Tuesday, March 29

Practically Giving It All Away

Yashar Books is doing something bold...
They're giving books away for free online. Their "Open Access" project just uploaded the entire text of a new biography, Rabbi Israel Salanter: Religious-Ethical Thinker.
Check it out.

Sunday, March 27

Women @ Seder

Our friend Joel Wolowelsky's latest book:
Women at the Seder,
a traditional haggadah whose commentary celebrates one of the great transformations of the Jewish community during this past century: the entry of women into the realm of serious Torah study.
Order online from Ktav...

Wednesday, March 23

Promiscuity

The current issue of De'ot runs an eye-opening article on promiscuity in the Dati Leumi single's scene--with focus on issue of mikvah for single women. Click here...
In the wake of that essay, The Jerusalem Post runs an article on the issue. Click here...

Monday, March 21

Bag o' Tricks

TCR reviews a new book that presents a selection of teaching problems and actual solutions implemented by teachers in the field. Click for more.
Quick Hits for New Faculty: Successful Strategies by Award-Winning Teachers is a sensible book, written for practicing teachers facing real classroom problems. Its lessons are presented in a way that makes them immediately applicable in most teaching situations, with a minimum of adjustment. Contributors have assiduously refrained from advancing an agenda or arguing minute points of theory. And in an unusual move, the editors have included contact information for all contributors. This renders the book all the more useful and demonstrates the generous core motivation of the writers: to reach out to colleagues and share teaching experiences in meaningful ways. The inclusion of an aggregate bibliography adds to the value of the book as a reference for research, and a comprehensive index assures its usefulness as a handbook for practice. This unassuming book can be a valuable tool for new faculty as they struggle to establish themselves in the classroom and aspire to teaching excellence.

Sunday, March 20

Memory Without Survivors

After the death of the last witnesses, the remembrance of the Holocaust must not be entrusted to the historians alone. Now comes the hour of artistic creation...
Aharon Appelfeld speculates (in Hebrew or in English).

Thursday, March 17

Eretz Acheret

The quarterly magazine/journal Eretz Acheret is a worthwhile read for people interested in the state of the Jewish State, Zionism, Judaism--and how they interact. The current issue (#25) focuses on the Dovrat commission and efforts to overhaul education in Israel.
Click here.

Tuesday, March 15

Myth of Childhood

What does it mean to be a kid or adolescent?
A series of myths have clouded public thinking about the history of American childhood. These are: the myth of the “happy childhood”; the myth of “home as a haven and bastion of stability in an ever-changing world”; the myth that childhood “is the same for all children, a status transcending class, ethnicity, and gender”; the myth that the United States is a “peculiarly child-friendly society, when in actuality Americans are deeply ambivalent about children”; and the most prevalent myth, “the myth of progress, and its inverse, a myth of decline”.

Huck's Raft: A History of American Childhood--book review here.

Monday, March 14

The Tefillah Bar

Can we raise the bar on the state of prayer by lowering it? Joel Wolowelsky writes:
As important as it is to work towards a meaningful prayer experience for our students, I would like to put in a note for a lowering of expectations. That is not to say that we should be satisfied with a mediocre tefillah; it is rather to remember that the nature of high school education is to keep trying, even though the external environment works against us...

Click here for more.

Sunday, March 13

Priority 1

George Hanus is sure consistent:
In the Jewish world today there is a crisis of leadership. The priorities of the Jewish philanthropic establishment are upside down, so badly askew that it's as if someone is playing a cruel and surreal joke on the Jewish community. What we need is a top-to bottom re-prioritization of the Jewish philanthropic agenda, one that makes meaningful funding of Jewish education a primary goal. We need to put our children first...

A Freilichin...

From the man who brought us The ArtScroll Shakespeare...
This year's Purim Torah by Eli Clark:
The Judaic Aptitude Test

Friday, March 11

Chosenness

Meir Soloveichik's important essay on the meaning of being a chosen people is online.

One of Judaism’s central premises is that God has a unique love for the Jewish people, in the merit of its ancestor Abraham, whom God loved millennia ago. This notion may make many readers uncomfortable, as they may feel that a righteous God would love all human beings, and therefore all peoples, equally and in the same way. Nevertheless, the notion of God’s special love for Israel must be stated and understood, for without it one cannot comprehend much that is unique about Judaism’s moral vision. ["God’s Beloved: A Defense of Chosenness," Azure (Winter 2005).]


Click here: HTML or PDF

Thursday, March 10

ATID@NNJN

ATID's work featured in the New Jersey Jewish News.
ATID is tackling issues that have been swept under the carpet by the Orthodox community for decades. “There are monstrous problems within Orthodox life and education,” ATID's director, Jeffrey Saks said. “These issues have been a problem for a long time. It’s time to deal with them.” Asked why they were not dealt with 20 years ago, Saks joked, “Because 20 years ago I was in high school.”

Wednesday, March 9

Rivka and Srulik

Why didn't they call them Bryndi and Kalman?
Rivka and Srulik-- the new Barbie and Ken of the haredi world-- own no skimpy bathing suits or flashy rock star outfits. Pressing lightly on Srulik's right hand a tinny version of the Shema was produced...

Monday, March 7

Teachers' Room as Dugout?

How does the dynamic in the teachers' room (or in general the way a staff works together--or doesn't) effect the overall working of the schoolhouse?
Does the Yankees' locker room have anything to say about this?

Sunday, March 6

Daf Yomi Resources

Yeshivat Har Etzion's Virtual Beit Midrash has started a new "virtual shiur" which will consist of supplementary diagrams and flowcharts to help the Daf Yomi student follow the flow of the Gemara, charting the basic outline of the Talmudic discussion. For an example (in PDF), click here.
To subscribe, send a blank email to majordomo@etzion.org.il, with subject body = subscribe dafyomi.

Like the outsdtanding Daf Yomi Advancement Forum, this is/will be a resource not just for Daf Yomi students, but for teachers of any messekhet with archives.

(Really, we do like Daf Yomi. No kidding.)

Thursday, March 3

Dati Teen Blogs

A few days ago we told you about Frum Teen Blogs.
There are several interesting projects in Israel that, while not discussion boards, still give insight into what issues the youth here are dealing with. See, e.g., Haverim Makshivim .
Also of interest, though different than the above, is Nekudat Hibbur, written by older hesder guys for high school students.

Tuesday, March 1

Art and Jewish Education

Shma printed a symposium on the role of art in Jewish education. Click here (and see also interview with Tobi Kahn).
Compare it all to the work ATID has undertaken.