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March 2008

Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies Mail

PEP Alumni Newsletter February 2008



In This Issue
Jim Joseph Foundation
Dvar Torah
Welcome Aboard
Yom Iyun Shel Chessed
Student Profile: Jory Stillman (cohort 1)
Save the Date
Summer Curriculum Workshop
Educational Information

High School-Tefillah:  Ramaz recently hosted a yom iyun for high school teachers in order to think about ways in which to improve tefillah.  During the program there were two presentations:  Rabbi Jay Goldmintz spoke about "Educating Students toward Meaningful Tefillah:  Rabbi Herschel Schachter spoke about "Halachik Issues Confronting Tefillah Educator."  

Hot-line for Teachers :   A group of educators in Brooklyn founded the hot-line "Mi'y'mini Michael" in memory of  Michael.  Teachers can call in with questions and situations they would like help with .  The calling hours are T, W, Th from 9 PM.   The number is: 1-888-4-TALMID (482-5643).    We can't speak for the quality of the hotline, however, if any of you use itm and want to share feedback, it would be appreciated.

We refer you to the the artilce that appeared in The Jewish Week about Day School School Education.
Teaching Rabbinics

Some of the essays on this link might be of interest to  youhttp://www.printingthetalmud.org/home.html

Employment Search Links
Pardes Beit Mirdrash
Student teaching visits:
Zvi Hirshfield
Washington Area, March 31st-April 1st
New York, April 2-3
Los Angeles,  April 4, 7-9
New York, Marck 31, April 10-11
Philadelphia, April 1-2
Boston, April 3-9
Atlanta, March 31-April 2
New York, New Jersey-April 3-4; April 11-14
Boston, April  6-7
San Fransisco, April 8-10
Contact Us
United States

Joshua Chadajo
Executive Director

Lauren Skiba
Director of
Alumni Affairs

Ariella Goldfein
North American Director of Recruitment

Stephanie Baum
Director of Operations

Jade Yu
Office Manager

Contact Us
RabbiDanny Landes
   Rosh Yeshiva

Dr.David Bernstein

Dr. Susan Wall
Director PEP Alumni Programs

Debra Weiner- Solomont,MSW
Administrative Director PEP Alumni

Dr. Judy Markose
Director Pardes Educators Program

Issue #1 February 2008

Dear Hevre,
I am excited to introduce our first alumni newsletter.  I hope this will become a regular venue for keeping you connected to Pardes, your colleagues, and the field of education.  As soon as we get our full staff in place, we hope to use this newsletter to inform you of recent publications, recommended websites, upcoming conferences, shiurim, etc.  While I have ideas as to what to include, I want this to be something that will meet your needs and that you will look forward to reading.  Please feel free to send in your ideas and suggestions.
Please take a few moments and click here  to help provide us with the most updated information. We will send out to all alumni the pertinent information so you can be in touch with colleagues  and share material as appropriate. 
Kol tuv,
Dr. Susan Wall, Director PEP Alumni Support Project

Thanks to a generous grant from the Jim Joseph Foundation, Pardes will now be able to offer more support to you, our graduates, under the auspices of the Pardes Educators Alumni Support Project. The new grant supports PEP alumni with annual staff field visits during their first two years of teaching, an annual professional development retreat in North America for all cohorts, subsidized participation in the Pardes Summer Curriculum Workshop in Jerusalem, and ongoing group and individual support by Israel and U.S. based staff. In addition, The Jim Joseph Foundation is looking to make a major impact on the induction of new teachers in the Jewish day school field. We are fortunate to be part of the thinking process and actualization of this very important endeavor. We suggest you go to the Jim Joseph website  to get a better understanding of the important work the Foundation provides.
We are now  investigating various ways in which we can reach out to our alumni. This newsletter is one such undertaking. We welcome your suggestions.

The Talmud in Tractate Megillah 7a states  a Purim practice that, although indulged in by many, certainly surprises us in the context of religious celebration.  We are told that  "Every person is required to drink on Purim until they cannot distinguish between Haman and Mordechai."  Not only is the apparent requirement to drink to excess  unusual, why should the Rabbis ask us to reach a state where we have blurred our ability to distinguish between good and evil.  What is desirable or spiritually beneficial about eradicating, even temporarily, our sense of right and wrong? 
The Previous Slonimer Rebbe, Rav Shalom Noach Berzovsky zt'l, in his classic work Netivot Shalom, argues that in this context Haman and Mordechai are not representing moral categories of good and evil.  They represent the labels and judgments that we assign to those around us; friends, family, and community members.  These labels create distance between people, and frustrate our goal in developing a sense of love and commitment to all our fellows, regardless of how their personalities mesh with our own.  Our instinct to divide our world of colleagues, family members, and friends into the Mordechais who we seek out and with whom we want to connect, and the Hamans whose flaws, quirks, or annoying habits drive us to avoid them at all costs frustrates our sacred goal to create community where everyone is valued and supported.
For teachers this challenge is especially difficult.  We all have students with whom we share a special connection or bond either because of their charm, wit or sense of humor, or because they appreciate and value our hard work and content in the classroom.  We love to teach our personal Mordechais because they make us feel appreciated and successful.  Those other students, the ones whose attitude, demeanor, and behavior seem to frustrate our best efforts and cause us to question our choice of profession, those are the ones for whom this Purim message is designed.  We must continually remind ourselves not to label and judge our students, creating barriers that will certainly frustrate our ability to inspire, educate, and connect.  We must strive to find the capacity to love within ourselves that goes beyond judgment and labels, and teach our Torah from that place.  May we all be blessed with a Purim that instills within us the desire and ability to teach and enjoy all of our students, even the ones who drive us crazy.

Debra Weiner-Solomont, MSW has been appointed as the Administrative Director of Pardes Educators Alumni  Support Project.  Debra comes with much experience and enthusiasm.  She has been a member of the staff of Pardes for 10 years, as Director of the Continuing Education Program, Coordinator of community service programs and as social worker.  Debra holds a BA from Barnard College and an MSW from Yeshiva University-Wurzweiler School of Social Work.  In speaking of the new position, Debra remarked;  "I am very excited about working with PEP alumni.  I remember many of the graduates, and look forward to doing what I can to support them in the field."

We are delighted that Debra has agreed to join the team.



On  Thursday, March 6th (29th of Adar I) Pardes held the annual Yom Iyun Shel Chesed  in memory of our beloved students Marla Bennett and Ben Blutstein z"l. The day began with a community breakfast, reminiscences shared by Rabbi Danny Landes and a dvar torah by cohort 7 student, Aaron Rogel.   The morning was spent learning about chesed and tzedakah in classes led by faculty members and Pardes Fellows. In the afternoon, students, staff and faculty volunteered in soup kitchens, cleaning up outdoor sites,  and hosting a Purim party for community young adults who work in a Sheltered Workshop run by Shekel.   All the current educators were sent a piece Susan wrote about Ben and Marla to encourage their participation in the day.



Educator teachingJory (known better to some of you as Shoshana Raizel) is in her 4th year teaching second grade at Moriah School of Engelwood, New Jersey, Ivrit B'Ivrit!  This is Jory's 6th year of teaching.  She taught previously at Beth Tfiloh and Rambam in Baltimore, MD.  In addition to teaching 2nd grade, Jory has taught 5th grade and art.  Her most recent interest has been in developing materials for teaching with the SMARTboard.  Jory has been helping the other Judaic studies teachers acclimate to the new technology, and most recently presented at a faculty in-service day.  Jory has developed a great deal of 2nd grade curriculum for the school.  She was recently hired to write lessons plans for the MTV Challenge (Media with Torah Values Curriculum) for the Union of  Traditional Judaism.  The idea is to create lesson plans around popular media clips using Jewish ethics and text.  The material  is being used in High Schools across the country.   Jory teaches Kripalu yoga to children, teens and adults. She uses yoga in the classroom whenever she can.  Jory currently lives in Riverdale.  She would love to be in touch with other alumni who are developing curriculum for the smartboard.  Feel free to be in touch with Jory

All graduates  in good standing of  Cohorts 1-7  are invited to join us  (expenses paid)  November 20-23 ,  for 3 days of learning, sharing, and comaraderie at the  Pearlstone Center outside of Baltimore , MD.       
The program will offer an assortment of workshop options that will meet the needs of our new alumni as well as our more veteran teachers.  There will be sessions on different levels (elementary, middle and high school) as well as opportunities to learn about professional advancement.  While the main emphasis of the program will be on day school education, there will also be sessions related to the broader field of Jewish education, as well as opportunities to learn about professional advancement.  We plan to include both sessions led by our graduates as well as presentations by outside speakers.
We will be happy to provide your school with the highlights of the program as soon as the new school year begins,to ensure that you are given release time for professional development.  In the meantime, please enter the dates in your calendar!

Pardes will once again host the annual Summer Curriculum Workshop for novice teachers (1-5 years experience).  PEP graduates who have completed their 1st and 2nd years of day school teaching are eligible to join us .  PEP graduates with 3-4 years of teaching experience (who are teaching grades 4 and above) can apply as an "outside" novice teacher.  For these alumni (as well as non-alumni), the program, housing and meals will be paid for by a generous grants  from the Mandell L. Madeleine  H. Berman Foundation, the Jim Joseph Foundation and Targum Shlishi-a Raquel and Aryeh Rubin Foundation, as well as by contributions from other donors.  Your school should be willing to pay for most or all of your transportation.  Travel subsidies are available.

Please help us to advertise the program to other novice teachers in your school. We still have a few places available.    This is too good an opportunity to pass up!!


If you are interested in re-locating to a new city, are thinking of taking on more administrative responsibility, or are simply looking for a new school, we'd like to be of help. We do get requests from schools which we can forward on to you, if we know what you're looking for. We currently have over 20 requests from schools looking for teachers or administrators. (Some are posted on search engines, but some have been sent to us in advance of those postings.  If you are looking to move, let us know. (We are happy to not only share the openings we know if, but to give you feedback on resumes or cover letters.) You can also check the search engines listed on the side, on a regular basis.


*A webquest is an inquiry-oriented activity in which most or all the information that learners work with comes from the  web.
*Focuses on using information rather than looking for it. Want to know more-click here!                                                                                                                                                                                                            
Yael Krieger (cohort 8) recently presented a workshop to the current cohorts (7 &8) on using webquests for Judaic studies.


Have a webquest that you've created that you're willing to share. Let us know.

If you are interested in learning more about this technique, drop Debra a note and she will email you Yael's information packet.  The packet will take you through the process of creating a webquest, how to assess it, and what sites can be helpful to you in getting started.  There are also some existing webquests for Judaic studies.

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