Education 2010


Conflict and Compromise: Day School Parents Weigh In

By Ken Gordon

Last year, I published an essay on MyJewishLearning.com called “Seize the Day School.” I worried about this essay. “Seize” spelled out, in great detail, my own ambivalences — note the plural — about sending my daughter to Solomon Schechter Day School of Greater Boston. I feared that once the piece was published, her teachers might treat my little girl…differently; that the school moms would stop smiling at me and my wife; that our tuition bill would start growing exponentially.Read More


Jewish Power Tools

By Josh Lambert

I recall very clearly the afternoon in the early 1990s when the male eighth graders at the Jewish day school I attended learned about AIDS. Our physical education teacher, one of many Israelis imported to Toronto to staff the school, gathered us under the basketball nets in the gym and described the deadly disease. Then he told us that there are three ways to get AIDS. “First,” he said in his heavy accent, “before you’re born, if your mother has AIDS, you can receive it directly from her. Second, if you use heroin, you can get AIDS from sharing someone else’s needle.” He paused. “And there’s also a third way.” That was the end of the lesson.Read More


A Tale of Trade-offs

By Joshua Halberstam

‘Yes, Rabbi Wolf was gargantuan,” I tell my children. “A giant of a man, with more hair protruding from his knuckles than I had on my head, even back then when it was covered with thick curls. He was the one we were sent to for serious disciplining. But he wasn’t the mightiest rebbe in our yeshiva.” No, in this all-important debate that raged for years in the halls of my school, I stood with those who favored Rabbi Chafkin. “The man could rip right through a Brooklyn telephone book….saw him do it with my own eyes.”
My kids offer a polite, glazed half-nod. They’ve heard these recollections before, the thinly veiled comparisons of my yeshiva escapades with their own more temperate school experiences.Read More


Et Tu, Brute?

By Michael Wex

At least once a month, someone, usually a business acquaintance who doesn’t know much about my private life, will ask what my 14-year-old daughter is up to at her Hebrew day school, and then go on to let me know in no uncertain terms that I am a traitor to every aspect of the Yiddish language and culture from which I make most of my living, from the fondly remembered labor movement to the Yiddish-speaking Orthodoxy in which I was raised. They’re upset that someone like me, who spends so much of his time writing and lecturing about Yiddish, has been sending his kid to an Ivrit b’Ivrit (Zionist Hebew-language) day school in which the study of Yiddish is, quite literally, not an option.Read More


Jewish Farm School Gains Traction Among College Students

By Linda Kriger

Rather than jet to tropical party capitals for spring break, about 105 Jewish college students are choosing to do something a little different during their time off.Read More


Jewish Education Below the Mason-Dixon Line

By Allison Gaudet Yarrow

In the past, many Southern colleges and universities had few, if any, Jewish students roaming their campuses. But recently schools below the Mason-Dixon Line have stepped up their recruitment of Jewish students. They offered scholarships, built centers for Jewish learning and socializing, and engaged the surrounding Jewish communities in their efforts. The Forward interviewed students from four schools across the Southeast to get a read on the changing face of the Southern Jewish college experience in 2010.Read More


Why Should You Care?

By Paul Berger

When I was in high school during the early 1990s, I needed very little prodding to study the Holocaust. Historical accounts of the horror and the depravity of the Final Solution, recounted by teachers, textbooks, documentaries and the prerequisite screening of “Schindler’s List” — which our entire school was marched into a movie theater to watch — engrossed me.Read More


Next Time, Let’s Teach Social Justice in an Effective Way

By Jill Jacobs

Once a year, the eighth graders at a synagogue I’ll call Temple Beth Torah spend an afternoon volunteering at a soup kitchen. During the bus ride to the site, the teacher passes out a Talmudic quote about feeding the hungry and spends a few minutes trying to engage the students in conversation about the passage. When the group arrives at the soup kitchen, the director, who seems a bit frenzied, puts the students to work setting the tables.Read More


‘Scientists on Trains’ Leaves the Station in Israel

By Devra Ferst

The morning oration is like a normal university class: a professor, an engaging intellectual lecture and questions at the end. But the similarities between a regular college class and the new Hebrew University “Scientists on Trains” program pretty much stop there.Read More


Struggling To Afford Day School: The STEPPY Syndrome

By Shira Dicker

The call came at 9 p.m. on a recent school night, caller ID informing me that it originated from SAR High School in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, where my youngest child is a freshman.Read More





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  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
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