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May, 2010

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The Jim Joseph Foundation
Pardes Educators Alumni Support Project Newsletter  
 May 2010 Sivan 5770

Dear Hevre,

This is the time of the year when students, teachers and administrators are all on the same page, happily anticipating summer vacation. It is also a time for all these groups to reflect upon the past year. As teachers, we need to think through which of our practices we want to 'keep, alter, or discard' for the coming year. We hope you will take the opportunity to do so with yourself and your students, as suggested in The Education Corner.

In reflecting on the Alumni Support Project, we have also learned a good deal that we hope will guide our practice for the coming year. We are delighted that Amanda Pogany (Cohort 2) will be joining our team as of August 1st, with her strong background both in teaching and mentoring. Amanda will bring knowledge of what is most needed, both by novice teachers and those with several years of teaching experience.

Please read through the entire newsletter as there are important and timely announcements. We will be available throughout most of the summer. Let us know if we can help you in preparing new materials, connecting you with other alumni, or making changes you want to implement for the coming year. 

Best wishes for a relaxing and rejuvenating vacation.
Susan, Abby, Debra

Summer cartoon

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 - Judith Sone (Cohort 1)
Upon completing the Pardes Educators Program, Judith taught at the Toronto Heschel School for one year.  She spent a few years in Israel working with the Ramah High School Programs.  Judith returned to Toronto in 2007 and is now in her 3rd year of teaching at the Community Hebrew Academy of Toronto (CHAT).
  Judith Sone
When I read the book of Ruth this year, I was struck by the representation of Ruth.  Ruth, who is clearly at the center of this megillah, is at the same time far removed from the center of her society and exists on the periphery.  She is an outsider, a foreigner, and a woman, yet she is nonetheless treated with the utmost respect by Naomi and Boaz.  She is acutely aware of her fragile status and is shocked when Boaz treats her with extreme kindness.  She says, "Why are you so kind as to single me out, when I am a foreigner?" (2:10).  Despite being different, other, and likely marginalized in her society, Ruth is treated kindly and is given an opportunity to move closer to the center.  She is praised for her loyalty and blessed by Boaz: "I have been told of all that you did for your mother-in-law after the death of your husband, how you left your father and mother and the land of your birth and came to a people you had not known before.  May the LORD reward your deeds." (2:11-12)  Ruth is not marginalized or rejected by Boaz, who seems to see beyond her differences to the core of who she is.  Ruth is an outsider who becomes an insider because of the way in which she is treated.

The book of Ruth is clearly saying something about how we treat outsiders.  It is encouraging us to have an awareness of those whom we see as 'other' and to think about people who are different than ourselves or who are on the boundaries of our communities.  As Jewish educators, this reading of the book of Ruth encourages us to address questions about how we teach our students to think about, interact with, and encounter people who are different than they are.  Our students live in a diverse, multi-cultural world.  As we think about developing their Jewish identities, we should also make sure to do this in conversation with the outside world.  We need to keep in mind that the world of the classroom does not reflect the outside world and the world many of them will encounter in university.  We need to talk to them about other views, other religions, and how to treat and encounter those who are 'other', even though these encounters may sometimes be difficult or feel threatening.  Megillat Ruth reminds us that we should carry an awareness of what it is like to be outsiders in our interactions. These were my reflections upon reading the megilla and hopefully we can carry these thoughts with us into the coming year.

PEP Alumni Fall Retreat  October 28-October 31   2010/5771 

Pearlstone Retreat Center

A "Save the Date" letter for the fall retreat will arrive in your mailbox shortly. Please check your school's proposed calendar for 2010/11 NOW.  If there is a conflict with the date of the retreat, please see if there is any way your school can be flexible.

We have contacted those schools that have more than one PEP alum teaching, with the hopes that they can avoid scheduling special programming for that weekend.

We are looking forward to spending the extended weekend with graduates and staff of the DeLeT program, sharing our respective expertise and knowledge. The weekend promises to be very inspiring and thought provoking.

We look forward to seeing those of you working in Jewish education in North America - or those who are on temporary leave from day schools - in Baltimore, October 28-31.

More details will follow.

Remembering a Special Teacher  by Baruch Feldstern
Prof Moshe Greenberg I was asked to apprise you of a recent loss to the world of Jewish education and Bible scholarship.  Professor Moshe Greenberg, with whom I was privileged to study at JTS and the Hebrew University, died on 2 Sivan after a long and debilitating illness.
Professor Greenberg was quite simply the best teacher I ever had.  He was a consummate scholar, exacting in his attention to detail and profoundly devoted to seeking the truth.  While many other scholars are adept at dissecting the biblical text (determining derivations of words, coordinating texts with archeology and realia of the times, bringing contemporary cultures and religions to bear, etc.), surprisingly few put it all back together in a way that clarifies and brings to life the message of Torah.  Whereas Greenberg mastered the range of disciplines needed to understand the Bible, he was always aware that these were merely instruments in the service of religious meaning.  That same concern accounted for his continued attention, alongside his scholarship at the most advanced level, to classroom pedagogy even in elementary school settings, in Israel and the Diaspora.
I will bring just two examples of why I came to revere Greenberg as my teacher.  One year I participated in a class with him that happened to contain a number of high-powered students who went on to get doctorates and eventually university positions in Bible.  Occasionally, someone would pose a complex question that was tangential to the topic, and certainly not anticipated.  Greenberg would assume a look of intense concentration, pause over the lectern for a long moment, and then deliver a twenty minute exposition of the issue, with absolute clarity and perfect organization, as if he had been working on nothing else for weeks.
In recent years, I would occasionally call Moshe and ask if I could come to his home to seek his help with questions that had accumulated during my teaching.  He never let me feel that this was an imposition, an intrusion on research time that was increasingly precious owing to his illness.  Though my questions retraced familiar territory for him, I always felt that he was wiping the slate clean, reconsidering the issue as if for the first time, because knowledge grows and perspectives mature, and the search for truth demands freshness, rigor and humility.  During these meetings at his home, he would invariably ask me to retrieve books off the shelves in order to delve deeply into intricacies that often elevated my questions to a higher level than as posed. As had been the case years before in his classroom, I left every such session feeling lifted off the ground, raised into a higher spiritual sphere.
Though I knew that his condition was deteriorating, when I heard of his death I felt orphaned.  I recalled the account of R. Yehoshua, who at the death of R. Eliezer lamented that he was left with many questions, but no one to help him find the answers (Sanhedrin 68a).  May the memory of Professor Moshe Greenberg be a blessing and an inspiration.
Focus on Yonatan Rosner (Cohort 7)
Rosner and Family 
My love for Jewish text began as I returned from a trip to Southeast Asia. After a long time of soul- searching and personal interest in the human mind and consciousness, I decided to study Cognitive Science and Jewish Philosophy. The more I learned the more I came to realize how little I know, and with it grew my hunger for even more knowledge. I was lucky to be introduced to the vast world of  Talmud by Rabbi Yitzak Shahor who was running the Afikim Program at the Hebrew University campus then. Soon after, I found myself at the Pardes Institute continuing my soul searching for two more years. At the same time I pursued my teaching credentials and Masters in Jewish Education at Hebrew University, realizing that the best and most enjoyable way for me to learn was through teaching.
I feel that my goals as a teacher are derived directly from my past experiences. I strive to meet the minds of my students half way in the search for meaning-making and understanding; to assist them to develop their cognitive skills through the learning of our traditions; and to help them find personal relevancy even in the most theoretical and arbitrary rabbinic debate.
Currently I am employed at the New Community Jewish High School, West Hills, California. Besides teaching in the Jewish Studies Department, I write curricula for our three student exchange programs. In addition, I coordinate the T'fillah Kehillah Institute (TKI) which is a student-led leadership program for students who are motivated to plan and execute all the T'fillah components at my school.
This year was a very successful one for my TKI student leaders. They led a variety of creative T'fillot: for our whole student body (over 400 students), on grade level trips (including in Israel), and for other small groups. All of these T'fillot included music, art and iyun T'fillah components, new and traditional melodies, and even novel prayers they wrote themselves. Next year the TKI project will be integrated into our 10th and 11th grade curricula. Students from these two grades will be studying, planning, practicing, and executing different models of creative T'fillah, on their way to become strong leaders in the community.
In my personal life, I am a husband to my lovely wife Jessica, and a father to Avriella (2½) and Ness (1). No dog, no cat, no fish, and no third child - yet.

Education Corner by Dr. Susan Wall

"Closures"  for  the Teaching Year

In teaching, I try to differentiate between hooks and activators. Activators, in my mind,  go one step beyond an attempt to engage students' interest in the learning. Activators End  of the school yearattempt to activate a portion of the brain so as to build upon what is already known, preparing for and enhancing the learning that will follow.

As we reach the end of the teaching year, I would suggest we give careful thought to those activities or lessons that will allow for the reverse; giving students opportunities to recall, summarize and reflect upon what they have learned. You may have a good understanding of all your students have accomplished, but do they?

In addition, we know from the research that 'time on learning' matters. It is one of those measures that most closely correlates with student achievement. You want to make sure not to waste valuable time as the weather turns warmer and both students and teachers are getting "antsy".

Last May we shared with you a number of ideas that could be used to bring closure to the learning. We refer you to our website. There are ideas for a range of grade levels and we urge you to revisit this storehouse of ideas. Please send any other suggestions you have used successfully, so that we can add those to our list

What Are You Up To and Where Will You Be?

It is that time of the year when we need your help in updating our files. Your information is important to us for several reasons:
  1.  To remain in touch.
  2.  To plan our geographic visits for the coming year.
  3.  Our funders are interested in knowing what is happening with our graduates.

 Click here to fill in the information requested. It will take you five minutes to complete.

PEP News

The graduation ceremony for Cohort 9 will be held on Tuesday, June 8, 2010. The invitation with a list of Cohort 9 graduates can be found on the PEP Alumni website.We hope that any alumni in Israel will join us for the celebration.63Diploma
For many years, we have been privileged to work with Zvi Hirschfield as Director of the Beit Midrash for the Educators Program. Zvi has been a fantastic teacher, advisor, visionary and sounding board for faculty and students. Zvi will be stepping down from his role as Director of the Beit Midrash for PEP, but will continue teaching. We are pleased to announce that Michael Hattin will assume the position as PEP Director of the Beit Midrash for 2010-11.
Please note: we are still seeking qualified candidates for the incoming cohort as well as Mechina candidates. Please take a few moments to consider a friend or colleague that you can recommend for the Educators Program.  Please send the name to Gail or Judy and we will be sure to follow up quickly and personally.  Thank you!


Educational Publications, Resources and Opportunities

Marc Baker (Cohort 1) wrote an article entitled, A Welcome Challenge: Why Hebrew Charter Schools could be good for Jewish Day Schools. The Article appears in the Winter, 2010 edition of the Jewish Educational Leadership Journal You can also find an article by Levi Cooper on education regulations during the Second Temple period and onward.

The Moreh L'Morim Conference, sponsored by the Siegal College of Judaic Studies, will take place from August 8-August 11, 2010 in Beachwood, Ohio. The topic for this year's conference is, Eilu V'Eilu: The Tradition of Sacred Argument in Jewish Education.  Click here for more information.
YCT Rabbinical School in cooperation with the Lookstein Center for Jewish Education, the Drisha Institute for Jewish Education, David Cardozo Academy, Beit Morasha of Jerusalem, and the Center for Modern Torah Leadership invite the entire community to the eighth annual Yemei Iyun on Bible and Jewish Thought to be held on Sunday-Monday, June 27-28, 2010 in the Greater New York area. Click here for more information.

Sarah Hendel (Cohort 7) recommends this link for the Kehati Mishna in English.   
Many of you have been enjoying the Spertus College E-Library and the Lookstein Center e-Community. The Feinberg E-Collection contains the full-text of nearly 16,000 books and 25,000 articles in the area of Jewish studies. Please be in touch with Debra for the user-name and password for both of these resources.

Alumni Updates
Professional News:  
Benny Levy (Cohort 7) on receiving Smicha from Yeshivat Hamivtar, Israel.

Stephen Belsky (Cohort 4) on receiving Smicha from Chovevei Torah, New York.
Michal Cahlon (Cohort 5) and Elizabeth Corlin (Cohort 5) have been invited to participate in this summer's Jewish Women's Archives Institute for Educators.  The program will take place from July 25-July 29, 2010 in Newton, MA.

Mazal Tovs:

Zvi Grumet (PEP Faculty member) and his wife Naomi Marmon on the birth of a daughter, Haviva Hallel. Mazal Tov to big sister and brother, Ruti and Yair.

Nili Auerbach (Cohort 6) and Ezra on the birth of a daughter, Leora Yael.  Mazal tov to big sister, Eliana.
Adee Weismark (Cohort 4) and Ilana Benarosh (Pardes '02-'03, Fellows '03-'04) on the birth of a daughter, Kedem. Mazal Tov to big sister and brother, Kinneret and Amishai.
Tamar Rabinowitz (Cohort 1) and Gregg Fine (Summer '09) upon their engagement

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


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