HaYidion, RAVSAK's highly-acclaimed journal of Jewish education, explores topics of critical interest to day school leaders, advocates, families and supporters. New to HaYidion? Click here to read more
Our history is integral to who we are, yet ours is not a happy story. Thus, as many of the authors in this issue point out, it is unappealing to those whose focal point of Jewish identity, as revealed by the Pew Report, is a sense of humor. Within the pages of this issue of HaYidion are many suggestions for addressing this problem. Technology, creativity and an acknowledgement and awareness of the changing nature of the study of history provide the means by which we can make the teaching of Jewish history vibrant and meaningful...[ more]
Maimonides wrote that “just as a person is commanded to honor and revere his father, so is he under an obligation to honor and revere his teacher, even to a greater extent than his father, for his father gave him life in this world, while his teacher who instructs him in wisdom secures for him life in the world to come.” This issue of HaYidion celebrates teachers, recognizes their challenges and addresses their issues in ways that we hope will honor their commitment and professionalism...[ more]
The timing of this issue reflects its timeliness. The coincidence of the new school year and Rosh HaShanah has always pleased me. I see no reason why a new year should start in the dead of winter. I love the fact that each autumn we welcome back our students with a sense of fresh purpose, newness and excitement—just as we approach the new year with resolve to atone for past failings and take up the challenge of living life fully, creatively and well in the months ahead...[ more]
This issue of HaYidion is filled with bold ideas, with new possibilities, with hope and excitement about the future. It is surely appropriate that this is our spring issue, coinciding with the rebirth of the nature in all its fruitful glory. Likewise, it is fitting that we publish as we prepare to celebrate Shavuot, when Har Sinai suddenly blossomed with flowers in anticipation of the giving of the Torah on its summit...[ more]
This issue of HaYidion focuses on prayer, tefillah. While there are no scientific studies included, there are many examinations of the theme from different perspectives: poetic, analytical, pedagogical, philosophical. Prayer is not hard to define. Wikipedia calls it “an invocation or act that seeks to activate a rapport with a deity, an object of worship, or a spiritual entity through deliberate communication.”...[ more]
Students are our reason for being. Judaism includes the instruction to teach one’s children in a prayer recited twice daily. Our forefathers declared that a city without a school should be destroyed. For the Jewish people, the transmission of our heritage across the generations is sacred. As educators and leaders of Jewish community day schools, we see the entire Jewish tradition reverberate in the interaction between teacher and student.”...[ more]
This issue of HaYidion will bring network weaving to your schools in ways that will enable you to fulfill your mission in newer and better ways. The articles contained in this issue include full definitions and explanations for novices like me (who did not know that “network weaver” was an actual job category) to the more savvy who are already Google-eyed, blogging, twittering, crowdfunding, ustreaming and wofooing....[ more]
In this quarter’s issue, the task was compounded by the seriousness of the theme. In Shabbat 127a, we read: “These are the things for which a person enjoys the dividends in this world while the principal remains for the person to enjoy in the world to come. They are: honoring parents, loving deeds of kindness, and making peace between one person and another, but the study of the Torah is equal to them all.” The task of teaching and studying Tanakh is weighty, for so much is riding on it...[ more]
This issue of HaYidion tackles the leadership crisis head-on, with diverse and hard-hitting articles that offer analysis, insight and pragmatic suggestions for attending to this crisis. RAVSAK itself is working on initiatives to address the issue. It is our hope that you will find ideas and inspiration in these pages that will enable you to tackle with renewed vigor both the challenge of doing things right and the joy of doing the right things....[ more]
"Veshinantam levanechah, “And you shall teach your children.” The words of Devarim proclaim the overriding importance of Jewish education. Even more critical than one’s own learning is the education of Jewish youth. “Every community is required to appoint teachers; a city without a teacher should be put under a ban until the inhabitants thereof appoint one...[ more]
All societies have a moral or ethical code, and schools have long been given the responsibility to transmit it to the young. Since the word “moral” comes from the Latin mos, meaning the code or customs of a people, it is clear that Jewish education is moral education, education for life, and more specifically, for a Jewish life...[ more]
In a global and interconnected world, speaking more than one language is no longer a luxury but a necessity. Approximately one-fifth of Americans speak a language other than English (LOTE), and around the world it is estimated that almost two-thirds of children are bilingual. Thanks to the ubiquity of technology, LOL, IMHO, OMG and BBM are common linguistic currency, and people text and tweet...[ more]
Arlene Kanter, director of the Disability Law and Policy Program at the College of Law at Syracuse University—and mother of two graduates from my day school—is currently in Israel on a Fulbright scholarship to help Tel Aviv University establish the country’s first academic program in disability studies. She was recently quoted as saying that what struck her most since arriving in Israel is how myths and misconceptions...[ more]
Like many heads of Jewish community day schools, I come to my position via a circuitous route, in my case a doctorate in Spanish literature. In my favorite book, Cervantes’ Don Quijote, the self-defined knight of the title makes himself a helmet out of pasteboard. He tests it by slashing it with his sword, destroying it in the process. He then rebuilds it, and rather than testing it, places it confidently....[ more]
"Community” is the theme of this issue—but what does this word mean? Fifty years ago, sociologist George Hillery listed 94 elucidations of the term in his article “Definitions of Community: Areas of Agreement.” A similar listing in 5771 would be even longer and would arguably find fewer areas of agreement, as a search of the web turns up definitions as disparate as “community begins, but does not end, in our face to face relationships with the persons who are closest to us” and....[ more]
As Jews, we have always had dreams, and as Jewish educators, we believe, as did Herzl, that אם תרצו אין זו אגדה—If you will it, it is no dream. Thus it is fitting that this Shavuot issue of HaYidion—which will reach you during commencement season—examines the “Vision of the Graduate,” and asks the question, What does it mean to be an educated Jew?....[ more]
In 1943, Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, said, “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.” In 1949, Popular Mechanics forecast “the relentless march of science” and predicted that “computers in the future may weigh no more than one and a half tons.” In 1968, an engineer at the Advanced Computing Systems division of IBM asked in regard to the microchip, “but what . . . is it good for?” And in 1977, the chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corporation stated unequivocally, “There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.” As the long-defunct cigarette commercial used to say, “We’ve come a long way, baby!”....[ more]
The mission statement of RAVSAK, the network of Jewish community day schools throughout North America and abroad, speaks to the lofty goal of “fostering authentic Jewish pluralism.” But what exactly is pluralism? Diana Eck, writing an introduction for the Pluralism Project at Harvard University, posits four points that define the term. Pluralism, she writes, “is not diversity alone, but the energetic engagement with diversity....[ more]
The headline in the Forward reads: “The Jewish Mother Revisited: Goodbye, Mrs. Portnoy, Hello, Bad Mommy.” A forthcoming book is entitled Hell is Other Parents and Other Tales of Maternal Combustion. An article in the New Jersey Jewish Standard promotes “Helping Kids Thrive With the Coach Approach to Parenting.” On the parenting shelf of the public library sits Straight Talk About Your Child’s Mental Health: What to Do When Something Seems Wrong. Parenting in the Age of Anxiety is extremely stressful....[ more]
Israel was founded on hope. Hope was the theme of our recent presidential election. Hope and a belief in a brighter future sustain us all in our educational enterprises. This issue of HaYidion will help reinforce your optimism and your commitment to Israel, to our people and to our future as surely as spring follows winter...[ more]
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