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March, 2010

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The Jim Joseph Foundation
Pardes Educators Alumni Support Project Newsletter 
March 2010  Nissan 5770

Dear Hevre,
I feel as though I start each newsletter with "I just returned to Israel", but that's the truth. I recently spent two weeks in Atlanta, Philadelphia and New York, visiting with alumni and observing student teachers. It is always a privilege to visit so many of the schools, shep nachus from our teachers and see the diversity within day school education.
And speaking of student teachers...we have nine students graduating from cohort 9, five others who will be entering the field after a postponement, to fulfill their full obligation, and several others who plan to move schools or cities. We would like your help in letting us know of any openings that are not already listed on the job opportunities page of our website. In these difficult economic times, we want our graduates to be able to find the best jobs possible.
We hope the article in the Education Corner will engender some responses on your part, which you are welcome to post on the forum.
Our very best wishes for a chag sameach - and a well deserved vacation!
Kol Tuv,

Pardes Educators Alumni Support Project staff:
Dr. Susan Wall, Abby Rosen Finkel, MA, Debra Weiner-Solomont, MSW

The Pardes Educators Alumni Support Project is funded by a generous grant from the Jim Joseph Foundation.
Dvar Torah - Eric Zaff  (Cohort 1)
Upon completing the Pardes Educators Program, Eric taught Talmud at Chicagoland Jewish High School for three years. Eric then attended Yeshivat Chovevei Torah and received his Rabbinical Ordination in 2009. While studying in New York, he taught at Abraham Joshua Heschel Middle School. Eric currently teaches at the Sager Solomon Schechter Middle School, Northbrook, IL. He lives in Chicago with his wife, Jillian, and their son, Joshua.
  Zaff 2
It's all Greek to me. That is the basic premise of the names of the books of the Torah as they are called by most people in this country.  Genesis, Exodus, etc. come from Greek. Often, people point out that these names capture the essence of each book more than the Hebrew names. However, to me, the Greek names have always seemed less connected to the true subject of each book than the Hebrew names. Granted, many people see the Hebrew names as just the first word of the book; yet these names seem to get at the essence of the books that they begin. For four of the books, I think the connection is fairly straightforward. Bereshit deals with the beginning of both humankind and the Jewish people. Shmot is about identity: God's, B'nei Yisrael's, and the two together. B'midbar is about B'nei Yisrael's journey through the wilderness.  Devarim is primarily the words of Moshe to B'nei Yisrael.

The question is, what is the connection between the name 'Vayikra' and the content of the book, since Sefer Vayikra deals primarily with the korbanot that people offer to God?  What is the connection between 'calling out' and korbanot?
To read the entire Dvar Torah click here.

Planning Underway for the PEP Alumni Fall Retreat   2010/5771 

Pearlstone Retreat Center
We now have a steering committee actively engaged in planning the retreat, to be held Thursday, October 28 through Sunday October 31, 2010 (20-23 Cheshvan, 5771) at the Pearlstone Conference and Retreat Center, Reisterstown, MD.
Members of the steering committee come from different cohorts and represent the diversity of our alumni community, in terms of the grades, subjects, and schools they teach in.
The steering committee members are: Tamar Rabinowitz (Cohort 1), Seth Goldsweig (Cohort 2), Keren Romm (Cohort 5), Adam Tilove (Cohort 6), Matt Conti (Cohort 7) and Deborah Anstandig (Cohort 8). You are welcome to contact any member of the steering committee with your ideas. We will be forming sub-committees shortly and we welcome your participation.
Who was Jim Joseph?
Jim Joseph photo
The Pardes Educators Alumni Support Project receives its generous funding from the Jim Joseph Foundation. 
Jim Joseph was a dedicated Jewish Philanthropist who cared passionately about the education of Jewish children, youth and young adults.  He believed that focusing on young people was the best way to preserve a strong Jewish faith and proud heritage.
Jim Joseph (Shimon Ben Yosef Yitzhak) was born in Austria in 1935. Fleeing Hitler, the family escaped to Prague, where they received visas to the United States in March, 1939.  The entire family was then able to immigrate to Los Angeles. As Jim Joseph had often said, his parents instilled in him a strong sense of Jewish heritage and pride that influenced him throughout his life. He believed that the ability of the Jewish people to survive in America depends upon Jewish students becoming stronger and more knowledgeable. He was passionate about the importance of Jewish Education as fundamental to strengthening one's Jewish identity in the United States and in becoming leaders as Americans and as Jews. 
Jim Joseph founded Interland Corporation, a commercial and residential real estate company. His philanthropy was, and continues to be, cross denominational. He
passed away in 2003 and is buried in Israel.
To learn more about the Jim Joseph Foundation and the programs they fund, click onto their website
Focus on Anna Falk (Cohort 4)
My name is Anna Falk. My journey into Jewish Education and Pardes began in the Siberian city of Krasnojasrsk, where I grew up. It was only when I was transferring to a new high school, that I saw that the nationality listed on my papers was Jewish.  I met another Jewish girl in high school, who introduced me to Hebrew classes sponsored
by the Jewish Agency. I had hoped to come on aliya after high school but my parents would not let me.  Instead, I went to college and graduated from the Teacher Training University with a major in English. Upon graduation I worked for the Siberian branch of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (The Joint).
In 2000, after working for The Joint for 4 years, I decided to fulfill my dream and come on aliya.  
Click here to follow Anna's journey.

Education Corner by Dr. Susan Wall

 A number of you had the privilege of taking a course with Dr. Orah Zohar as part of your Hebrew University or Hebrew College degree. Those who did, will no doubt remember the story of Miss A (Pedersen, et al. A New Perspective on the Effects of First Grade Teachers on Children's Subsequent Adult Status, Harvard Educational Review, vol. 48, February 1978, pp. 1-31), a first-grade teacher whose impact on her students was amazing. I remember - when using the data in my own teaching - that some of you questioned the findings and the "outdated" research. I felt vindicated when reading the recent New York Times article, "Building a Better Teacher", which I highly recommend to all of you. In short, the article stressed two points:
     1. Teachers make a difference
     2. There are identifiable traits that can be learned that make teachers more effective.
The article reports that "Eric Hanushek, a Stanford economist, found that while the top 5 percent of teachers were able to impart a year and a half's worth of learning to students in one school year, as judged by standardized tests, the weakest 5 percent advanced their students only half a year of material each year." That finding is mind-boggling and one that we need to understand better.
Click here to
PEP News
As Student Teaching 2010 comes to an end, we asked Cohort 2 alum, Seth Goldsweig, what it was like to be a mentor in the program. Seth mentored first-year, Cohort 10 student teacher, David Fain, at the Paul Penna Downtown Jewish Day School in Toronto.

What is particularly satisfying about mentoring a Pardes Educator? 
There is certainly the element of tradition or legacy - once a Pardes Educator, always a Pardes Educator. I was once in the shoes of my mentee and it feels great to be able to provide a meaningful experience for this future teacher.

In what ways have you grown as a teacher as a result of mentoring?
Being a mentor certainly forces you to be more reflective as a teacher. It's not right to ask my mentee to do something if I can't model it myself. Thus, what was sometimes a sequence of passive decisions during my class is now a series of thought-out steps. The mentoring experience has also enabled me to think of new ideas that I can now use in my teaching as well.

Other PEP alumni who mentored this year included: Amanda Pogany (Cohort 2), Elisha Stein (Cohort 4) and Etan Weiss (Cohort 5).
Note: We have started to accept students for Cohort 11 of the Educators Program, but we still have spaces available. Please continue to think about people whom you would recommend for the program, whether current colleagues or past classmates.  Judy Markose will be happy to contact them personally, inviting
them to apply to the Educators Program.


From the Field
Two ideas from recent school observations:
1. Aleeza Paul (Cohort 9), was doing her student teaching with a group of 8th graders. She used a 'pair share' so effectively, that even though it wasn't a 'new technique', I wanted to share what she did. She gave the students exactly one minute (at two different times during the period) to turn to the person next to them to discuss their personal insights on a particular subject. Because Aleeza  limited the time to one minute and it was an interesting question that allowed them to talk about themselves, the students got right to work. She held to the minute, and quickly brought them back to the frontal lesson. Since research showsclock that many students go through a full period without ever talking, this is a great technique that should be used more often (for expressing personal opinions, sharing experiences, reviewing what was just taught, etc.)

2. Rachel Shapiro (Cohort 7), was teaching a middle school Tanakh class. Now in her second year of teaching, Rachel had decided to work more on differentiating the learning for her students. On this particular day, students were given individual Biblical verses on a slip of paper, which included a word bank. Some worked alone, some with a hevruta. Rachel made it look as though she was randomly giving out the verses, but she had carefully planned which verse to give which student, and whether someone should work alone or in hevruta. Rachel then circulated as they prepared their verses. Each was asked to create a simple drawing of the verse. She then had the students put up their verses in order on the board, but without talking, and they could only move their own individual verse around. In the meantime, there was a studenttanakh who had recently entered the school, with weak Hebrew language skills. While the others were working on their individual verses in Hebrew, that student read the chapter in English, and was appointed the "checker" to make sure that the verses were in the correct order, as those students at the board read their verses aloud. The class was motivated, the students worked, and "no child was left behind".   

If you have a short description of something you did in class that could be helpful to your colleagues, please write it up and send it to Debra. .
Siyum Mishnayot in Memory of Scott Kaplan's Father

Scott Kaplan (cohort 7) is organizing a cooperative Siyum Mishnayot in honor of his father's first yahrtzeit. You can still sign up for a masechet by going to the Mishnayot website; click on to Moishe Matisyahu ben Yehuda Leib (Mark Kaplan). Please note that you need to complete the learning by erev shabbat, 15 Sivan (May 28th).
Please be in touch with Scott for any questions about the learning.
Educational Publications, Resources and Opportunities
Dr. David Bernstein, Dean of Pardes and faculty member Rabbi Levi Cooper have published aritcles in the Jewish Educational Leadership Journal, Fall 2009 (8:1)  Teaching the Holocaust. Dr. Bernstein's article, entitled Teaching the Role of Poles in the Shoah, can be found here. Rabbi Levi Cooper's article, Challenges of Commemoration, can be found here.

The Schechter Institute has introduced a new weekly series of interpretative essays on the Psalms, A New Psalm: A New Look at Age-Old Wisdom. The essays are written by Rabbi Benjamin Segal.

The New York Times has recently published some very interesting articles on teaching and education. The article entitled Where the Bar Ought to Be can be found here.
The article entitled Building a Better Teacher, which is referred to in the Education Corner, can be found here.
The New York Times has a great blog on Education.

Other resources:
Free Bible land maps are available

The online Aruch Hashulchan at Hebrew Wikisource is now complete forOrach Chaim.
Significant parts ofYoreh Deahhave also been completed.
The Jewish National Fund provides educational materials that connect children to Israel in relevant ways.  Click here to download free educational materials.  Click here to see what programs JNF has.
A reminder that we have joined the Spertus College E-Library for our alumni. The Feinberg E-Collection contains the full-text of nearly 16,000 books and 25,000 articles in the area of Jewish studies. A reminder that we are also a member of the Lookstein Center e-Community. Please be in touch with Debra for the user-name and password for both of these resources.

Alumni Updates
Mazal Tovs:
Sarah Margles (Cohort 3) on her recent marriage to Hartley Wynberg.
Hayley DeLugach (Cohort 5) and Mark Melamut (Pardes '01-'02, Fellows '04-'05) on the birth of a son, Geffen Paz. Mazal tov to big sister, Kinneret.

Ilana and Matthew Lipman (Cohort 6) on the birth of a son, Matan Simcha. Mazal tov to big sister, Noa.
Eric and Einav Grosser (Cohort 3) on the birth of a baby girl, Ateret Tohar. She joins big brothers Ziv Or and Tal Gefen and big sister Marom Nafshi.
Etan Weiss (Cohort 5)  and Amy Weiss (Pardes,'04-'06,summer,'08) on the birth of a baby girl.
Professional News:  
Jory Stillman (Cohort 1) met with a group of current PEPs, while in Israel, to share her experiences of being an elementary school teacher.

Thanks to everyone for sending us updated contact information.  Please keep us posted about changes of address (home, email) moving jobs, etc. 
We are sorry if we missed something. Please help us by sending in your news!


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