Today we begin a new series of occasional posts featuring essential resources from current or past Mandel Center projects.
What are the Talmudic sugyot (topics or discussions) that every educated Jew ought to know, the most famous or significant Talmudic discussions? This document, compiled as part of the Bridging Scholarship and Pedagogy in Jewish Studies project, presents a list of 60+ sugyot nominated by a diverse group of instructors of rabbinic literature in various settings. The criteria clearly range widely, with the result that the nominees include both aggadic and halakhic sugyot, and sugyot chosen for their theological and ideological significance, their contemporary practical significance, or their centrality in discussions among commentators.
The resulting list is quite obviously the product of a committee, via a process of addition without subtraction or prioritization. It is hard to imagine that anyone would actually believe that these 67 sugyot are “what a Jew should know.” Nevertheless, with all of those caveats, the
list represents an interesting set – and there has been abundant interest in the results.
Download: What sugyot should an educated Jew know? [PDF]
At the Mandel Center’s recent Teacher Forum, Kathy Schultz presented us with new ideas and practical advice about the role and meaning of silent students and silent classrooms. In this video we share highlights from her presentation. We also share clips Kathy presented from two different classroom settings. They show how two different students use their silence to participate and demonstrate their teachers’ strategies for supporting that participation.
Teachers who think that silent students are not participating in class should reconsider, according to Kathy Schultz, who spoke recently to an audience of about 100 local educators at the Mandel Center’s fifth annual Teacher Forum. There are many ways to think about student silence in classrooms, but all should include an understanding that silence is a form of participation, said Schultz, dean of the school of education at Mills College and author of Rethinking Student Participation: Listening to Silent Voices.
Instead of rewarding speech and penalizing silence, Schultz urged teachers to think in a more nuanced way about how students participate in class. Continue Reading »
Today we hear from Josh Miller, Steven Green, Leah Nadich Meir and Joel Einleger about Nadiv, a collaboration between the Jim Joseph and AVI CHAI foundations. Nadiv is a pilot program to create six senior experiential educator positions to be shared by overnight camps and Jewish day/synagogue schools.
Collaboration and partnership have become the buzzwords of our time. The business world as well as the nonprofit sector heralds the advantages of collaboration: sharing resources, bringing multiple perspectives to address difficult issues, eliminating duplication, learning from one another and pooling assets.
The Jim Joseph and AVI CHAI Foundations, as funders interacting with multiple organizations across sectors, have a bird’s-eye view of what can result when organizations function from within their own separate silos: duplicate efforts on the one hand and unaddressed needs on the other. This led us to ask: can we, as funders, use our resources and influence to catalyze collaboration? And taking that one step further: can we, as funders, collaborate to more effectively advance our common goals? Continue Reading »
This blog post, by Mandel Center researchers Allison Cook and Orit Kent, is based on an article recently published in HaYidion: The RAVSAK Journal. The full article is available here.
Through the Mandel Center’s Beit Midrash Research Project, we have been visiting early childhood to high school classes for years. We have seen that Tanakh learning tends to fall into two major types of student activity: language and/or translation exercises, and personalization. Language exercises range from picking out patterns of suffixes and roots in the original text to doing full written translations of Tanakh passages. In personalization exercises, students explore pre-determined themes in the text and apply them to their own lives, such as discussing their relationships with siblings when studying the Jacob and Esau narrative, or answering the question “what would I do in this situation?”
There are many good reasons why teachers use translation and personalization in Tanakh study, but when they are the main or only approaches they can limit the extent to which students can meaningfully engage with the text. Continue Reading »