Monday, February 28

College: An Endangered Species?

Every middle-class American family with a college-age child knows how it goes: the meetings at which the high school counselor draws up a list of "reaches" and "safeties," the bills for SAT prep courses, the drafts of the personal essay in which your child tries to strike just the right note between humility and self-promotion--and finally, on the day of decision, the search through the mail in dread of the thin envelope that would mean it's all over and that, as a family, you have collectively failed.
NY Review of Books looks at the place of higher education and its prospects.

Sunday, February 27

Frum Teen Blogs

We chanced upon two different blogs (actually bulletin boards, discussion sites) for Orthodox Jewish teens. If you're a teacher, parent, or just someone who cares about our youth, you should read through this stuff. The degree to which you're shocked may be a barometer of how in/out of touch you are.
Click here for:
"Anthing You Want To Know About Judaism, But Have Nobody To Ask" (AKA
Click here for:
The Lockers

Friday, February 25

Mission Control

We tend to think of a strong sense of mission in education as an absolute good. Purpose concentrates energy, strengthens commitment, enables perseverance, and leads to accomplishment. But a mission that is unbounded by the lessons of reality can overreach and produce disappointment and a sense of failure. TCR reports...

Thursday, February 24

Daf Yomi Debate

While the upcoming completion of the 11th cycle of Daf Yomi will generally generate praise and admiration for the accomplishments of thousands of Jews worldwide and their commitment to daily Talmud study, is it possible that--as an educational campaign--these efforts are misplaced? Two thoughtful educators debate the merits and pitfalls of Daf Yomi study...

Wednesday, February 23

ATID Fellows 5766

Click here for info.

Goys and Jews and Dolls

Is this too much? You tell me.
Gali Girls Dolls are the first Jewish dolls of their kind, offering young Jewish girls an opportunity to incorporate positive values into their doll play. While the majority of dolls in today’s market focus on clothes, makeup and boyfriends, Gali Girls Dolls reinforce the positive values that have kept Jewish tradition alive and growing for over 5,000 years.

But, of course, you can accessorize.

Tuesday, February 22

Emotion vs. Intellect Online

ATID Holds 7th Annual Conference: "Emotion and Intellect in Jewish Education"; 300 Teachers, Scholars, and Parents Attend

Last Wednesday ATID held its 7th Annual Conference at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center in Jerusalem. Keynote speaker Rabbi Dr. Jacob J. Schacter discussed "Emotion and Intellect in Jewish Education: Lessons From the Thought of Rabbi Soloveitchik", to which a panel of educators responded--drawing out the implications and applications for classroom teaching. To listen to the recording of the conference online, click here.

Photo: Rabbi Dr. Jacob J. Schacter (center) with conference panelists (left to right): Rabbi Reuven Ziegler (ATID; Toras HoRav Foundation), Rabbi Jeffrey Saks (Director, ATID), Dr. Meir Ekstein (Noga & Nachshon Schools, Beit Shemesh), Mrs. Sally Mayer (Midreshet Lindenbaum).

Rabbi Schacter, the founding Dean of the Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik Institute of Brookline, Mass., was recently named University Professor of Jewish History and Thought at Yeshiva University, and Senior Scholar at its Center for the Jewish Future.

Monday, February 21


US Jews: Israel losing PR war in high schools
"We have found the major battleground to be in the high schools. We find that we are losing our youth in the high schools," declared Malcolm Hoenlein, the executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations on the concluding day of the organization's annual trip to Israel. "We take our kids for granted." He said regard for and knowledge about Israel among Jewish youth was as low as among non-Jews according to recent polls.

Sunday, February 20

Frum Fiction Redux

Latest volley in the debate about Orthodox writers of fiction (and frum fiction characters).
Last month, in a move that shocked many believing, observant Jews, The New York Times published an essay in which the author takes issue with the negative portrayal of Judaism's most fervently Orthodox in contemporary fiction. It didn't take long before the literary world was abuzz with attacks against her. Here, she responds to her critics.

Click here.

Friday, February 18

Bnei Akiva

Today's Jerusalem Post Magazine examines whether Bnei Akiva can resist becoming a breeding ground for young fundamentalists.
Click here.

Jewish Lit.

Jewish literature (not to be confused with the recent "frum fiction" debate) has been written by Jews about Jewish topics for Jewish readers, irrespective of whether the particular work is in Hebrew, Aramaic, Judeo-Arabic, Ladino or Yiddish. Now there's an encyclopedia. Haaretz reviews in Hebrew or English.

Thursday, February 17

Life After High School

Public Agenda (an independent think tank) just released a major study on what lies behind the fundamental and sometimes life-altering choices young people make during the years after high school. Do young people fall into their future as much by chance as by design?
Download the executive summary on-line.

Wednesday, February 16

Yeshiva Life Now

Anglo yeshiva students face up to their drug problem.

Tuesday, February 15

TCRecord Website

Teachers College Record, the preeminent journal of education, has re-designed its website, with expanded online content.
Free registration allows you access to some of the articles; $15 gets you virtually anything they've ever published in over 100 years.

Monday, February 14

Medieval Jewish Women

The Forward reviews two interesting books on Medieval Jewish women.

Sunday, February 13

Evolution in the M.O. Classroom

NJ Jewish News reports on how evolution is taught in Modern Orthodox schools.
(Thanks Hirhurim!)

Friday, February 11

Not Just a Book Review

NYT reviews books every day. Today they discuss a new release, "The Babylonian Talmud" (oh, yeah, the newly completed Artscroll translation, that is).
And they said it wouldn't be a best seller...

Thursday, February 10

Not the Gadol HaDor

Lamed doesn't get into all that iner-blog competition, awards, etc. We just don't go there.

We did come across an interesting co-blogger, Probably Not the Gadol HaDor.

See his insightful dissection of the species of Orthodox Jewry, his hitchhiker's guide to frum sub-populations: here and here. It's an interesting idea: each niche within Orthodoxy has it's real members and it's fakers... Matter and anti-matter co-existing... Parallel universes...

Monday, February 7

Evolution and the Watchmaker

Our friend Gil Student at Hirhurim has been tracking the revival of the evolution question.
Today's NYT Op-Ed carries a piece explaining "evolution by design" (remember the old watchmaker metaphor from high school seminars?). Very articulate essay.
Don't forget Joel Wolowelsky's thoughful essay on teaching evolution in yeshivah high schools.

Sunday, February 6

Yad Vashem Does It Again

Sisters, Separated by the Holocaust, Reunite After 61 Years.

Saturday, February 5

Alan Brill Online

A few weeks ago we let you know that YU's Dr. Alan Brill would be making his course on ideology and history of Modern Orthodoxy available online.

Our friend Uri Cohen lets us know that it's now live:
----- Original Message -----
From: "Dr. Yocheved and Rabbi Uri Cohen"
Sent: Friday, February 04, 2005 3:13 PM
Subject: modern orthodox reading list

I think you'll be interested to know that Rabbi Dr. Brill's syllabus for the Modern Orthodoxy course he's giving this semester is online. Click here.

The good news is that he's putting a lot of the materials from his reading list online as well, one week at a time. So far, the materials--and the audio of the actual classes--for the first 3 units are online. Looks like it will be updated weekly. Click here.

Friday, February 4

Rav Medan

Rav Yaakov Medan on hitnatkut ve-seruv pekuda.
Refresh your memory here.

Coulda, Shoulda

Could Britain have done more to stop the horrors of Auschwitz?
(Thanks, Dave C.)

Thursday, February 3

Judging a Book by its Head Covering

Tova Mirvis objects to the NYT Book Review checking her tzitzit (or sheitel).
Click here for her Forverts essay.
The Jewish Week also weighs in.

Tuesday, February 1

Biting the Bullet on Teacher Training

Today's NYT lead editorial discovered America: the secret to improving education means we have to "bite the bullet on teacher training. That means doing what it takes to remake the teacher corps, even if it means withholding federal dollars from diploma mills pretending to be colleges of education, forcing out unqualified teachers and changing the age-old practice of funneling the least-prepared teachers into the weakest schools."

Teacher training? Did someone say teacher training?