Sunday, March 29, 2020

Divrei Torah

Grading Like God

In some ways it seems that we, as educators, ignore that the school year begins in Elul. We spend much time learning about the texture of the month and preparing for the Yomim Noraim, but we miss out on the educational model that Elul and the High Holidays present to us as teachers.

Elul is characterized by its focus on Teshuva. In thinking

There Are Children Starving For Your Job

Now that our yeshivot and day schools are back in session, it might be a good opportunity to take a look at the current K-12 school curriculum. I recently wrote a piece entitled, “Tiding the STEM.” I was also interviewed in the Baltimore Jewish Times on the topic. As parents and educators prepare for the upcoming school year, it might be an

Day Schools Deliver Jewish Literacy

A great many articles about day schools, including recent pieces by Gil Graff (“Of Blintzes and Jewish Education“) and Rabbi Josh Cahan (“Is day school worth it? How do you judge?“), take as their starting point the assumption that the main argument in favor of day school—the main reason why parents should send their children there—is its impact on Jewish

Motherhood in the “Lean In” Era

(This article appeared in Lilith magazine––independent, Jewish & frankly feminist––summer 2013. Visit www.Lilith.org for more information and to subscribe. Reprinted with permission.)


Great expense, great expectations

When Ronit Sherwin moved to Delaware in 2011 to become executive director of the University of

Walls Have Ears

We all have our secret lives.

I don’t mean to say that each of us has a sinister side, which we wickedly act out in some deep, dark, private world. What I do mean is that we all act differently when we are alone, or with a few close intimates, than we act when we are out in public, among others.

There is no one who is so behaviorally consistent that

What Threatens The Torah World And The Rabbinate?

In Israel, it is not the IDF “draft decree,” nor the “equality of burden” proposal, nor even budget cuts or the elections for the Chief Rabbinate that threaten the Torah world or the rabbinate in any way. If the elite members of the haredi yeshivot will serve the public in some way, their Torah world will only grow and deepen. This will be especially

You Shall Not Steal WHAT?

“You shall not steal,” the eighth commandment cautions us in the biblical Book of Exodus (20:13). And so, implemented in most civilized societies, most people won’t walk out of department stores with expensive trinkets they inadvertently slipped into their pocket and for which they “forgot” to pay. But the funny thing is, many of us will pluck a few

KI Tavo: Showing Appreciation

The recitation that accompanies the bringing of the first fruits (Bikkurim) in the times of the Temple, from the seven species of the Land of Israel to Jerusalem is an act of joy and appreciation for the bounty provided by Hashem.  The next sentence following the recitation states, “And you shall rejoice in all the good granted to you by Hashem your God” (Devarim,

The Never-Ending Process of Teshuva

This excerpt was taken from Return: Daily Inspiration for the Days of Awe by Erica Brown. It was reprinted with permission from Maggid Books, a division of Koren Publishers Jerusalem. Return is available at all Jewish bookstores and online. See www.korepub.com for more info.

Rabbi Jonah of Gerona (d. 1263) called

“Anarchy or Utopia?”

Who would you consult if you wanted to know a thing or two about the perfect society? Would you ask a politician? A professor of government?A philosopher, expert in theories of utopia?Or perhaps a historian familiar with successful societies across the ages?

Would it even occur to you to ask an entomologist, a scientist who studies insect life? But it is

Rationality, Not Rationale

The most frustrating conversations are with those with whom we have deep fundamental disagreements. If conducted in the right spirit, without personal animus and with sincere dedication to the pursuit of truth, they can be very rewarding. When we surround ourselves only with those who see things exactly as we do, we limit our growth. When we surround ourselves only

Discipline and Suffering

As a parent, grandparent, and psychologist, I am often considered to be something of an expert on parenting and child-rearing. In that capacity, I have frequently been asked to review or give an opinion about any of the plethora of books on the subject of raising one’s children.

Like in any genre, there are better books and worse books in this