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Jim Joseph Foundation Fellows Educator Blog

Gilad Shalit-A Teachable Moment
October 25, 2011

For close followers of Israel, such people, concepts and events as Yonatan Netanyahu, the Law of Return, the Balfour Declaration—even Sbarro and Dolphinarium—are quite well known. For the majority of non Jews and even Jews, however, they are quite foreign.Today marks the one week... Read more...

In Praise of Rabbis and Cantors Who Are Willing To Think Out of the Box In Working With Children With Special Needs
October 22, 2011

When I started teaching Max, it was unclear if he’d even set foot in the synagogue on his bar mitzvah day. As his parents explain in this beautiful, moving video, Max loves “Blues Clues” and is motivated by French fries. Aliyah l’torah and d’var torah were not... Read more...

Summer Camps and Technology Go Hand in Hand
July 16, 2011

Once upon a time, Jewish summer camp was a place for beautiful Shabbat and Havdalah services, s’mores around a campfire, Shabbat-o-grams, and letters from home. Camps nowadays are all of this and more! You will be hard-pressed to find a summer camp without at least one climbing tower... Read more...

“The Wheels of the CoP Go Round and Round…”
May 28, 2011

Five days on a bike, riding with 40 riders through the Golan Heights and the Galilee to raise more than $200,000 for Camp Ramah special needs camping programs, gave me new perspective on my Ramah Special Needs Program Directors CoP (read “Nurturing an Online Community of Practice:... Read more...

Under One Roof
February 27, 2011

I have to admit to feeling a little envious of some friends during my college years. At Columbia University in New York City, for example, there were enough Jewish students on campus to support OJC, CJC and PJC (Orthodox Jews at Columbia, Conservative Jews at Columbia and Progressive Jews at... Read more...

Learning Torah Online, With Special Young Adults
February 11, 2011

Last night may have been my best night yet online! No, I did not watch a cool YouTube video or reconnect on Facebook with a friend from 2nd grade--i learned Torah with members of Camp Ramah in New England's Vocational Training Program. This group of young adults with a range of special needs meets... Read more...

Jewish Disability/ABILITY Awareness Month.
February 3, 2011

February is Jewish Disability Awareness Month. Google these words and you will be pleased to get 53,300 hits! Nearly every link encourages readers (and organization and synagogues) to do such admirable things as start an inclusion committee, offer programs and events on disability awareness, and... Read more...

Inspiring Jewish Educators
December 19, 2010

Why would a group of Jewish educators spend half a day with a leading Israeli venture capitalist firm? I would like to suggest that educators can learn a great deal from venture capitalists—especially if the firm is Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP), founded in 1993 by Erel Margalit. The... Read more...

On the Road to Breaking Functional Fixedness
December 6, 2010

I can’t get the image out of my head. I keep thinking of the Power Point slide of the metal shopping cart with wheels, turned on its side, over a fire pit. Only a mischief-maker would burn a shopping cart, right? Wrong. An innovative person who wanted to cook meat but didn’t have a... Read more...

A CoP Comes To Life
October 27, 2010

I was sitting in my living room at 9:30 pm Sunday night, staring at my computer screen, hoping and praying. And one by one, they appeared--Rose from Chicago, Elyssa from Denver, Beth from New Jersey, Adam and Casey from Toronto, Ralph from Chicago and me—in Manhattan. And Avi joined us for... Read more...

Including All Jews
October 24, 2010

In many ways, it was the perfect Jewish conference. And it had so much to do with the careful, thoughtful planning. Of course the location (mid-town Manhattan), the weather (a crisp clear autumn day), and the delicious kosher food contributed to the success of the day--but they were mainly... Read more...

A Lot Can Happen in 40 Years!
July 15, 2010

History buffs might be able to recall a few key events from the year 1970. For example, U.S. troops invaded Cambodia, four students were killed at Kent State, the Beatles broke up, both Jimmy Hendrix and Janis Joplin died, Monday Night Football debuted on ABC and a first class stamp was just 6... Read more...

From Camp To Kazakhstan to Central Park: The Strong Bond of Jewish Camping
June 7, 2010

As you can imagine, the days leading up to 9 weeks of camp (staff week plus eight weeks) are exciting and action packed. I am entering my 10th year as the director of the 40 year old Tikvah Program, which offers overnight camping opportunities for nearly 50 children and young adults with a wide... Read more...

March 27, 2010

My English speaking students always laugh when they learn that being told “DIE!” is not a harsh curse; rather, it is the Hebrew word for ‘enough.” Dayenu, which we will all sing during the Magid section of our upcoming sedarim, literally means “Enough for Us.” It... Read more...

Thinking About What We Eat At Passover
March 27, 2010

Yes, Pesach is the time to celebrate freedom and redemption. But it is also a time of eating, eating and more eating. We will surely be spending a lot of time around our holiday table, sharing meals with family and friends. We have sure evolved from the days when Pesach meant simply matza, potatoes... Read more...

100 Days of Butterflies
March 11, 2010

My camp, Camp Ramah in New England, has asked campers and staff to participate in the blog series, “Impact of Ramah-The 100 Day Countdown.” Members of the camp community are asked to share what they are “most excited about, most looking forward to, or most miss about camp that you... Read more...

Including Everyone
February 14, 2010

I was pleased to learn that the theme for a sophomore class Shabbaton at a Modern Orthodox High School is "Stand By Me--A Thought and Heart-Provoking Exploration of REALationships.” A very thoughtful, young woman shared her “take” on this topic. While she and five of her... Read more...

The Beauty of Collaboration: Welcome to Davar Acher!
February 7, 2010

I’m sitting on a 20 seat minibus with fourteen North American Jewish educators on an unseasonably warm December day.We are accompanied by three teachers and an amazing tour guide, and we are on the road from Mount Carmel in Israel to our base, the JimJosephEducationalBuilding at... Read more...