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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Connection and Shock: Expanding Students’ Jewish Horizons Through International School Partnerships

by Rabbi Mordechai Soskil Feb 07, 2019 Beth Tfiloh Dahan, Baltimore

All teachers desire to stretch their students’ thinking so they can imagine a world bigger than the one they occupy each day—so they can see the next horizon. The golden ring of teaching is the realization of those moments when you know you’ve changed your students, when you’ve created ripples in the ponds of their minds. Through the partnership Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community High School has with the Scheiber Szandor Gymnazium (SSG) in Budapest, Hungary, through SOS International, we have been blessed with just those types of experiences.

Teaching Masculinity in an Age of #MeToo

by Yaron Schwartz, Joshua Ladon Feb 07, 2019 Shalom Hartman Institute

If we were to take masculinity to a doctor, she would likely diagnose it in need of significant social-emotional support. When we look at how men act publicly, be it politicians, soldiers, actors or athletes, we consistently see an aggressive masculinity, indifferent towards emotion, unempathetic, concerned with expressing their dominance over women and other men. This masculinity needs healing. It exhibits symptoms of great distress and pain.

Engineering STEM Education for Girls

by Orly Nadler Feb 07, 2019 CIJE
RELATED TOPICS: CommunityTechnologyPedagogy

As the director of technology at a premier Modern Orthodox high school for girls, I regularly interfaced with high school girls whose confidence in their use of technology was low. For a few years, we offered Visual Basic, Java, then Python, but no matter which computer programming language we offered, the interest was minimal. One day, a student shoved her laptop towards me in resignation, lamenting that she was simply “not good at this technology stuff.” Her frustration was palpable. At that moment, I determined to find a way to tackle this debilitating mindset towards technology.

Creating a More Welcoming and Inclusive Space for LGBTQ Youth

by Jordan Herskowitz Feb 07, 2019 Golda Och Academy, West Orange, NJ

At Golda Och Academy, we have made strides over the last 10 years to make our school community a more welcoming, safe and inclusive environment. Yet while students and faculty felt that they were open to all, regardless of sexual orientation, we had no students or faculty who were comfortable being out at school.

Statement on Homosexuality in Jewish Schools

by Britain’s Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis Feb 07, 2019

In this important declaration, Rabbi Mirvis lends his stature within the Jewish world to support the inclusion of LGBTQ+ students in Jewish schools and outline the religious foundations for such an approach. His statement offers guidance to school leaders in both the ways that they approach this population of students and how they choose to frame their approach in policies and communications, within and beyond the school walls.

Our Children as Leaders

by Daniella Pressner Feb 07, 2019 Akiva School, Nashville
RELATED TOPICS: CommunityAdvocacy

On September 20, 2017, Hurricane Maria hit the island of Puerto Rico, causing mass destruction and devastation to the island and its people. Almost all communication was cut off; electricity, running water and other amenities were not recovered for months. We know that there are areas of Puerto Rico even today that have not recovered, and some that may never be rebuilt. People did not have access to working hospitals, to clean water, to dialysis and oxygen machines. Federal aid was lagging.

Community Projects: Teaching Students to Use Their Power for Good

by Jennifer Coxe Feb 07, 2019 The Solomon Schechter Day School of Bergen County, New Milford, New Jersey
RELATED TOPICS: AdvocacyCommunity

Commemorating the 20th anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda set off a chain reaction in our school that systemically changed the way we inspire and empower our students to use their Jewish values and text study to become changemakers in the world.

Student Walkout for Action

by Evan Horwitz, Niomi Markel, Elizabeth Mehr, Jonah Flamm Feb 07, 2019 Portland Jewish Academy, Oregon
RELATED TOPICS: CommunityAdvocacy

Like many students around the country, we felt moved to action after the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School. Students just like us had been killed. A school just like ours had been turned into a battleground. As seventh graders at Portland Jewish Academy, we had been raised with the belief that we were being listened to, that our voices mattered. It was because of that sense of empowerment that we began to plan a school walkout to protest the lack of gun laws in this country that allowed for the shooting to happen.

Shining Light in Response to Gun Violence

by Dr. Susan London Feb 07, 2019 Hebrew Academy, Miami Beach

It is difficult to imagine that the school shooting that took place in 1999 at Columbine High School, an event that seemed completely foreign and like something written out of a horror movie, has become almost commonplace today. We've seen shootings in schools, workplaces, malls, concerts, movie theaters and now in our most sacred of spaces: churches and synagogues.

In the Issue: In These Times

by Elliott Rabin, Editor, HaYidion Feb 08, 2019 Prizmah

May you live in interesting times. —apocryphal Chinese curse

In these times, this famous curse seems to be visited upon us. No matter where we live, the people we befriend or the shul we daven in (or not), we cannot help but be touched by the currents that have been running through our social and political worlds. The turbulence has swept over not only the United States but countries around the world as well. No one is an island, and no country or community is immune.