Tuesday, March 30

Rich Jews

Yup, it's still true. Jews seem to be the wealthiest religious group in America (with Hindus as a close second). Proves the old adage: American Jews earn like Episcopalians but vote like Southern Baptists.

Sunday, March 28

Make Tanakh Come Alive

An experiential an experiential, hands-on center for the study of Tanakh in a school in Efrat. The Israeli press reports (Hebrew).

Thursday, March 25

Stanley Fish on Religion in Public Debate

Fish's columns in the NYTimes are, to my mind, a mixed bag, but this one strikes me as clear and well argued. We cannot really secularize debates about public policy, because all normative decisions about the best way to act rely on more than just science and facts.

Tuesday, March 23

Jewish Review of Books

The topics, diverse; the writing, clear; the range, refreshing; and the issues, important. The new, Jewish Review of Books.

Sunday, March 21

The rise and the rise of Yiddish

How is a Yiddish doing it, on and off campus? Seems like it is doing quite well!

Thursday, March 18

Jewish Day Schools From Several Different Angles

Following up this short essay on a tough choice to send kids to a Jewish day school, the forward published a series of pieces on related topics. The conventional wisdom is most certainly true: a more diverse group of people are sending their children to a more diverse group of Jewish day schools for a diverse set of reasons. See here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Tuesday, March 16

Better Grades on Standardized Tests

Here is one way to get better grades on your SATs - take the test together with fewer people. According to this research, the bigger the field of competition, the less likely a person used to feel that effort will propel them to the top. Taking standardized tests with a small group of people tends to increase scores. Yet another reason to keep Shabbat and take these tests on Sunday!

Sunday, March 14

College: still important, still too expensive

The trend continues. Americans believe that a college education is more and more necessary for success, but I also believe that it is economically increasingly out of reach. At least that is what comes out of this Public Agenda survey. The study also finds that Americans think that colleges are being run too much as businesses, with an eye toward profitability rather than maximizing education for as many students as possible. It seems that one year programs in Israel are not the only ones struggling with the economic tale wagging the educational dog.

Thursday, March 11

Stand-Up Educational Philosophy

Sir Ken Robinson, a stand-up educational philosopher. I'm not in complete agreement with his approach, but it's certainly entertaining.

Tuesday, March 9

The Science of Play

Human beings play, and so do animals. It's critical for neurological and psychological self-development, and it's importance should not be underestimated. One organization is trying to gather all the data and turn "playology" into a legitimate and well-respected science.

Sunday, March 7

We're Not Self-Centered, Media-Saturated, and We Have No Time!

I have heard the complaint that college students are self-absorbed, technology addicted, have too much time on their hands for petty pursuits, and are not concerned with the greater good unless it benefits them in some way directly. Well, somebody is sure that that is not the case, and they may well be right. It does seem ironic to combat that by offering said college students a cash prize for making a short video telling their own personal story to be posted on YouTube. Am I missing something?

Thursday, March 4

Wikimusar

Not exactly Nevardok, but perhaps a post-modern alternative: the online musar va'ad. Focused on ex-yeshiva guys who want to keep the flame alive. (Update: it's been moved to here)

Tuesday, March 2

Firing lousy teachers

It can be really difficult to get rid of incompetent teachers once unions get involved. What to do?