Monday, October 31

The Charitable Impulse

Insofar as Jewish schools, shuls, and organizations operate as charities, see below...

Donor sentiment about charitable organizations is "enthusiastic and positive," according to a new report (click here), especially when it comes to smaller, local charities and human service organizations, and typical giving tends to be based on personal experience and emotional connections.

But givers also have a long memory for scandal and waste. Focus groups took past misdeeds "quite personally and the breach is nearly impossible to repair." Givers also had strong and spontaneous negative reactions when nonprofits adopt big-business type marketing and sales techniques. Glossy brochures, unsolicited "gifts," telephone solicitations, and high-pressure appeals "all came in for criticism and generated a high level of annoyance."

Sunday, October 30

My Big Fat 80's Bar Mitzvah

If you remember the rabbi's sermon about "too much bar; not enough mitzvah" -- click here and after click here.

Thursday, October 27

Grow With Gemara

An important new book came across or desk...
Rabbi Haim Perlmutter's Grow with Gemara:
A Hands-On Guide to Building Better Gemara Skills
(Targum, 2005; 164 pp.)

To read an excerpt, or purchase online, click here...
Also of note is Rabbi Perlmutter's Tools for Tosafot (click here).

Wednesday, October 26

Back to Homeschooling

Well, here we are, Acharei HaChagim, and back to school.
Lamed resumes full blast--click back often and Gut Vinter.

Tuesday, October 11

Modes of Selicha

With blessings for a Gmar Hatima Tova, we present this PowerPoint slideshow on the different modes of forgiveness--with hopes that we may all attain it!
Click here...

Snarling Curs

In the middle of class, Calvin's teacher suddenly turns into a pig-snouted monster! The drooling blob demands attention and homework! "Chew electric death, snarling cur!" Spaceman Spiff howls, blasting her face off with his Atomic Napalm Neutralizer!

OK, so it may have nothing to do with Jewish education, but we couldn't resist. Click here...

Monday, October 10

Hitnatkut Handbook

The Misrad HaHinukh's handbook on treating the Gaza disengagement in religious schools is online as a PDF here.

Sunday, October 9

Ivy Jews

In 1905 Harvard began an admissions policy based on merit. By 1922, Jews made up more than a fifth of Harvard’s freshman class. The administration and alumni were up in arms. Jews were thought to be sickly and grasping, grade-grubbing and insular. They displaced the sons of wealthy Wasp alumni, which did not bode well for fund-raising. What to do? Ask for photos and mother's maiden name on the application. By 1933 the percentage of Jews at Harvard was back down to fifteen per cent.
Click here...

Friday, October 7

Born to Kvetch

Born to Kvetch--no, it's not an unauthorized biography of your kids! It is a thoughtful inquiry into the religious and cultural substrata of Yiddish, the underlying harmonic structure that allows the language to sing, usually in a mournful minor key.

Yiddish is the language par excellence of complaint. How could it be otherwise? It took root among Jews scattered across Europe and evolved over centuries of persecution and transience. It is, as this book suggets, "the national language of nowhere," the medium of expression for a people without a home. " To be Jewish, in other words, is to kvetch. If the Rolling Stones' "I Can't Get No Satisfaction" had been translated into Yiddish it would have been called "I Love to Keep Telling You That I Can't Get No Satisfaction".

The book finds a second source of Yiddish's prevailing tone in the Torah and its attached Talmudic commentary. The Jews who transmuted German into Yiddish were steeped in Jewish law, whose style and phraseology made their way into the developing language and put down deep roots. Yiddish thrives on argument, hairsplitting and arcane points of law and proper behavior.

Click here for review.

Thursday, October 6

Computer Bugs

Students who frequently use computers perform more poorly academically than those who use them rarely or not at all. And it gets worse. Click here...

Monday, October 3

Shana Tova

Wishing health, peace and prosperity for all of our colleagues, friends and supporters. May the coming year bring further success to our collective efforts on behalf of Jewish education and Am Yisrael.

Ketiva ve-Hatima Tova,
Rabbi Chaim Brovender, President
Rabbi Jeffrey Saks, Director

Sunday, October 2

JA on Education

The Fall issue of Jewish Action is online with a special coverage of "The Tuition Crisis" in Jewish education. It has about ten essays dealing with issues such as "Who pays?" and vouchers, etc. Click here...

Also, two reviews (one pro and one slightly-less-pro) of Rabbi Soloveitchik's recently published collection of letters.