Educators

Reflection on Art and Passed Down Memory, a production of our Educators Art Network.

On Thursday, March 2nd,  35 educators joined us at the CJM. Representing day schools, congregational schools and other Jewish organizations, art teachers, Jewish studies teachers and educators with other specialties came from all across the Bay area from as far as Fresno, Petaluma, Castro Valley and Palo Alto. 

We dove deep into Jewish themes, Art, and memory as we explored the CJM exhibition “From Generation to Generation” with Fraidy Aber and Janine Okmin from the CJM. Four stations representing different media set the stage for reflections through theatre, soundscapes, writing and art. 

We explored the powerful teaching tool of Zachor and passed down stories while Tamar Forman, our artist-in-residence, led us through text study and a hands on art activity with clay. Our sculptures told stories of personal interpretations and memory. The medium, technique and idea were all based on Native American art tradition.

Participants took away much from the program.  One commented that the workshop was " the most meaningful experience at CJM since it opened.”

Led by Vavi Toran, our Integration of the Arts department, hosts professional development workshops all year long.  

For more information, CLICK HERE.

Experiential Educator Training Program with Yeshiva University now closed

Bay Area Experiential Jewish Education Regional Cohort November 2015 - January 2016

The YU Experiential Jewish Education Regional Cohorts are dynamic, multi-city professional development initiatives for regionally based Jewish educators, providing them with language, concepts and theories to deepen their practice and better their trade.

COURSE NOW CLOSED.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT ILAN VITEMBERG

ivitemberg@jewishlearningworks.org | 415.751.6983 x 149

or visit ejewisheducation.com

This professional development opportunity was a partnership between Jewish LearningWorks, Yeshiva University, The iCenter, and the Jewish Community Federation & Endowment Fund

*Time and location subject to change

Opinions, Opinions, Opinions

Shalom Educators,
Many of us get most of our news and form our opinions from our preferred press sources. Some of us read the newspaper in the morning, some listen to the radio on their way to work and some watch the evening news. Recently we heard on Israel's TV channel 10 (preferred press source), that most young Americans get their news and form their opinions based on watching Jon Stewart's The Daily Show, from their friends' posts on social media sites and from tweets by celebrities rather than news commentators. 

Here are a few resources that have to do with opinions rather than news. They are a testament to the complicated issues we face, and explain in a way the heated arguments that happen daily here and in Israel.

We are sorry if this only adds to the confusion rather than solves it. Unfortunately, this is the nature of this very long and painful conflict. 
What's your opinion??
All the best and let's continue to hope...

David Grossman's "End the Grindstone of Israeli-Palestinian Violence". published in Yediot Ahronot.

Jon Stewart The Daily Show, We Need to Talk About Israel 

Extended Interview with Hillary Clinton

Ha'aretz Opinion Pages

Ynet (Yediot Ahronot) Opinion Pages

Amos Biderman
Daily caricature
The caption reads: Failure of Humanitarian Cease Fire 
The comic depicts opposing sides in Israel (on the right activists against continuing the Gaza operation and on the left for continuing the operation)
Web page for Ha'aretz Daily caricatures: 

Tisha B’av

By Vavi Toran

In the past few weeks I argued with almost everyone I know. I also agreed with almost everyone I know. In the morning I am right-leaning and at night I am a leftist. In the morning I see no other way than continuing with all our might until the job is done (what job? When do we know it’s done?) and at night I mourn for victims of both sides. Most of all I wish this was over. I wish for an end to violence and suffering. When I talk or argue or try to get my point across I don’t always remain calm or listen attentively to my adversary. Many times we find out a few minutes into the heated argument that we have very similar beliefs after all. We argue because we care!

But not everywhere and every time there is a clash of ideas they remains civil and non-violent. On the streets of Jerusalem, in public places where people are demonstrating for this or that side, in written and broadcasted commentaries, and in social media, the discourse is far from civil and hatreds ancient and new come out in their ugliest manifestations.

Today is erev Tisha B'av, the commemoration of the destruction of both the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem.

“Why were the Temples destroyed? The ancient rabbis explain that the First Temple was destroyed because of three things that occurred in it: idolatry, unseemly sexual behavior, and bloodshed. And then they give what to me is a provocative answer as to why the Second Temple was destroyed: "Because there was sinat chinam, baseless hatred." The Talmud goes on to say: "This teaches that baseless hatred is equated with three sins: idolatry, unseemly sexual behavior and bloodshed." (Talmud Yoma 9B)

What is sinat chinam? It includes gratuitous internecine backbiting, malicious hurtful speech and the inability to discuss differences in a civil way. These behaviors are seen as being as bad as idolatry, adultery and murder.

The astonishing claim is that how we talk to and about each other around issues that matter can destroy a city or maybe even a country. Words matter. Innuendo can kill." (From an article by Rabbi Laura Geller)

On this Tisha b’Av let us remember to listen to one another, honor each other’s opinions, and respond with civility and compassion. 

This  poem by Yehuda Amichai “From the Place Where We Are Right” - is especially poignant on this day.

The Place Where We Are Right

by Yehuda Amichai
From the place where we are right
Flowers will never grow
In the spring.


The place where we are right
Is hard and trampled
Like a yard.


But doubts and loves
Dig up the world
Like a mole, a plow.


And a whisper will be heard in the place
Where the ruined
House once stood.

 

Read more about Tisha B'av.

Israel Education, Every Day

On Yom Ha’atsmaut our community comes together to celebrate Israel, making now the perfect time to highlight the Israel education work happening here at Jewish LearningWorks each and every day, all year long.

With the support of generous funders including the Jim Joseph Foundation and the Goldman Fund, we have developed innovative new approaches to Israel education, partnering with educators and schools across Northern California.

That work includes:

  • Israel Educators Network – Community of Practice for Israel educators throughout Northern California
  • Summer Israel Seminar for Jewish Educators – brings educators to Israel for an intensive two-week seminar to fuel their pedagogy;
  • Tractate: Independence – ground-breaking  Israel curriculum for teens and young adults.  In pilot phase with nine schools (day and synagogue ) here, in Northern California;
  • Classic Israeli Tales – curriculum introduces elementary and pre-school aged Americans to Israeli children’s stories;
  • Educational exhibits, curricula and resources: Poster Tales, Apartment for Rent, Coexistence, , Tel Aviv Exploration, Theodore Herzl, and more;
  • Israel Education e-newsletter – monthly resources for hundreds of Bay Area educators.

To learn more about this work or to take advantage of support, email IVitemberg@Jewishlearningworks.org

Tractate Independence

Tractate Independence is a collaborative effort between Jewish LearningWorks and the Jerusalem-based organization Rabbis for Human Rights.

Tractate Independence takes a Talmudic approach to the study of Israel's Declaration of Independence. It explores critical issues facing Israeli society through the lens of Jewish history and literature. The curriculum challenges the learner to discover the multifaceted reality of Israel in the context of its founding vision.

The educational program is comprised of two booklets: Text Study Pages and Lesson Plans.  The program focuses on two paragraphs in the Declaration: The first paragraph and the thirteenth paragraph and examines them through different lenses.  

Tractate Independence Sample Lessons
Intended for middle and high school students, this curriculum sample hones in on two lenses: 

Kam - Arose
The first line in the Declaration states:
"The Land of Israel was the birthplace of the Jewish people." 
And in another translation:
"In the Land of Israel the Jewish people came into being." 
This lesson examines the meaning of the Hebrew verb kam used in the first line of Israel's Declaration of Independence. Though the official translation is "birthplace" and the Independence Hall's translation is "came into being," the word has a wealth of meanings.  Through sources ranging from the Biblical to the contemporary, students are encouraged to explore the connection between the Jewish people and its land.
Sample pages and lesson plans

Dror/Hofesh/Herut - Liberty
Paragraph thirteenth of the Declaration reads:
"The State of Israel...will be based on freedom...as envisaged by the prophets of Israel".
This lesson explores the different meanings of freedom and its synonyms. A variety of texts from the Torah and prophets, to rabbinic, medieval and modern commentaries, legal covenants and poetry provide an opportunity to explore the value of freedom and its limitations.
Sample pages and lesson plans  

We are currently piloting the program in a few local schools.
To explore this resource, please contact vtoran@jewishlearningworks.org

Playful Art with Piven Testimonial

Read what one educator had to say about her student's experience at an Integration of the Arts Workshop:

I just wanted to share with you a project that I did with my kindergartners at Tehiyah Day School after attending your workshop with Hanoch Piven.   For the past few years, I have been doing an artist/author study of Hanoch Piven with my kindergarten class.   We have been doing a Perfect Purple Feather project and an individual collage portrait project in the past.  But this year, after taking your workshop, I decided to add another culminating project with the children working together in small groups to create a collage about a theme of their choice relating to our school.  I was overwhelmed by how well these 5 and 6 year olds came together with creativity and teamwork to create their masterpieces.   I am attaching copies of these finished projects so you can see that your workshop planted great seeds into the Jewish education community.  Thank you.

Kindest regards,
Ricki Rosenberg, 
Kindergarten Teacher
Tehiyah Day School

Passover Resources - Slavery in Our World

From David Waksberg,  CEO Jewish LearningWorks

We had not even left Egypt before Moses passes along the commandment to "Remember this day, on which you went from Egypt, the house of enslavement..."

Passover bombards our senses to remind us of this seminal moment of liberation. The maror, the haroset, even the matzah evoke the bitterness, the harsh labor, the affliction of slavery. The Torah instructs us to explain to our children - "It is because of what the Lord did for me when I went free from Egypt." The Haggadah calls upon us to see ourselves as having personally gone out from Egypt.

With this heightened awareness - we are instructed not to oppress the stranger, for we were once strangers in Egypt. And Passover helps us REMEMBER WHAT THAT FEELS LIKE.

How strange then, to be at a Seder, celebrating our freedom, and realize we are eating chocolate, drinking coffee, and wearing clothing produced by slaves.

Slavery remains very much alive in our world and in our lives. In fact, abolitionists assert that there are more than 20 million people in some form of slavery today - more than at the peak of the slave trade two centuries ago. In collaboration with our partners at Fair Trade Judaica, we began to learn how to make our Passover Seders slave-free. And then we realized - as educators, we strive to empower our students to apply the wisdom of our tradition to the reality of their lives. Passover offers a wonderful opportunity to shine a light on contemporary slavery. Just as Passover calls upon us to feel as if we ourselves were slaves, it calls upon us to not avert our eyes to the trafficking and bondage that surround us.

Therefore, we have compiled some slavery-free resources to help us learn and teach. They include:

  • Curricular materials for educators about contemporary slavery through a Jewish lens;
  • Texts/source material related to slavery/trafficking/unfair & exploitive labor practices
  • Supplementary material for Seders dealing with contemporary slavery/trafficking;
  • Information on Fair Trade products
  • Background information on contemporary slavery and trafficking in our world, our products, our community, and our lives, and what we can do about it.

We are indebted to our friends at Fair Trade Judaica for their partnership in preparing these materials. We hope you find them useful.