument:
Is Dor Yeshorim obligated to release one’s lost ID number?

Dear Rachel,

My name is Sholom and I’d like to share with you my ongoing experience with Dor Yeshorim. I believe strongly in my position but I would appreciate a reasoned response from a dissenting point of view.

I took the Dor Yeshorim test last year together with my friend. I lost my ID number. As you probably know, Dor Yeshorim is a genetic testing program to determine genetic compatibility between potential shidduchim. Test results are not disclosed but rather a unique ID number is attached to the file and given to the tested.

In addition to this number, the file contains some bits of personal information, such as home phone number (from which you must call to check compatibility), date of birth, gender and time and place of testing.

If the ID number is lost, Dor Yeshorim’s policy mandates a new test be taken; there is no way they will disclose any information without the ID number present. If I provide my phone number (and call from that number), as well as my date of birth, gender and date and location the test was administered, and all these pieces of information collectively only match one file, then what doubt could exist that this file is mine?

Certainly no reasonable doubt, and I believe none at all, but still Dor Yeshorim insists this is too risky and they are not comfortable going by this, which brings me to my next point: I have autonomy. If DY is not comfortable skydiving, I may skydive. If DY is not comfortable with this “risk,” which in my opinion is non-existent, why should they be allowed to impose upon me? If all my information matches only one file and I am prepared to shoulder the responsibility from here on in, so why then should DY make such a decision for me? This decision should be mine to make.

Lastly, and I would like to hear a rabbinic response to this, I believe that DY is obligated to return my number which has the status of a lost object after I provide two identifying signs. Any ideas on how I could convince Dor Yeshorim legally or rabbinically to release my ID number would be very appreciated.

Thanks for reading and looking forward to hearing any response.

Fairness in numbers

Dear Fairness,

The way we understand it, Dor Yeshorim runs a tight ship and has upheld its rules since the day of its inception in the 1980s. One rule put in place specifies that a person who loses his or her identification number will need to be retested. The entire system is based on anonymity and DY can therefore not connect one with his or her test result file without that vital ID number.

Even if, as you say, you can provide your phone number, date of birth, etc., technically an individual other than you can be in possession of all of this personal information and pose as you. Remote as this may actually be, it seems that the rules instituted by this organization are ironclad and not meant to be broken.

Still and all, your argument is a most persuasive one. Since this column submits to being neither a speaking head for Dor Yeshorim nor a rabbinical authority in any sense of the term, readers are welcome to contribute their views on this young man’s delicate quandary.

Refraining from Vaccinating our Children against Chickenpox: Prudent or ill advised?

Dear Rachel,

My 10-month old recently came down with a full-blown case of chickenpox, and while I was trying to be vigilant in not having it spread to other children, I was floored by how many moms commented that they wished their children would catch it. This is one of those infectious diseases children receive immunizations for (my older children have been vaccinated), yet these moms do not allow their tots to receive this protection. (The vaccine is not administered to babies in their first year of life.)

I questioned one mother about her attitude and her take was that she felt safer with her children contracting chickenpox rather than being injected with lab-induced chemicals. She argues that we’ve all had the chickenpox as kids and survived it.

Debunking Myths in Women’s Health Update

Thursday, July 12th, 2012

Earlier this year, the American Cancer Society came out with new guidelines concerning Pap smears, which screen for cervical cancer. Conventional wisdom had long held that women should receive annual Pap smears, but in March, doctors announced the new guidelines suggesting that women receive a Pap smear once every three years.

Over 12,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year, and more than 4,000 die each year from the disease. Getting a regular Pap smear can detect the early signs of the disease, when it is most treatable.

Dr. Debbie Saslow, director of Breast and Gynecologic Cancer of the American Cancer Society, said it was the first time the Society was recommending more infrequent screenings. So why the change?

Since cervical cancer grows slowly, many doctors agree that there’s no harm in waiting longer between Pap smears, and that having too many Pap smears carries its own risk, as they often cause false alarms and lead women to undergo unnecessary test procedures that can weaken the cervix. Weak or damaged cervixes can lead to preterm labor, which results in low birth weight for infants.

Also for the first time, the new guidelines say that when women turn 30, they can get the Pap test along with a test for the human papillomavirus, a sexually transmitted virus that can cause cervical cancer, and if both tests come back negative, most women can wait another five years before taking the tests again.

The new guidelines also suggest that women stop getting screened altogether after they turn 65 if everything still looks okay.

While these new principles were perhaps the biggest change in women’s health advice in 2012 so far, other myths and erroneous ideas have been disproven, although many women may be unaware of them.

Many people think cancer cannot be prevented, but scientists believe that as many as 50 percent of cancer deaths in the U.S. are causes by social and environmental factors, as well as poor personal choices.

For example, it’s estimated that more than a fourth of breast cancers in postmenopausal women might be due to physical inactivity and carrying extra weight. Diligent attention to mammograms – women over 40 should have a mammogram every one to two years – can detect breast cancer at its earliest stages when it is most treatable. Women who are concerned with exposure to radiation should know that the American College of Radiology says that the amount of radiation is very minute, and its risk is far outweighed by the benefits of annual mammograms.

In addition, breastfeeding has been linked to lower premenopausal breast cancer rates, as well as lower rates of ovarian cancer.

Maintaining a healthy weight and getting regular screenings also play a role in helping to prevent cervical and colorectal cancer.

Avoiding tobacco is also one of the most important ways to prevent certain cancers, notably lung cancer, as well as coronary heart disease. Even secondhand smoke can have deleterious effects to your health, so make sure to send any smokers in your family outside when they light up (if you cannot get them to quit). Diligent use of sunscreen, to avoid exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays, can help prevent skin cancer.

Some young women who have no history of breast cancer in their families believe they don’t need to be vigilant about monthly breast exams, but the fact is that the majority of women diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history of the disease, nor do they possess the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene that are risk factors for the disease.

Many women who start families may also believe that certain birth defects are inevitable. But of the estimated 3,000 pregnancies in the U.S. each year result in defects of the brain (ancencephaly), or spine (spina bifida), anamazing 70 percent of these defects can be prevented by consuming adequate amounts of folic acid daily, starting before pregnancy. If you are even thinking of becoming pregnant, or know it may be a possibility, make sure to consume at least 400 micrograms of folic acid daily.

Many of us have heard the rule that in order to really affect our weight and health, we must exercise at least 30-60 minutes each day. Finding this amount of time each day is not realistic for those who work, parent, or both. Many studies have found that regular bursts of activity – anything from ten minutes a day two or three times a day, or twenty minutes of intense exercise (to the point where you’re breathing so heavily you find it hard to talk) four or five times a week may be as beneficial to your health as continuous periods of exercise.

Threshold Incubator Gives Educators the Business

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

Welcome to the Threshold (www.Threshold.org.il), a Jewish educational entrepreneurship incubator in Israel, an incubator to help educators not only thrive financially in Israel, but do what they do best – educate.

It’s Thursday night and the presentation hall at the Hebrew University Givat Ram campus is full of energy and verve. As each presenter complete their 50 second “elevator pitch” about the venture they’re launching, the room explodes in supportive cheers and applause. “Come talk to me!” is the catchphrase nearly each speaker ends with, to a room full of fellow entrepreneurs, mentors, coaches and perhaps investors.

The idea is surprisingly simple, as explained to me by Threshold founder, Rabbi Aaron Leibowitz:

Too often, English-speaking Olim with a background in education find that job opportunities in Israel in their fields are limited because of language, demand and opportunity.

The goal of Threshold is to provide educators with the tools they need to step outside the box and create their own education-based opportunities and not rely on existing, more limited frameworks.

Fifteen Fellows were accepted to the first round of the program, and they spent the past six months developing technologies, business ideas, and, in some cases, actual businesses.

A few venture ideas stood out.

Tiyul B’Aretz (www.tiyulbaretz.org) is for college students who want to study in Israel, but don’t have the inclination (or ability) to sit in a classroom. All of Israel is the classroom for Tiyul B’Aretz and its experiential learning program. Participating students actually receive college credits in this MASA-sponsored program for touring and experiencing Israel in the field.

Super Slav Quail Farm (www.MoshavMesorah.com), brought the birds with them. I’m not sure what the connection to education was, but these guys are planning on building a kosher quail (and game) farm, and hope to introduce quail into the gourmet market.

Shabbat of a Lifetime (www.ShabbatofaLifetime.com) is already launched and profitable.

Anyone who’s been to the Kotel on Friday night knows who Jeff Seidel is. He’s the guy that finds and sends unaffiliated Jews to people’s homes for a Friday night meal, introducing them this way to their Jewish heritage.

Shabbat of a Lifetime (not affiliated with Seidel) has taken that concept and turned it into a business that targets tour groups and individuals visiting Israel, giving them the opportunity to have an authentic Shabbat experience with a Jewish family.

Shabbat of a Lifetime’s goal is to teach visitors about Israel, Judaism, and even do a little Hasbarah (promotion) along the way.

Schneider Learning: Al Pi Darko is a tool for schools and educators to help test and advance their students’ Torah learning based on those students’ individual needs.

It begins with a diagnostic test that maps each student’s strengths and weaknesses, and then automatically builds tailored programs to help advance them to the level at which they need to be.

The simplest example would be if a student had trouble reading Rashi script. The diagnostic test would recognize that, and the program would then concentrate on helping the student gain that missing skill.

The program has already passed a successful 200 student pilot and I can see this becoming a standardized tool in the Yeshiva system.

The last venture that stood out was the New Jerusalem Talmud Project (www.NewJerusalemTalmud.org). A fascinating idea, it was one of those things for which you simply can’t see any immediate and obvious commercial application for it, but you know someone eventually will.

It’s essentially a Wiki laid out like a Gemorah page. But unlike a wiki which is about knowledge, NJT is about taking actual arguments and displaying all the sides and disagreements in a graphically organized manner, so you can trace the argument components and structure, breaking it down until you can see what and where the real points of disagreement actually are.

I recommend that you frequent the Threshold website for news of upcoming ventures. It’s sure to revive your faith in Jewish ingenuity — and in faith.

The Revelation On Mount Sinai – A Strengthening In Faith Forever

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

There is a tradition from the Vilna Gaon that Milchemes Gog and Magog at the time of Moshiach will last only 12 minutes. In that short amount of time 1/3 of the world will be destroyed, 1/3 severely wounded and 1/3 will survive. Until recently this was incomprehensible – how could such destruction happen so quickly? The answer came with the onset of the atomic age. With nuclear weapons, mass destruction can occur, G-d forbid, in just moments. However there is a deeper explanation. The great baalei mussar explain that this war will not be a mere physical battle, but rather a battle of emunah – faith. This battle will be the final attempt of the forces of evil to conquer the world. The whole world will be thrown into turmoil and our very faith in Hashem will be tested to the utmost. Those who are steadfast will merit seeing the coming of Moshiach. This test will be only take 12 minutes, but it will be overwhelming. If we prepare ourselves now, we will hopefully pass that great ordeal with flying colors.

In truth, our generation is being tested in ways previous generations never imagined. The abundance of wealth, lives of comfort and easy accessibility to the worst sins have shaken our nation. We can only hope for the quick arrival of Moshiach to save us from further deterioration. The Satan knows that his days are numbered, and soon his Domain of Evil will be wiped off the face of earth forever. He is therefore bombarding us with weapons that have never before been at his disposal. How can we strengthen our faith in Hashem so that we can survive his massive onslaught? The chag of Shavuosgives us a great opportunity.

The Foundation of Our Faith

Many years ago in Yemen the Jews were suffering from severe religious persecutions. In order to strengthen them, the Rambam wrote a beautiful letter called Igeres Teiman – the Letter to Yemen. He writes: “It is proper for you my brothers to raise your children on that great event (i.e. the Revelation on Mount Sinai), and relate in public its greatness and honor and splendor, for it is the pillar which our faith stands on…. for this great and massive event which was seen clearly, never happened before in the world’s history and will never happen again. That is, that an entire nation should hear the word of Hashem and see His honor with their very eyes. Raise your children on that great experience!” The Rambam teaches us that to strengthen our faith, we must reiterate to ourselves and our children that we saw clearly – with our own eyes – Hashem’s Glory and Sovereignty, as it says: “You have been shown that Hashem is the only God – there is none besides Him!” (Devarim4:35)

The Point of the Revelation

Continues the Rambam, “The point of this event was in order to give our faith a great strengthening… as the Torah tells us (Yisro 20:17) ‘In order to test you, Hashem is coming, and in order so that His fear should be upon you so that you should not sin.’ In other words, the reason why He revealed Himself in this manner was so that we should be able to overcome any test which may come upon us in the end of days, so that our hearts should not budge and come to sin.” The Rambam is teaching us that this great experience fortified us so strongly with faith that we now have the keys to withstand the greatest tests in emunah in any generation, and especially the ones before the coming of Moshiach!

How is this so? The Medrash Tanchuma (Parshas Noach) tells us that Hashem raised Har Sinai over the heads of the entire nation and threatened to bury them alive if they didn’t accept the Oral Torah. The Maharal explains that this was really a figurative description of what had happened. At that moment, Hashem revealed the inner workings and secrets of the entire universe. From the highest level of the Heavens, down to the deepest depths of the earth, everything was opened to them and they saw clearly that there is none besides Him! At the same time they saw how the entire universe is dependent on our accepting and keeping the entire Torah. This awareness took away any possibility of not accepting the Oral Torah.

The Quiz

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

Victim Or Survivor?

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

Everyone, at least one time in his or her life, gets knocked down, and most of us have trouble getting back up. Let’s face it – we all get depressed at times. Sometimes we get stuck in a funk and we don’t know how to get out of it, especially if we’re constantly being knocked down. Eventually, we don’t even want to get up anymore. Why should we get back up, just to get knocked down again?

That’s when we have to catch ourselves and be conscious of our thoughts. What does being self-aware have to do with getting back on our feet, you ask? Just about everything.

Most of us aren’t really aware of our thoughts. If we would pay attention to the thoughts going through our heads, we would notice that more than half of them are negative: towards others and ourselves. We’re our own best critic. From when we wake up in the morning until we go to bed, we constantly put ourselves down and pick on ourselves.

The most common thing we do is victimize. Sounds like some therapeutic technical term? It is. There is a popular therapy called cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT for short. Suppose you failed a test. Along with this situation comes either a feeling, thought, physical reaction, behavior, or perhaps all four. You failed the test so you feel sad, maybe angry or frustrated. You’ll probably be thinking, “I’m stupid” or “I could have done better.” Maybe you’ll cry, or scream. And then your behavior will be probably to give up and not try on the next test since you failed this one. That’s the gist of CBT. Situations trigger the four reactions and each of these four lead to each other until it’s a vicious cycle of thoughts and feelings and behaviors and a whole big jumble.

So you see, the way we think has a huge effect on pretty much everything. Like it says, “A person is where his or her thoughts are.”

Now, how can we change that entire situation?

You failed the test. You feel bad and upset and you start picking on yourself. Wait – STOP.

Seriously, picture a stop sign and yell out to your racing thoughts to hold up and slow down. Now that your thoughts are frozen, think about what you were just doing. You were victimizing.

Let’s talk about a victim versus a survivor.

Isn’t it interesting how they could both mean the same thing but totally different things at the same time? “She’s a victim of the war.” “She survived the war.” They both went through a war. They both got out of it. But one’s a victim, and one’s a survivor. Why is that? What makes one a victim and the other a survivor? It’s their thoughts, the way they think which changes the way they hold themselves and creates who they are.

The victim thinks “Why me?” She spends the war and post-war angry and sad – which is totally normal, but the victim lives in her anger and sadness. It becomes her; it’s who she is.

The survivor has a totally different way of thinking. Sure, she gets angry, sad, and depressed. But it’s different with the survivor. Instead of thinking, “Why me?” she thinks, “This happened to me, and it’s difficult and awful and it just plain sucks. But I can get through this; the war will be over soon.” She doesn’t live the war. The war hasn’t taken her over and controlled her. She hasn’t become a victim, she’s a survivor.

How do we become survivors? Let’s be more self-aware. In every situation stop yourself, and be aware of your thoughts. Are you in victim mode or survival mode? Is this never going to end or is it long but over soon? Notice how different the positive thoughts are, and how different and happier we are because of them. It’s all about thinking positively, being a survivor, taking those victim thoughts and dumping them in the trash. Sounds cheesy? It is. But it works.

The only way to pick ourselves up again is to change our thoughts. We have to train ourselves to slow those thoughts down so we can interrupt them and turn them into positive thoughts.

Believe me, once you’re in survivor mode, your whole life changes. It’s almost exciting, like you’re a brave soldier battling through wars and winning. You’re a survivor, rather than a sad lonely victim who had to fight the war.

So think those survivor thoughts. Make a list of them. Write them down, memorize them, and live them. And then that’s who you’ll be: a survivor.

The above article was originally posted on Maidelle.com, an online magazine for Jewish teen girls to speak their mind. Check out the site and read more articles and poetry submitted by girls worldwide who made the choice to use their voice.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/teens-twenties/victim-or-survivor/2012/04/26/

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