Wednesday, February 28

Purim Torah

From the author of The ArtScroll Shakespeare, we have Purim Torah for 5767.
Eli Clark's (he has a serious side as well) Hilchos Carpool and Jewish Reality TV.

A Freilichen!

Al Mikra Megillah

On Gavriel Chaim Cohen's book, Iyyunim BeHamesh Megillot, here.

Tuesday, February 27

Here's My Card

Does a classroom teacher need a business card?
And if she has one what is that trying to say?

Monday, February 26

Better But Worse

More American students are taking challenging courses and getting higher grades, yet substantial percentages still score below "basic" levels on national reading and math tests, according to two reports released today by the National Assessment of Educational Progress.
Read report here and news story here.

Sunday, February 25

Mordechai Breuer z"l

Rav Mordechai Breuer, 85, leading teacher of Tanakh, great-grandson of Rav S.R. Hirsch, developer of the Shittat ha-Behinot ("Two Aspects") method of dealing with what others saw as multiple biblical authors, has died in Jerusalem.

Friday, February 23

Duh! Dept!

Inescapable media images of sexed-up girls and women posing as adolescents can cause psychological and even physical harm to adolescents and young women, a study in the US has warned. The pressure of what experts call "sexualization" can lead to depression, eating disorders, and poor academic performance, said the report, released this week by the American Psychological Association.
More here...
Full report here...

Thursday, February 22


Ynet's newly revamped Yahadut section is worth looking at.
See especially the "Letters from Tanakh" section -- potential classroom "triggers" for Bible teachers.

Thanks Rav Alex.

Wednesday, February 21

Follow the Money

The potentially transformative philanthropic gift of $200 million a year to Jewish causes.

Tuesday, February 20

Forbidden Fruit

The National Study of Youth and Religion (NSYR) has published a book, Forbidden Fruit, which draws extensively on survey and interview data, as well as other sources, to describe the sexual values and practices of American teenagers today, paying particular attention to how participating in organized religion shapes sexual decision-making. Info here.

Sunday, February 18


Maccabi Health Services is running anti-smoking ads in advance of Purim, targeted at haredi youth -- click here.
The ad for a fake cigarette brand, "Nebech Cigarettes", states: "You know the risks, you know the danger to your health, you know smoking causes lung cancer, and still you're thinking of smoking on Purim just because you can't withstand the social pressure?! You're stronger than that! This is true strength (gevura). This year, no smoking on Purim!"
Nebech -- The Cigarette for Weak Natured Youth!

(Thanks UC!)

Thursday, February 15

Teaching Dilemmas

New book with specific, practical ideas for conquering a variety of common challenges: managing classroom time, supporting struggling students, preventing burnout, communicating with parents, motivating students, leading effectively inside and outside the classroom, and much more. Click here to browse the entire book online as PDF.

Wednesday, February 14

Praise Power and Peril

Praising your children to boost their self-esteem can backfire.
It does not improve grades, and when it comes from teachers, well...

Thursday, February 8

Browning & Ibn-Ezra

Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be.

These words, from an 1864 poem by Robert Browning (1812-89), are among the most famous in English poetry -- but who knew they were inspired by R. Avraham Ibn-Ezra?!

The poem, pondering old age and the difficilties of the scholarly life, is written as if Ibn-Ezra is the speaker (see here for the full poem and here for some background).
Browning had a known interest in Hebrew language and literature (and probably knew of the Ibn-Ezra's grammatical work) -- does anyone know any other background to this? Let us know...

Wednesday, February 7

Duh! Dept.

Breaking news from the Duh! Department:

Tuesday, February 6


5768 -- and the Shmittah year -- is just 7 and a 1/2 months away.
The Beit Midrash le-Halakhah be-Hityashvut ha-Haklait (an importnat Torah institution and "home" of the Keren Maasarot) has many important sefarim on mitzvot ha-teyluyot ba-aretz, and especially Shmittah.
Click here for their catalog (must order by phone or fax, but can use a credit card).

Monday, February 5


The Manhattan Institute, a New York conservative think tank, said schoolteachers in America earned an average of $34.06 per hour in 2005, which was $8.98 more than the average nonsales, white-collar worker. The report claims to "make no judgments in this report about whether public school teachers are underpaid or overpaid" -- but read the study here, and some of the response in the press here and here.
You don't need a Ph.D in statistics to think something's missing here.

Sunday, February 4

Gender Divide

More US public school systems are looking at separating boys and girls, whether for certain classes or by entire schools, after the federal government opened the door last fall. Supporters say splitting students by sex minimizes distractions, helps them learn better and allows boys and girls to explore subjects they may not otherwise take.
More here...

Friday, February 2

Tu BiShvat

Tu BiShvat higi'a here and here.
(And let us not forget this brouhaha.)