Wednesday, December 30, 2015

New Year's Resolutions

I am not big on New Year's resolutions but it is hard not to think about them at this time of year.  I take stock at the Jewish New year on Rosh Hashanah but New Year's resolutions seem to fit into lists at least in my head.  I would also love to influence other people as they make their New Year's resolution for 2016.  Here are a few:

Continue to spend more time with family.  Last year my family was on a great trip to Cuba.  We had planned the trip long before the United States decided to open up relations. It was a wonderful trip and because in Cuba there is no easy or plentiful access to the internet no one on the trip was on their phones, computer or any other devices.  We talked and didn't worry about people trying to contact us.  We just had fun. This is the best way to spend time with family.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

What happens in Vegas at ICamp should NOT stay in Vegas

Welcome to ICamp

I have been home a week from this year's Icamp sponsored by the ICenter and with the celebration of Chanukah I have not had time to collect my thoughts until now.  250 educators, including supplementary Educators, Organizational representatives,
Shilichim,(Israeli ambassadors to different communities), the dedicated staff of the ICenter and more converged upon Henderson, Nevada to come together to learn about Israel Education.  As my mother commented when I returned "It is not as easy as it once was to teach Israel and I'm no Jewish educator".  It certainly has become a much more complicated endeavor to teach Israel and to find the right place in your curriculum for this corner stone of Jewish education. Visiting Israel for the first time in 1972 on a family trip and studying in Israel in 1979 for a year means my Israel is the one of Chalutzim, (pioneers) Israel as the underdog; a picture that was easier to read. The Israel picture today is more cloudy and harder to identify the heroes and the villains.

The Aleph Bet of Israel Education
Our Icamp meetings for 3 days and 3 nights, gave us the tools and time to discuss more complex issues and to be introduced to the 2nd Aleph Bet of Teaching Israel.  This is not what you may imagine, such as concrete lesson plans on geography or Israeli politics.  The Aleph Bet of teaching Israel teaches us that you must start with the learner.  Certainly at Lakeside we teach Am Yisrael, (the people) Eretz Yisrael,(the Land) and Medinat Yisrael, (the state of Israel).  However we also add our own Israel stories, teach modern Hebrew in our school so that our students can create their own relationship with Israel.

The Aleph Bet of Israel has made me realize that I am heading in the right direction.  It provides me with the pillars of my curriculum.  After Icamp I understand that I must talk about Israel even more in the future with my parents.  I came to the conclusion that as with all my curriculum my parents are my partners.  If your parent partners are not invested in the continuation of teaching at home what you teach at school your students will not have the full benefit of the curriculum.  I can not hope to teach a full curriculum in only 2-4 hours a week; I need the reinforcement at home of all our curriculum topics.  I hope that I will be available to continue to provide the Aleph Bet of Israel education to my students and that they add their Israel story to the ongoing dialogue.