Blog #2: Why are we infusing values and social action into our curriculum?
Limmud 2.0 - PJA's Adult and Family Education Project has gotten off to a nice start. Two programs that are in full swing now are Café Limmud and the Limmud 2.0 Book Group. These two programs are good examples of the wide range of programs we hope to offer throughout the year.
“I want the children to pray from their hearts, but I have a feeling I'm not able to bring them to true prayer. I know I'm doing something wrong, but I don’t know what else to do.” These are the words spoken by a primary school teacher in the joint education system for religious and secular children, and describes the frustration experienced by the teacher in prayers for the religious children.
From modern-day Maccabees to a competition for recycled menorahs, see what other schools are doing to make Chanukkah different and special at their schools.
Etan Weiss, Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School, Rockville, Maryland:
Blog #2: Finding the Right God Talk Speaker
A core part of our 9th and 12th grade theology program is to expose our students to speakers with a wide variety of answers to standard theology questions. As a coordinator of this program, the first natural step is to search broadly for and invite different types of Jews who span the denominational spectrum. But at some point, the students may want more than just a Jewish perspective. The questions that I want to raise this month are:
In Genesis 33, Jacob and Esau finally meet after an absence of 20 years. They embrace and have an exchange of words. When Jacob offers Esau hundreds and hundreds of heads of cattle and sheep as a gift of reconciliation, Esau initially refuses by stating, "I have plenty, my brother; let what you have remain yours." But Jacob replies, "No, I pray you; if you would do me this favor, accept from me this gift; for to see your face is like seeing the face of God, and you have received me favorably.
On November 14th we had a B’yachad Kabbalat Shabbat at school. We invited the Jewish residents from Greenbriar Retirement Home to join us. We also invited a couple from Romania who spend half their year in Birmingham and the rest of their time in Bucharest. We had a wonderful time together. The interactions were great. After hearing from their children, I received two phone calls from parents asking further questions about the event!
Vayetze means “and he went out” and relates the story of Jacob’s departure from Beersheva for Haran, Rebecca’s birthplace. The first night of the journey, he dreams of a staircase reaching from earth to heaven and is told by God that his descendants will be blessed and they will inherit the land already promised to Abraham and Isaac.
Missy Minuk is in her Grade 12 year at Gray Academy of Jewish Education. She began her academic career as a 3-year-old in the Junior Kindergarten program and will celebrate her 14th as a proud member of the class of 2015. Missy is a true example of a Jewish day school student who embraces both the curricular, co-curricular and extracurricular offerings available to her; these experiences have shaped the young leader she has become today.
Review of Building a Better Teacher: How Teaching Works (and How to Teach It to Everyone) by Elizabeth Green (New York: WW Norton) 2014.