HAYIDION The Prizmah Journal

In These Times

In These Times

This issue shows how Jewish day schools help students engage with serious social issues in ways that cast more light than heat. Whether the issues concern race or feminism, gun violence or identity, day schools of all kinds foster conversations and create programs that build understanding and give voice to opposing, often passionately held positions, while finding paths to achieve communal unity amidst divisiveness. They do so by adhering to the school's mission and to those values that unite us.

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Kinder, Gentler Discourse

by Sharon Freundel Feb 07, 2019 Jewish Education Innovation Challenge

Years ago, I heard two fifth graders speaking to each other, clearly parroting their parents’ views of the Israeli-Palestinian situation. One said in a dispassionate voice, “Don’t you know what the Palestinians are doing to the Israelis?” and the other responded, equally emotionless, “Don’t you know what the Israelis are doing to the Palestinians?” Their conversation unfolded into a reasoned discussion. Would such a civil conversation be possible in today’s zeitgeist?

Keep Power and Influence in Check and Hearsay at Bay in the Boardroom

by Kathy Cohen, Nanette Fridman Feb 07, 2019

The most common abuse of power and influence on school boards is insidious because it is difficult to see and also likely happening right under your school board’s nose. You have likely seen it a thousand times, and although it may have irritated you, you would be in the minority if you saw it as pernicious. It often happens at a board or committee meeting, taking the board chair and head of school by surprise. The meeting agenda is derailed, along with productive and constructive conversation. The culprit usually sounds like some version of this: “I have heard many people say…”

Balancing the Seesaw: Striving for Accessibility and Financial Sustainability Within Our Day Schools

by Jennifer Groen Feb 07, 2019 Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy, Bryn Mawr, PA
RELATED TOPICS: FinancesCommunity

When I was young, I loved playing outside on the seesaw. I’d scan the playground, searching for someone who might match my size so that we could get into a rhythm of play. As one of us went up, the other went down. My favorite thing was to try to balance the ends into a straight line. My partner and I would lock eyes, giggling as we tried to hold steady.

Taking Different Routes

by Allison Corvo Feb 07, 2019 Hannah Senesh Community Day School, Brooklyn
RELATED TOPICS: TeachersInclusivity

For many teachers, claims of fairness, particularly in middle grades, can be frustrating and challenging to manage. The phrase “That’s not fair!” haunted me when I first entered the classroom: How do I help students understand and navigate the emotions of their perceived injustices? For many teachers, claims of fairness, particularly in middle grades, can be frustrating and challenging to manage.

Look Who’s Talking: Teaching Power and Responsibility Through Classroom Interactions

by Allison Cook and Dr. Orit Kent Feb 07, 2019 Pedagogy of Partnership
RELATED TOPICS: TeachersPedagogy

"This school is not a democracy." How many of us have heard that line from a teacher or school administrator during our time as a student? Whether they use an authoritative, tongue-in-cheek or exasperated tone, adults in school find themselves driven to assert their authority from time to time by disabusing students of the notion that “majority rules” in school.

Advice for Managing Challenging Classroom Conversations

by Dr. Sarah Levy Feb 07, 2019 Denver Jewish Day School
RELATED TOPICS: TeachersPedagogyPluralism

Teachers and administrators at Jewish day schools want their students to be ethical and moral people who care about the world around them. They want them to be thoughtful, think deeply and take action. They want them to be motivated by their learning to make a difference. When cultivating these attributes, however, difficult conversations in the classroom are inevitable, and these difficult conversations can be challenging to manage and facilitate.

Power and Ethics and the Textpeople of Jewish Education

by Dr. Daniel Rose Feb 07, 2019

Yuval Noah Harari and other futurists have predicted that, in the not too distant future, a majority of professions will disappear as their human workforce becomes superfluous, replaced by algorithms and Artificial Intelligence. Teachers are included in the list of those to disappear. I am here to tell you why I don’t think he is right—at least not about the teachers.

Teaching About Race in a Jewish Day School

by Dr. Eytan Apter Feb 07, 2019 Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School, Rockville, MD
RELATED TOPICS: CommunityPedagogyTeachers

In today’s world, teachers have to teach about race and racism in our country, delving into the complexities of race relations throughout American history, the progress that has been made, and the areas in which growth and change need to occur. As a classroom teacher in a Jewish day school, I have embraced the challenges that come with teaching about race in a predominantly homogeneous class. Prior to teaching any unit centered on race, I consider several key questions.

Creating Support Structures for Jewish Diversity

by Roni Ben-David, Lauren Cook, Yael Krieger Feb 07, 2019 Jewish Community High School of the Bay, San Francisco

Jewish schools, as identity-based schools, and their leadership, can fall into the trap of assuming students share experiences based on a shared Jewish identity. This blind spot can compromise a climate of inclusion and interfere with student learning. Too much focus on unity can come at the expense of recognizing difference and acknowledging diversity within the community.

The World Outside the Classroom

by Dr. Ilana Blumberg Feb 07, 2019 Bar Ilan University
RELATED TOPICS: CommunityTeachers

From Open Your Hand: Teaching as a Jew, Teaching as an American, 53-57. Copyright ©2019 by Ilana Blumberg. Reprinted by permission of Rutgers University Press.