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March 2012

Wed, Mar 28, 2012 at 7:00 AM

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The Jim Joseph Foundation

Pardes Educators Alumni Support Project  

Newsletter March 2012 / Nissan 5772  

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Dear Hevre,


It is very exciting to be sending off this, our latest newsletter, having just completed our annual retreat with fifty-eight of our alumni in attendance. The theme of the retreat was"The Next Decade: Moving the Vision Forward". We spent time reflecting on the past decade, the developments for PEASP and the new Pardes Center for Jewish Educators (PCJE). We want to thank everyone who gave their time to help make the experience as successful as it was. We will be posting a video of Zvi's plenary address on our website after Passover.


We were so pleased that Josh Miller, our program officer from the Jim Joseph Foundation, was able to spend two days with us at the retreat, and share greetings from the Foundation. Click here to read the dvar Torah sent in by Michael Berger from AVI CHAI, who was unable to attend. We hope those of you who could not join us at the retreat will be able to contribute to the ongoing work we began.


Enjoy reading through the newsletter.  We wish you a meaningful Passover holiday - and for some of you, a restful vacation as well.


Hag kasher v'sameach,Pardes Passover Event 


Susan, Amanda, Debra


Pardes Educators Alumni Support Project staff: 

Dr. Susan Wall, Amanda Pogany, MA,

Debra Weiner-Solomont, MSW 

The Pardes Educators Alumni Support Project is funded by a generous grant from the Jim Joseph Foundation.


Dvar Torah - Andy Shapiro Katz   (Cohort 2)   

Andy taught at the Weber School for two years and then taught and served as Assistant Head of School for Student Life and Jewish Learning for five years at the Jewish Community High School of the Bay, San Francisco.


Musings on Ki Tisa, Israel, and the Chagim

Andy Shapiro KatzI write this Dvar Torah as Purim concludes and our collective attention turns toward Pesach. The Torah reading for the Shabbat following Purim is well-timed, as the sixth aliya of Ki Tisa instructs us regarding Chag HaMatzot, the Korban Pesach, Isur Chametz as well as the Bikkurim. It is at this time of year when the vital Jewish juxtapositions become most potent - past and present, nature and history, linear and  circular time. It challenges me to reflect about where I am, now that I am back in Israel.

Following completion of the Pardes Educators Program in 2003, my wife Emily and I spent two years in Atlanta and then five years in San Francisco. We returned to Israel in August 2010 to be part of a new community in Beer Sheva. We found a chevre and found work, and we continue to acclimate. We purchased a house in November,  2011 and moved into it this past February.

We purchased the home from Ya'akov Shmueli, the 70-year-old original owner. Like the man with the
almond tree in the famous Honi HaMe'agel story, he planted fruit trees in the garden - apple, pear, orange, peach, pomelo, grapefruit, clementine, pomegranate, olive, and fig. He planted the trees, but we
will enjoy their fruit.

Click here to read Andy's Dvar Torah.  




Education Corner 

 School-wide Learning Centers for Community Celebrations


Why use these centers?1 Grade or school-wide learning centers allow schools to mark a holiday in an enjoyable way while still promoting student learning.They provide a change of pace for both students and teachers and an opportunity to introduce more "off the beaten track" learning.

These centers can get elementary or middle school parents involved, either in helping out at a center where more hands are needed, or by accompanying younger students from center to center.  


We thought it appropriate to share this now, with all the "spring holidays" - Passover, Israel Independence Day, Lag ba-Omer, Shavuot - coming up. All work well as the basis for learning centers.  


Click here to read the entire article. Learning centers




From the Field

 Studying HaTikvah - Kelly Cohen (Cohort 10) 


I was interested in using the study of HaTikvah to explore the many different voices and opinions that exist, and have existed, in Israeli society. This was a part of a larger learning unit about Israel for which
the enduring understanding was "Israel is the story of its people".  


The students in my 5th grade class were broken down into 5 groups and we had a mock "Choosing the National Anthem of Israel" competition. Each of the 5 groups was given a different "character" from Israeli history. Some of the characters were real (Rav Kook, Naftali Herz Imber) and some were composite characters (David Darom - A South African Oleh, Moshe Nachman - An Orthodox Jew, and Christina Sahoury - an Arab-Israeli). Each character had their own ideas about what the National Anthem should and should not contain, and how they could best be represented in the anthem of their country.


Each group had to prepare a presentation to the class. There was a process of Q & A to help us understand all of the positions and finally there was a vote.This process aligned with a unit they were doing in Language Arts on "persuasive speech", which helped us have a common language to frame the presentations.  


Each class ended up choosing a different National Anthem and they represented a wide spectrum of thoughts. In one of the assessments for this unit I asked the students to tell me what this activity had taught them about Israel. I got a lot of great answers but the two that have stuck with me are, "there are a lot of people in Israel that think a lot of different things", and "people in Israel must really love their country if they have so many thoughts on what the NationalAnthem should be." I am happy to share any or all the materials and lesson plans around this project.


 Hatikvah 2





Focus on Donna Rudolph  (Cohort 6) 

Donna taught at the Jewish Primary Day School of the Nation's Capital. She has worked as the Head of Drama at Camp Ramah-Wisconsin. Donna lives in Jerusalem with her husband and 15 month old son.

Upon graduating from the Pardes Educators Program I was fortunate to have gotten a wonderful job. I was a 4th, 5th and 6th grade Judaic studies teacher in a small school in Washington, DC.  I remember saying to my husband at some point that I actually looked forward to getting up in the morning and going to work every day. How many people can say that? I think part of what made the job so enjoyable was that I had a majority of motivated students, parents whom I felt were my partners in their children's education, and most importantly, a supportive staff and principal. The faculty and parent body appreciated me as a teacher and as a person.

We moved back to Israel two years ago and understandably, my greatest fear was not having job satisfaction. My first job here was as a sort of liaison between the children of new olim or people who were in Israel on Sabbatical, at a public religious school. I would go into class with these kids and give support as needed- mostly in their Judaic studies/Hebrew classes. I had a very difficult experience in doing this- primarily in being an observer. I was used to kids behaving and being excited about school, I was used to kids having enough food for lunch, I was used to working at a school with a no bullying policy, not one that didn't notice bullying going on. I was so used to the 'luxury' of making as many photocopies as I wanted (there wasn't a laminating machine so we won't even go there☺).  All of the privileges were part of working in a private Jewish school in the US, and clearly I was 'not in Kansas anymore'.  If I am being honest with myself the two parts that bothered me the most were the idea that my own children would eventually be exposed to and part of this system, and that I still can't for sure say that the kids were not learning anything.  I think they actually were!


Click here to read Donna's profile. 

PEP News


It is that time of year again - and that means that our 18 current PEP students can now be found working hard in student teaching placements across the United States. We wish them much success and great learning and teaching moments.


So, mah nishtanah hashanah hazot mikol hashanim?

For the first time, nearly half of our student teaching mentors are PEP alumni themselves! The following are serving as mentors this year: 

  • Elisha Stein, Cohort 4 at Barrack Hebrew Academy in Philadelphia
  •  Three Cohort 5 graduates - Michal Cahlon of Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy in Overland Park, KS: Hayley DeLugach of the Jewish Community High School of the Bay in San Francisco, and Etan Weiss of the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School in Rockville, MD
  • Reuven Margrett, Cohort 6, of the Frankel Jewish Academy in Detroit
  • Yonatan Rosner, Cohort 7, of  New Community Jewish High School in Los Angeles 
  • Stef Jadd Susnow, Cohort 8, of Chicagoland Jewish High School                                          

In previous years, another six of our alumni served as mentors, including: Tamar Rabinowitz and Evan Wolkenstein, Cohort 1; Seth Goldsweig and Amanda Pogany, Cohort 2; Jessica Lissy Trey, Cohrt 3 and Eliana Seltzer, Cohort 5. For Pardes, PEP, and the Pardes Educators Alumni Support Project, this trend is a real achievement and source of pride. Congratulations and thanks go out to all of our 18 mentors, with a special shout-out of nachas to our PEP alumni mentors.


With blessings for a very happy and meaningful Pesach to you all - a Pesach of learning and teaching moments,teacher mentors

Judy, Gail, and the entire PEP team




Educational Publications, Resources and Opportunities

The Fall, 2011 edition of the Jewish Educational Leadership Journal focuses on Assessment.  The journal can be accessed here.  Assessments written by a number of our alumni can be found in "A Gallery of Assessments". Click here to read them. Please contact Debra for the log in information to access the Lookstein Journal (if you haven't done so already).


Mordechai Rackover (Cohort 3) recommended the article: Top 5 Websites for Teachers to Use in Their Classrooms.   


If you do not have Hebrew on your keyboard, there are a few ways you can get it:

  • This site offers a virtual Hebrew keyboard. The one limitation is that there are no vowels. 
  • You can download the Hebrew keyboard. Click here  
  •  TeqNikud offers a free modified Hebrew keyboard with vowels.   
The Mifgashim Listserv featured an article entitled "The Value of Laughter in the Classroom".  Click here to read it.

The Ivrion Hebrew Immersion Program will be held from June 27-July 22, 2012 at JTS, in Manhattan.  The application deadline is April 15, 2012.  Click
here for more information.

The On-Line Social Media Bootcamp for Educators sponsored by Darim is now accepting applications for its professional development program. The program is funded by the Covenant Foundation. Click
here for details and an application. Deadline to apply is April 1, 2012.



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Alumni Update

Professional news:


 Etan Weiss (Cohort 5), Eliana Seltzer (Cohort 5), Tamar Rabinowitz (Cohort 1), Matthew Lipman (Cohort 6) and Hayley DeLugach (Cohort 5) have their assessments published in the Jewish Educational Leadership Journal.    


Zvi Grumet (PEP faculty) successfully defended his dissertation at the Azrieli Graduate School of Yeshiva University.  Zvi's dissertation is entitled "Moses as a Model for Educational Leadership Development". 


Personal News


Mazal Tov to:


Gail Kirschner gets 2 mazal tovs: on the birth of a granddaughter, Gaja Sarah and on the marriage of her daughter, Elana to David Ihilevich.

Sophie Rapoport (Cohort 8) on her engagement to Joshua David Barton (Pardes Summer '05, Year '06-'07).  


Matthew Lipman (Cohort 6) on completing the Jerusalem Half Marathon. 


We are sorry if we missed something. Please help us by sending in your news!