Education & Careers

Framing Jewish Identity

Students in Jewish Lens curriculum shoot the seasons.

Staff Writer

At first glance, a photograph of a supermarket shelf full of vegetables, or one of a single tulip at the base of a tree in a snowy field would seem to have no Jewish content. To eighth-grade students at the Hebrew schools of Temple Isaiah in Stony Brook, L.I., and at the Park Avenue Synagogue, who took part last year in the Jewish Lens curriculum developed by Israeli-born photographer Zion Ozeri, the photographs are full of Jewish content.

Education August 2013

The Latest From The Jewish Quad Youth Movement Sweeping Westchester Day Schools Jewish Teens Go Clubbing

Education August 2013

An Agenda For Jewish Games For Learning

Special To The Jewish Week

Games, and video games in particular, are the medium of the 21st century. They are our primary entertainment medium and are quickly becoming a key medium for education.

Rabbi Owen Gottlieb

An Israeli ‘Citizen Of The World’

Meet Shai Reshef, the philanthropist and visionary behind the world’s only tuition-free, international online university.

Associate Editor

University of the People has its headquarters on the West Coast, but its professors and administrators are mostly on the East Coast. Its IT staff is in the West Bank.

And its 1,500 students live in more than 135 countries — including every Middle Eastern and African nation.

Shai Reshef

Israel Celebrates Gains, But Challenges Remain

Student test scores are up after significant government outlays; gaps between rich and poor still high


Holon, Israel — Just before 1 o’clock on a sunny afternoon, students streamed out of the Amirim Public School and headed for home.

Israeli middle-schoolers, shown studying in a classroom in 2007. Maya Levin / Flash90 / JTA

‘Interaction’ Helping Ethiopian Students Thrive

Columbia University-developed teaching method part of literacy program to bridge gaps between immigrants and Israelis.

Israel Correspondent

Petach Tikva, Israel — When you enter the Netzach Yisrael elementary school in this working-class town in the center of the country,

Bruria Brayman, a fourth-grade teacher at the Netzach Yisrael school. Photos by Michele Chabin

Bringing Hebrew School Into The 21st Century

Behrman House’s online portal, now a year old, helping teachers and students transform learning.

Associate Editor
A student at Tamid, a new synagogue in Lower Manhattan, uses the Online Learning Center’s digital Hebrew program. Photos courtes

Lessons In Perseverance

Profiles of some of the Jewish educational institutions affected by Hurricane Sandy as they get back to the classroom.


Preschool: Kings Bay Y

Helping Children Process What Happened

One week after the Kings Bay Y put up a mezuzah on its new facility, located on Emmons Avenue in Sheepshead Bay, the brand-new hallways were filled with 12 feet of water.

The Kings Bay Y’s early childhood program expanded child-care services in the days after the hurricane.

New Developments In The Classroom And Beyond

New Jewish studies curriculum for special-needs students; family history project through PELIE; Shalem Center to become liberal arts college.


Hidden Sparks Grows

Hidden Sparks recently unveiled the first part of a new Judaic studies curriculum at its sixth annual retreat, attended by 40 educators from 30 day schools in New York, New Jersey and Baltimore.

The group, which addresses the needs of diverse learners, works to help Jewish educators discover, understand and support all the students in their classrooms, including those with learning difficulties.

Aviva Stern, a teacher at Yeshiva Har Torah and a Hidden Sparks coach, said that “doing Hidden Sparks work has impacted me tremendously as a teacher to my students and in all of my relationships. Being trained to be attuned to individual’s strengths and weaknesses will continue to affect even my parenting style and how I relate to my extended family.”

Hidden Sparks aims to identify students whose potential has not yet been reached in school and in life. Founded in New York six years ago with a pilot program in seven schools, the program currently serves almost 40 schools in New York, including Ramaz in Manhattan, Bnos Pupa of Williamsburg and The Hebrew Academy of Nassau County. Through a Covenant Foundation grant, Hidden Sparks has also partnered with SHEMESH in Baltimore and REACH in Chicago, and has trained educators in Nashville, New Orleans, Tampa, Fla., and Hollywood, Fla., to bring their programs and curriculum to those cities.

A three-time recipient of the Slingshot Award, which recognizes the 50 most innovative Jewish organizations each year, Hidden Sparks is currently working with 281 teachers. Since its inception, Hidden Sparks has trained more than 1,000 teachers and has reached an estimated 10,000 students.

Debbie Niderberg, executive director of Hidden Sparks, said, “Our core curriculum and approach introduces the skills, strategies and sensitivities of special education into mainstream classes. We believe this enhanced understanding positions both teachers and students for greater success. By using a mentoring and school-based delivery model and by training ‘Internal Coaches’ in diverse learning, we believe that the program will have the greatest and most sustained impact over time on the students, teachers, and school culture.”

Hidden Sparks has also spurred additional programs, like Hidden Sparks Without Walls (HSWOW), which brings free audio and online hour-long classes to educators to enhance their knowledge of the field of diverse learning. To date, 1000 participants from 95 schools in 21 states have participated in the 45 webinars offered. In an effort to share its expertise with parents Hidden Sparks launched HSWOW Parent Connection, a free webinar series. Additionally, the group offers School Change Administrative Leadership Endeavor, or SCALE, for principals. Hidden Sparks funding comes from individuals, foundations, government and Jewish charities, including UJA-Federation of New York.

— Staff Report

Three of the winning “tikkun olam” drawings in the Grinspoon Foundation “Voices & Vision” program.

Education January 2013

Lessons In Perseverance
Area Jewish schools carry on in the wake of Sandy; bringing Hebrew school into the 21st century; an interview with Israel’s online learning pioneer, and more.

Education January 2013
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