We're all trying to inspire our talmidim, teach skills and a working knowledge of Torah concepts. This nationally well-received conference is a groundbreaking forum for teachers to learn from each other's pedagogic, curricular and assessment ideas. Teachers from
Central, DRS, Frisch, Fuchs Mizrachi, HANC, Ida Crown, Kohelet, Kushner, KYHS (Boca), Ma’ayanot, Magen David, MTA, Naale, Ramaz, SAR, Shalhevet (LA), SKA, TABC, Ulpana, Yeshivah of Flatbush, and YULA Girls participated. See the great schedule of sessions we had below.
Click on any session name which is underlined to listen to a recording of the session. Materials for most of the sessions are available online.
Registration & Light Breakfast
Passion-Based Limudei Kodesh
This session will present the underlying principles of Project-Based Learning and suggest ways in which these principles can be integrated with text-based Limudei Kodesh with the goal of infusing students with more engagement in and passion for what they are learning. The session will use two sample Limudei Kodesh units--one Torah and one Nach--to demonstrate, discuss and explore how PBL can work with and enhance text-based, high-level learning.
Mrs. Leah Herzog, Tanach & Israel Guidance, Ma’ayanot
Philosophical Areas of Tanakh Study; the Philosophy of Language, Translation, and Memorization
How does spoken language work? Why is translation so difficult? How does the mind work differently in a first and second language? Is rote memorization still a factor in teaching? Why? If so, how should it be incorporated in a way that is thoughtful and creative? We will utilize examples from well-learned areas of Tanakh to demonstrate how deeper familiarity with these ideas can create a more compelling classroom.
Ms. Miriam Krupka, Dean of Faculty, Ramaz Upper School
Raising Questions We Can’t Fully Answer
Methodological questions about teaching Machshava to high school students. What’s our goal? What types of issues should be studied? The value of considering various viewpoints versus the danger of making things too complex. Balancing intellectual rigor and the promotion of Yiras Shamayim.
Rabbi Netanel Wiederblank, Tanakh, Gemara, Halakha, & Philosophy, RIETS
Author, "Illuminating Jewish Thought, Explorations of Free Will, the Afterlife, & the Messianic Era"
This session will share ideas for how to create an atmosphere of trust in the classroom that will enable students to feel more comfortable taking risks in the pursuit of skills acquisition. We will discuss a format for mastery learning and share different methods of assessments for encouraging a growth mindset.
Ms. Adina Borg-Blaustein, Dir. of Student Life & Tanach Faculty, Fuchs
Tech & Torah: Strategies for Integration
In this hands-on workshop, we will explore ways in which to meaningfully integrate educational technology into the Limudei Kodesh classroom. Examine and discuss model lessons from other teachers, & create your own materials with the support of colleagues & the session facilitator.
Mrs. Sara Wolkenfeld, Ida Crown Jewish Academy
Dir. of Education & Community Engagement, Sefaria
Using the Siddur as a Tool for Religious and Hashkafic Engagement
This session will discuss some broad approaches to better engaging students in tefilla, using the materials from Koren’s Educational Siddurim, specifically the Siddur Ani Tefilla. We will share some practices from the field, using the Ani Tefilla Siddur as a resource, that are making a difference in reaching both “engaged” & “unengaged” daveners in school. Rabbi Goldmintz will share the underlying philosophy & approach to tefillah education that is reflected in the siddur and how those can be used and replicated by teachers on their own.
Rabbi Jay Goldmintz, Maayanot HS for Girls, Author, Ani Tefilla Siddur
Rabbi Yossi Pollak, Dir. of North American School Outreach, Koren Publishers Jerusalem
Designing Solutions to Common Challenges
Work with a talented group of peers to collaboratively break down challenges,
brainstorm solutions & share resources. Topics will be chosen based on participant interest and may include:
Time & Structures for Learning
Values and Meaning Making
Leading Tanach Departments
Teaching Our Values through Tanach: Using UbD to Design Tanach Curriculum
Use the model of sample UbD designed units on Sefer Bereishit to explore
broader questions about how we design, structure and implement curricula in our Tanach classrooms.
Rabbi Rick Schindelheim, Fuchs Mizrachi
We perhaps mistakenly assume that our students have bought into to the basic tenets of Orthodox Judaism. This session will offer reasoned responses to the ontological struggles students face through a variety of approaches. These struggles include philosophical and moral struggles and the humanistic and moral questions (such as the command to destroy Amalek).
Rabbi Chaim Jachter, Chair, Tanach Dept, TABC;
Author, Reason to Believe: Rational Explanations of Orthodox Jewish Faith
Integrating Judaic Studies Across the Curriculum: Teaching Chet HaEgel as Part of a Spiraled Curriculum
We'll explore how structured curricula can reinforce student learning across Talmud, Tanakh, and Jewish Philosophy. Through an exploration of the Chet HaEgel narrative, we'll highlight how shared goals, themes, and content can be spiraled across the curriculum in order to create transformative learning experiences.
Rabbi David Stein, Dir. of Gemara Education, Shalhevet; Co-Founder, LaHaV
Deus ex Machina: Using Tech to Create Lifelong Tanakh Learners
In the age of Google, how do we impart an understanding that Learning in & of itself has value? We will explore the idea of neurological network associations & priming, in which a deep understanding of the Yediot of Tanakh necessitates a properly ingrained relationship to the meanings & concepts of the words of the texts themselves. We will explore tools that allow easy access to breaking down the texts of the Tanakh, so that Torah learning becomes more personally & intellectually meaningful.
Moshe Azizollahoff, Dir. of Educational Strategy, The Mercava
Is Parshanut a Text, Ideas or a Way of Thinking?
In this session we will examine our goals in introducing & teaching parshanut in Tanach classes and explore implications for curricular choices, pedagogy & assessment. Participants begin developing criteria for determining which mefarshim to include and exclude for themselves or their departments.
Rabbi Yehuda Chanales, Dir. of Curriculum & Instruction, Fuchs
Ms. Adina Borg-Blaustein, Dir. of Student Life and Tanach Faculty, Fuchs Mizrachi Upper School
Do you ever feel like your students are receiving two unrelated educations, one Jewish and another secular? Why do students describe interdisciplinary education as "transformative?" Join us as we explore practical ways to build bridges both within and beyond the Judaic Studies curriculum.
Rabbi Tzvi Sinensky, Rosh Beit Midrash, Kohelet
How can we ensure that students leave school & enter the world passionate about Judaism? The KIVUN Program, a Jewish philosophy curriculum for high schools, provides students with a profound understanding of Judaism in a systematic way via a guided discovery of sources, workshops & discussions that enable them to create a deep connection to Hashem & Torah
Rebbetzin Leah Kohn
8:45am Registration & Light Breakfast
Our panel will be asked questions such as; How do you build a culture of religious growth in a classroom and school? What different components of the classroom experience facilitate or detract from this culture? What is the relationship between academic goals and success and students' religious growth and identity?
Rabbi Eli Ciner, HOS, Frisch
Rabbi Yisroel Kaminetsky, Rosh Yeshiva, HALB
Rivka Kahan, HOS, Ma'ayanot
Racheli Luftglass, JS Principal, YULA
Rabbi Asher Yablok, HOS, TABC
Moderator- Rabbi Dovid Bashevkin, Director of Education, International NCSY
Curriculum, Pedagogy & Goals in Teaching Gemara
Through a series of activities, collaborative discussions & modeled classroom experiences, we will explore how the curricular & pedagogic choices we make when teaching Gemara expose underlying assumptions about the goal of Gemara education. We will consider our own goals & its implications on how we design learning experiences for our students.
Rabbi Yehuda Chanales, Director of Curriculum & Instruction, Fuchs Mizrachi
Rabbi David Stein, Director of Gemara Education , Shalhevet; Co-Founder LaHaV
Mrs. Sara Wolkenfeld, Ida Crown Director of Education & Community Engagement, Sefaria
Using Jewish History to Discuss Core Identity Issues
Explore how Jewish History can be used as a foundation for discussing & understanding critical issues facing students in our world today such as: How should we respond to & prevent antisemitism? How do we ensure Jewish continuity in the face of assimilation? How much/little should a Jew embrace the values expressed in a surrounding society? Sample class activities & assessments will be shared.
Rabbi Rick Schindelheim, Fuchs Mizrachi
Utilizing a variety of apps from the Google Suite, attendees will locate historically significant locations. This hands-on workshop will provide attendees with skills to utilize Google Earth, Google Maps, & Tour Builder to create projects to augment Jewish History curriculum and provide formative assessment. All attendees must have mobile devices & gmail accounts.
Mrs. Naomi Fredman- Director of Educational Technology, HANC
Pair It Up! A Havruta Workshop
This workshop will explore the various components and skills necessary for students to learn successfully in a Havruta setting.
Rabbi Michael Bitton, Director of Educational Technology, Magen David
ReAssessing Gemara Assessment
Based morning discussions around goals, participants will work together to share & design assessment methods & questions that align with intended goals & provide teacher and students with feedback on their progress. Broader systems including portfolios, reading quizzes & projects will be discussed.
Rabbi Josh Grajower, KYHS (Boca)
Encouraging Personal Religious Growth
The session with discuss ways of infusing the Judaic Studies learning as well as the school culture in general with opportunities for students to grow spiritually. This will include ideas for framing lessons, effective positive reinforcement.
Rabbi Yaakov Mintz, Kushner
A discussion about the best approach towards educating about Israel that leaves our students informed but not indoctrinated. Feedback from graduates indicates that when we present a one-sided approach to this topic backfires when they encounter different viewpoints in college & the workplace. Jewish History teachers will share their approaches, challenges, and innovations.
Mrs. Henny Bochner, Kushner
PBL Your Jewish History Curriculum: Studying Ancient Jewish History Using Tanach and Archaeology--Does the Truth really Matter?
This session will explore applications of the PBL model through an introductory Jewish history unit designed to foster research skills, collaborative learning, primary and secondary source analysis, especially when sacred & secular perspectives seem to conflict. Other Jewish history PBLs will be shared as well.
Mrs. Alissa Zeffren, Tanach & Jewish History Faculty, Assistant Director of Student Activities, Ida Crown
Hyperdocs in the Gemara Classroom
HyperDocs are making room for more interactive, personalized, & student-directed learning. Learn how to implement this popular mode of education in a Gemara classroom, & how to maximize Google Docs to create engaging worksheets and materials. This session will be a hands-on presentation. To maximize their learning experience, it is suggested that participants bring a laptop.
Rabbi Natan Farber, Director of Student Life, DRS
Beyond the Daf: Big Topics in the Talmud Classroom
In this session we will explore topics that belong in the Gemara classroom but don't necessarily come up on their own.
Rabbi Kenny Schiowitz, Talmud Chair, Ramaz
History or Memory?
Various strategies for helping students relate to historical events will be discussed as we review lessons in a survey course of Jewish history. Why is this study relevant to my own life and experience? How do we connect the study of Jewish history to our own identities & the choices we make in our lives?
Mrs. Lisa Micley, Program Director, Online Judaic Studies Consortium
Students are bombarded by technology in every aspect of their lives, incl. models of learning that attempt to integrate. This session will present a variety of tools to challenge and address each student's needs vis a vis meaningful individualized learning, while presenting opportunities for true in-depth chavruta. We will develop meaningful ideas of assessing skill.
Moshe Azizollahoff, Director of Educational Strategy, The Mercava
Discuss challenges in teaching Gemara to weaker students. Begins with a quick background on learning styles and learning disabilities. How to present of learning Gemara via flowchart and skeleton notes & highlighting.
Rabbi Shimon Shenker, Assoc. Principal, MTA
Exploring Fantastic Aggadot in Shas: Literal or Literary Interpretation?
This session will present a pedagogic approach that entails a symbolic, literary interpretation of a fantastic Talmudic tale that describes a Beit Midrash haunted by a dangerous, demonic presence & its defeat at the hands of a guest scholar. The session will explore the text, subtext and context of the episode in order to make sense of its imbeded meaning & message to Talmud learners by examining its narrative form, dialogue and allusions to other Talmudic & Biblical passages.
Rabbi Shlomo Stochel, Head of Ramaz Upper School
Teaching Sensitive Topics that Trigger Specific Psychological Vulnerabilities
Framing an understanding of how particularly charged content (eg. sugyot on rape, suicide, divorce) impacts on vulnerable students (ie. topics relating to loss, violence, illness), & sharing an approach to managing that content effectively & sensitively.
Dr. Gerald Zeitchik, Director of Guidance, Ramaz
The Integrated Jewish and General History Course
This session will explore a curriculum that integrates Jewish History into the larger context of World History. Different methodologies will be presented for comparing causal relationships & influences of Jewish & World History on each other, comparing values of Jews and Judaism with values of different World Civilizations, Empires and Nations & addressing issues common to both Jewish and World History.
Mrs. Rhonda Liebowitz, Frisch