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August 2012 Newsletter

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The Jim Joseph Foundation

Pardes Educators Alumni Support Project  

Newsletter  August  2012 / 'Menachem' Av  5772  

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Dear Hevre,


It seems we were just sending you off on summer vacation and here we are, ready to begin a new school year. We want to wish you all hatzlaha rabba - our eight new teachers entering the field, those re-entering the classroom, those moving to new schools, and those (hopefully rejuvenated and excited) returning as veterans to their schools. For those not currently working in day schools, we wish you continued success in your current positions.  


We welcome Ilana Lipman (cohort 6) to our PEASP staff. Ilana will be focusing on supporting our new teachers, overseeing the development of our Judaism and Conflict resolution middle school Rabbinics curriculum, working with our team on professional development opportunities and taking responsibility for our newsletter and website. Ilana can be contacted at Ilanalipman@Pardes.org.il .   


Please remember that we are here to help you in any professional capacity. We hope you enjoy the newsletter and look forward to both hearing from you and seeing you at various functions during the year.  


Kol tuv,


Debra, Ilana and Susan


Back to school  



Dvar Torah - Deborah Anstandig  (Cohort 8)   

Deborah is in her fourth year teaching at SAR High School , Riverdale, New York

Deborah Anstandig

Ever since I was a little child, my favorite song has been "לא עליך".

"לא עליך המלאכה לגמור, ולא אתה בן חורין להיבטל ממנה..."


"It is not up to you to complete [all of] the work, but neither are you free from trying... "

Taken from Mishnah Avot, the text of this song acknowledges both the potential and limitations of the human experience.  


I came to appreciate this lesson on a new level this summer while working at the Kayam Farm. Located on the grounds of the Pearlstone Retreat Center, Kayam is an organic Jewish educational farm that provides opportunities for people from all backgrounds to work the land and care for its animals. We created a pluralistic Jewish community together, supporting and challenging each other. Yet it was clear that we were all united by the recognition that our work can be imbued with a sense of sanctity, of kedusha. I was joining in the process of the human experience, acknowledging both my abilities and my restrictions as one person in this vast system.


Every Thursday was Harvest Day for the farm's Community Supported Agriculture Program. As I cut beautiful heads of romaine lettuce from the ground, I felt grateful for the ability to be a part of this process. I was reaping the benefits of the effort of those who came before me: the person who created the plot of land, tilled the soil, prepared the beds, placed the irrigation tape, planted the seeds, weeded the plants, and removed any of the predator bugs that would have prevented the lettuce from sprouting to its completion.    


Click here to read the entire dvar torah.  






 We recently shared with you that Amanda Pogany (cohort 2) would be stepping down as associate director of PEASP to take on the school headship of the Luria School in Brooklyn. Amanda finished off her time with the project, here in Jerusalem, working first with cohort 11 in anticipation of their new responsibilities as classroom teachers, and then with those who joined us for the summer curriculum workshop. It was a fitting close to her two years - and we will all miss her greatly.


Now we have to bid a second farewell. Debra Weiner Solomont, who has been the moving force in making sure that all the support we provide to you actually happens - will be contNew directioninuing on to other responsibilities here at Pardes. As many of you know, Debra is a trained social worker, and will now fill a designated position here at Pardes as mental health director. She will also use her administrative talents to see through a number of special projects at Pardes during the year.  


Thank you, thank you - to both Amanda and Debra. May your next ventures prove equally as satisfying and may you bring you wonderful strengths and talents to those you will have an impact upon.  


Click here for messages from Amanda and Debra  


A Basket of Support Options 


This year we are excited to offer an array of options to our graduates in terms of professional support and development. As in previous years, we will continue to:


  1. Make site visits to our beginning teachers suppoort
  2. Provide a closed list-serve, bi-monthly newsletters and a website with resources and job opportunities
  3. Connect our first year teachers with veteran coaches
  4. Offer whatever individual support we can to all alumni working in any areas of Jewish education.

NEW for this year are the following opportunities, from which our alumni can choose a number of options:

  1. Participation in the annual day school conference. We invite those who have been working as administrators or teaching full-time Judaic studies in day schools for at least 4 years to attend the conference in Washington DC, February 3-5, 2013 . Along with other groups we will have a "mini-conference within the conference" to bring our veteran graduates together. PEASP will subsidize both the cost of the conference and the hotel (based on double occupancy) for those who need the funding. 


Click here to read more options. 



The Pardes Center for Jewish Educators (PCJE)


Hopefully you have been following the progress of our new Pardes Center for Jewish Educators (PCJE) and thinking of how you can both contribute to and benefit from these developments. While the classic PEP program will remain the centerpiece/anchor of our pre-service program, the training component for educators has been expanded to meet the needs of a variety of people looking to enter the field of Jewish education. Click here for more information about PCJE. 


In North America, we are already involved with two very exciting projects detailed below. In addition we would be pleased to provide professional development for your school or in your community on the topics of tefilah, hevruta, making text study meaningful, and Israel education. 


  1. A tefilah initiative with Ravsak. We are in the early stages of planning the project which we believe will have a major impact on tefilah in day schools. In June, we co-sponsored a think tank, in the New York area with tefilah educators from a broad array of backgrounds. We hope to recruit pilot schools in the near future, and work with our own PEP graduates whose schools are ready to make a serious investment in tefilah.
  2. Middle school Rabbinics curriculum focused on creating rodfei shalom. Together with Daniel Roth's Center for Judaism and Conflict Resolution, we have started a pilot project with two middle schools in the greater LA area (Sinai Akiva and Kadima). We have developed initial units on what it means to be a rodef shalom and another on bullying. We hope to expand the project in the 2013 -14 school year to more middle and high schools - and again would like to give priority to schools where our PEP alumni are teaching.









Focus on Amy Warsh Goldsweig  (Cohort 2) 


My name is Amy Goldsweig, and I am now entering my fifth year as the Director

Amy Goldsweig

of Education for Beth Torah Congregation in Toronto. After graduating from PEP's second cohort with my fellow alumnus and husband Seth, I moved to Boston where I spent three wonderful and transformative years teaching fifth grade Hebrew and Jewish Studies at the Solomon Schechter Day School of Greater Boston. My greatest wish to every graduate is that they have a first teaching experience like I did - where you feel like you have found the exact right place for you.   


Read more here





Education Corner

Peer Observation and Coaching by Susan Wall


Marc Baker (cohort 1), headmaster of Gann Academy, spoke at a luncheon during our summer curriculum workshop. He shared with the group the five core characteristics of a Gann educator. While all five were important, I want to focus, for this month's column, on the first trait: an educator committed to reflection, collaboration and growth.


The term "reflective practitioner" has entered the shared vocabulary of serious educators. We all speak of the importance of examining our work and thinking how we could make it better. My teacher, Dr. Seymour Fox, often compared teaching to medicine in that he saw them both as a combination of art and science. There is definitely a practice to teaching that can be taught; the art is in the application. Medicine, however, comes with an extended apprenticeship. New teachers should also view
peer observation
themselves as interns/residents, who need an attendant to help them learn, grow and reflect. (That is why having a designated mentor to observe and reflect with new teachers is critical.)


Barbara Rosenblit (a master teacher who mentors all new teachers at the Weber School in Atlanta and who has worked will all eleven cohorts of Pardes Educators), claims that she learned to teach by watching great teachers. In fact, no matter how long we are in the field, we can learn by watching others and having others watch us.


Click here to read the entire article.


Summer Curriculum Workshop 2012  



We had a very successful summer curriculum workshop in July for thirteen of our alumni and two other day school teachers. This year's workshop was directed by Tamar Rabinowitz (cohort 1), with Zvi Grumet, Neima Novetsky, Amanda Pogany and Susan Yammer serving as mentors. The participants created units for the coming year, shared successes, reflected on difficult issues from the prior year, participated in tiyulim around Jerusalem, and studied Torah lishma.


In the words of one participant:2012 scw

I feel really proud of myself for having accomplished my goals - professional and Torah lishma. I am walking out a stronger Jewish educator and more assured of my own value to my school community.  


We will keep you posted regarding our plans for the coming summer, as we offer, for the first time, a one week intensive summer curriculum workshop in North America.  Look for more information in our November newsletter. 




Educational Publications, Resources and Opportunities


The 10th anniversary of the Hebrew University bombing was July 31st.  Marla Bennett (Cohort 2) and Ben Blutstein (Cohort 3) were among the nine people killed at the Frank Sinatra cafe. Click here to read the article in Haaretz commemorating the yarzheit.  


The participants of the 2012 Summer Curriculum Workshop compiled a list of online resources that they have found very helpful.  You can find the list here.


The On-Line Toolkit for Teachers offers advice and resources.  


The Pardes Podcast is one of the most listened to Jewish Studies podcasts in the world. Click here to download it and learn from your favorite teachers.


Speaking of Pardes faculty, Rahel Berkovits, Levi Cooper and Michael Hattin have recently published books. Rahel Berkovits' Book: A Daughter's Recitation of Mourner's Kaddish can be purchased here

Levi Cooper's book: Relics for the Present: Contemporary Reflections on the Talmud can be purchased here.  Michael Hattin's book: Passages: Text and Transformation in the Parsha can be purchased here. (For those of you in Israel, you can contact Michael directly.)   

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Zvi Grumet recommends this video: Five Minute Film Festival: Hollywood Teachers


Teach Torah offers online material and lesson plans for a number of the books of tanakh.







Alumni Update

Professional news:


Tamar Rabinowitz (Cohort 1) was awarded the Grinspoon-Steinhardt Award for 2012.

Jessie Mallor (Cohort 7) was awarded a Presentense Fellowship. She spent the summer in Israel and we were delighted to see her back in the Pardes Beit Midrash. 

Reuven Margrett (Cohort 6) and Aron Wolgel (Cohort 8) were featured in the Pillar at FJA Blog.

Evan Wolkenstein (Cohort 1) has an article in the Summer 2012 issue of  Hayidion, Teaching Tanakh. His article entitled The Quality of Life Wheel: A Tool for Reading, Understanding and Living (pgs. 68-69). It will be available on the Hayidion site soon.   


Miriam Shamberg Gross (Cohort 7) has an article in the Yeshiva University Center for the Jewish Future publication: Tisha B'av to Go 5772. pg. 44. 



Personal News

Mazal Tov to:


Moshe Fisch (Cohort7) and Caitlin on the birth of a daughter, Ella Mayaan  Mazal tov to big brother, Binyamin.


Ron Einhorn (Cohort 6) and Heidi.on the birth of a son, Samuel Coleman Einhorn. Mazal tov to big sister, Cela Francis. 


Judith Sone (Cohort 1) and Luke Whitmore (Pardes 00-01, 01-02) on the birth of a daughter, Talya Miriam.


Sarah Levy (Cohort 9) and Benny Levy (Cohort 7) on the birth of a daughter, Batya Chen. Mazal tov to big brother, Itai. 


Einav Grosser (Cohort 3) and Eric Grosser (Cohort 3) on the birth of a daughter, Tevel Sela. 



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