The Sports Medicine and Athletic Training program at the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School (CESJDS) is designed to promote lifelong fitness and personal responsibility through education and hands-on experience.
HAYIDION The Prizmah Journal
This issue presents a wealth of guidance and examples for day schools to stay on top of their game. Articles discuss how schools ensure that athletics stay informed by a school's mission, by embodying Jewish values and embracing inclusivity; how they can use sports as a vehicle for teaching about and fostering love for Israel; how a wide range of sports can bring out the best in students and faculty; and how schools can more broadly employ movement and teach healthy living.
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Anyone who’s ever attended a Jewish summer camp knows all about color war. Traditionally, it’s the highlight of an intense summer filled with spirit, camaraderie and shared experiences.
But does this exemplar of “informal” education have a place in the Jewish day school environment?
Sports are an organic vehicle to reach North American Jewish youth where they are paying most attention and are most engaged. Growing up in North America, Jewish youth play, watch and talk sport, not to mention sport video games and sport collectibles. They even dress sports, wearing jerseys with professional players’ names on them, baseball caps and kippot with team logos, and T-shirts with sports brands like Adidas, Nike and Under Armour. Sport is where youth find their community. It is a language they understand fluently.
A day school teacher shared with us how troubled he was when he heard another teacher scold a boy on the playground, “Come on, stop throwing like a girl!” From hearing “girl” as a pejorative, it is easy for other boys to make the short leap to denigrating one another as “gay.” In conversations with other teachers and students, we see how this seemingly benign comment is damaging to all kids and adults. We see how sexism and homophobia make a particularly insidious combination in the context of sports and athletics.
Our vision of the role that competitive athletics can play in the lives of high school students is a deeply personal one.
"It was unbelievable--I was walking down the middle of Washington, DC, holding my horse."
Day school students participate in an enormous range of sports, competing at all levels. Emma Farber shares what she loves about horses and her life as a day school student and champion equestrian.
Jewish thought has always recognized the body as an integral aspect of human existence. It also has maintained ambivalence about the body’s significance.
The Brandeis School of San Francisco is proud of its athletics program and the contribution our student-athletes make in building a strong community. Athletics are an integral part of our educational program. Our athletics program is designed to help student-athletes develop the tools necessary for healthy competition, collaboration, teamwork, lifelong personal growth, and self-fulfillment. The Brandeis School of San Francisco Athletics Handbook
Keeping students mentally engaged in the classroom can be a challenging task. With so many distractions, even the most focused of students can become overwhelmed and consumed by their surroundings.
Sport has a role in tikkun olam. No less a visionary leader than Nelson Mandela once said, “Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sport can create hope where once there was only despair.”
When your school is planning an Israel trip, I highly recommend scheduling a time to go to a game, meet with some of the wonderful athletes, the fans, and the media. Or visit a training facility, pick up the newspaper, and have an expert in Israeli sports give your students a fun educational talk before going to a match. They will gain a greater appreciation for Israel and the fabric of this ever evolving nation.
Religious and secular children play soccer together. One might think this is obvious and natural. In reality, it is a far from ordinary sight in Israel, given an educational system that tracks religious and secular children into different schools.
Typically as educators we focus upon what we can teach our students, but occasionally it is our students who end up teaching us the biggest lessons of all. The Beren Stars shone bright that day in 2012 when we proudly declared that we would not play in the TAPPS basketball semifinal championship game that would fall on Shabbat.
At the end of a long workday, I dragged my heels up the staircase to the cafeteria of my children’s day school for the JV basketball team parent orientation. Expecting a review of schedule and logistics, I wasn’t totally present as Coach D began addressing the parents, although I tucked my phone away out of respect. To my surprise, Coach didn’t start with practice hours or attendance expectations. He started with character; basketball was just the medium.
When New Jersey realigned its athletic conference in the northern part of the state, The Golda Och Academy (GOA) athletic department saw a new opportunity for an independent school which had primarily been playing other private institutions throughout the state.