Jewish Education

Questioning My New Degree

08/10/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

I received an honorary doctorate from the Jewish Theological Seminary this spring. I appreciate the recognition, but it has prompted some disquieting questions.

Reform and Conservative rabbis often get these diplomas, usually after about 25 years of service. So the honor has more to do with survival than accomplishment. I suppose it could be said that enduring 25 years in the rabbinate, particularly in the pulpit, is deserving of special recognition. There have been times when I wondered whether a Purple Heart might be more appropriate, or maybe a Nobel Peace Prize.

Summertime, And The Speaking Is Hebrew

08/10/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

By 8 a.m., the air hung heavily across the Northeast, a thick curtain of suffocating warmth that quickened tempers and slowed thoughts. But Andrew, a counselor at the Ramah Day Camp in Nyack, bounded off the bus with his usual energy. 

“The camp has declared it a Yom Cham,” said Andrew, flashing a smile that seldom seemed to falter. On this Yom Cham or “Hot Day,” explained Andrew, Nyack campers would engage in a slew of water activities, a giant inflatable slide, sponge tag and lots of free swim in the brecha — AKA the pool.

Foundation Cutting Wide Path Through Jewish Life

With huge outlays, Jim Joseph Foundation can be a ‘game-changer.’ But its officials admit identity-building focus can be hard to measure.

07/14/2010
Associate Editor

 When Interland Corporation Founder Jim Joseph died in 2003, at the age of 68, few people outside San Francisco and the real estate field had heard of him.

Today, less than a decade later, the words “Jim Joseph” are among the most frequently uttered syllables in the American Jewish education world, at least among those responsible for fundraising.

Havdalah during the Birthright Israel NEXT fellows training weekend in New Orleans.

New Urgency To How We Teach About Israel

07/13/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

The State of Israel is currently facing one of the most daunting and serious challenges in recent history. There is a war against organized state-sponsored terrorism, exacerbated by increased negative world opinion, propaganda, political posturing and harsh rhetoric that threatens the physical and political reality and stability of the Jewish state.

Will Women-Only Torah Study Soon Become Old-School?

The most remarkable aspect of the first full-time co-ed learning program just ending at the Drisha Institute for Jewish Education, a pioneer in advanced Torah study for women, is how unremarkable it felt.

I visited the experimental program for college and graduate students spending the month of June in a “student immersion program” that combined Talmud and philosophy in examining “the relationship between spirituality and community involvement and action,” according to the program description.

Special-Needs Families Fighting Jewish Day Schools

Painful battles to get their kids placed.

06/09/2010
Assistant Managing Editor

In three years, Jodi and Gavin Samuels may face one of the most difficult decisions of their lives.

Born with Down syndrome, their daughter Caily, now 2, will outgrow the Chabad preschool program she attends on the Upper West Side. That means her parents will have to choose between sending her miles away from home to a Jewish program for children with disabilities, such as one in Teaneck, N.J., or to a public school.

Jodi and Gavin Samuels with daughter Caily, who they are trying to keep in a Jewish school. Michael Datikash

Panel Discussion: The Jewish community's obligation to children with special needs

 On May 24, 2010, a panel of experts gathered at Cong. Shearith Israel in Manhattan to discuss the Jewish community's obligation to children with special needs.

 

Grant Pushes Historic Partnership of Seminaries

05/25/2010

NEW YORK (JTA) -- Spurred by a major grant from one of the largest Jewish foundations, the rabbinical seminaries of three major synagogue movements are forging a groundbreaking partnership to train Jewish educators.

The Jim Joseph Foundation announced Monday that it was giving a combined $33 million to the Reform movement’s Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute for Religion, the Modern Orthodox Yeshiva University and the Conservative movement’s Jewish Theological Seminary of America.

Technology and Jewish Education Conference

Jewish techie Ari Davidow listened in on JESNA's recent "Technology and Jewish Education" conference and posted some of his observations on the Jewish Women's Archive blog. JESNA's conference is run through its Lippman Kanfer Institute.

Technology and Jewish Education

How Bad Is The Day School Crisis?

05/27/2009

Assistant Managing Editor
While no one can deny that yeshivot and day schools and the parents who utilize them are in a crisis over the skyrocketing cost of full-time Jewish education, there is no consensus about how unique and how critical that crisis is. And even less agreement on where to focus solutions. That schism was apparent at a forum co-sponsored by The Jewish Week and the Jewish Values Network in Midtown last week, as three rabbis with firsthand knowledge of the crisis shared ideas.
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