Gabrielle Birkner

Educators Balk At Grants’ Loss

11/05/2004
Staff Writer

Yeshiva and day school administrators who gathered at the Board of Jewish Education on the eve of Yom Kippur voiced their displeasure with a change in funding that will end basic grants to their institutions and instead provide health care coverage and life insurance to additional teachers.

The mood was tense and the discussion spirited as representatives from more than 50 New York-area Jewish schools, spanning the ideological gamut, spoke out against a recent decision by the Fund for Jewish Education to cut about $2.2 million in school grants.

The New Look Of Hebrew Instruction

07/08/2005
Staff Writer

Miriam Harary used to scour New York City bookstores in search of Hebrew textbooks for her students at Hillel High School in Ocean, N.J.Until recently, Hebrew language instruction at Hillel, like dozens of other Jewish day schools, depended largely on the initiative of individual teachers. Yet even the most ambitious instructors often were discouraged by the lack of formal curricula and age-appropriate materials for teaching modern Hebrew to teens.

Studying Diverse Cultures

02/18/2005
Staff Writer

The scent of cardamom and rosewater wafted through the hallways of Manhattan Day School last Thursday, as the Upper West Side yeshiva held a festival to culminate several weeks of study about Sephardic and Mizrachi Jews.Youngsters at MDS, where most students are Ashkenazi, dressed in embroidered caftans, sequined chadors and elaborate turbans.

On Course In Battling Prejudice

11/05/2004
Staff Writer

‘People from the projects, they don’t read.”

That’s how Kelly Connerton, a teacher at the new Peace and Diversity Academy in the Bronx, summed up her ninth-grade students’ disconnect with literacy.
“They don’t see their cultures represented in the Euro-centric literature they’ve been taught,” said Connerton, who teaches English at the academy, a first-of-its-kind partnership between the New York City Public Schools and the Anti-Defamation League.

Stanton Street Back To Life

09/17/2004
Staff Writer

Elissa Sampson and her husband, Jonathan Boyarin, longtime members of the Stanton Street Shul, held a blue paper napkin between them as they twirled to the music of the four-piece klezmer band hired by the synagogue for the afternoon.

Brooklyn Yeshiva To Jettison Lower Grades

04/01/2005
Staff Writer

More than 120 students will be displaced and 25 faculty and staff members will lose their jobs when Yeshiva Rambam, the 60-year-old Modern Orthodox institution in Brooklyn, closes its elementary school at the end of the term in June.The Flatbush school is also phasing out its seventh and eighth grades in what school officials say is an effort to expand and improve the standards of its high school, known as the Zvi Dov Roth Academy.

Reaching Out In Battle Against Hate

12/24/2004
Staff Writer

In the highly charged political and religious climate of France, the country’s influential Jewish student union has been on the front lines of the fight to beat back hate.It made world headlines this year when it launched its controversial, and since pulled, advertising campaign with the words “Dirty Jew” scrawled in graffiti-like script over the images of Jesus and Mary.

Where Smoking Is Still Allowed

01/20/2006
Staff Writer

The sign above the little red dispenser asks patrons to take a number, and when the store is crowded, they do. Make no mistake about it, though, Russ & Daughters’ customers are never treated like numbers. Salespeople at the venerable Lower East Side smoked fish purveyor tend to know the name of their customers’ children and grandchildren, the names of their parents and grandparents.

Recruiting For The Classroom

12/24/2004
Staff Writer

At a time when the Jewish community was hard-pressed to recruit and retain educators because of meager salaries and benefits, and perceived low prestige, the Coalition for the Advancement of Jewish Education was designing a weeklong program introducing college students to the advantages of pursuing careers in Jewish education.Fifteen years later the Schusterman College Program, as the CAJE course is now called, released a study showing that 70 percent of alumni are employed in Jewish education or Jewish communal services, or they are planning to enter those fields.

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