Tag Archives: Education Fellows

It’s a Trans-denominational, Multi-congregational, Inter-generational Havdalah Service

By Education Fellow Amanda Winer

The title of this post sounds like a Broadway song, doesn’t it?

It actually describes a recent program that we had the pleasure of organizing for two partner congregations in South Texas—Temple Beth El in Brownsville (unaffiliated) and Temple Emanuel in McAllen (Reform).

Second year Education Fellow Erin Kahal and I coordinated our spring visits to Brownsville and McAllen, respectively, and we put together this great Havdalah service on South Padre Island as a joint program for our communities. We thought it would be nice to share some pictures from the event.

The beautiful sea side setting for Havdalah

The beautiful seaside setting for our Havdalah service.

Notice the braided border on this invitation.  Very Havdalah-themed.

Notice the braided border on this invitation. Very Havdalah-themed.

Me and Erin at the beach.

Me and Erin at the beach.

We had participants of all ages.

We had participants of all ages.

The ceremony distinguishes between the holiness of Shabbat and the everyday nature of the new week.

The ceremony distinguishes between the holiness of Shabbat and the everyday nature of the new week.

Tessa Galloso, 13, headed up the snack committee.

Tessa Galloso (center), 13, headed up the snack committee.

Each student was responsible for one of the Havdalah sets.

Each student was responsible for one of the Havdalah sets.

Participants reading from a handout with appropriate songs and blessings.

Participants read from handouts with appropriate songs and blessings.

We had an amazing time bringing these two communities together!

We had an amazing time bringing these two communities together!

Thanks again to everyone who helped make this program possible!

Posted on April 24, 2013

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

Special Education: A Special Need in Jewish Education

By Education Fellow Elaine Barenblat

I have loved teaching since I was very young, but I did not get my first real experience teaching students with cognitive and physical disabilities until after high school, when I worked as a City Year corp member. From that moment on, there was no looking back. My college education and much of my work experience focused mostly around special education, and I consider it my specialty. So, when I decided to join the ISJL Education Department, I knew I would have fewer opportunities to use my formal training in special education, but I hoped to use my skills to educate other teachers, and to bring an eye for inclusion and modification to my lessons and programs.

Rachel, a student in the Kesher Bet class.

Rachel, a student in the Kesher Bet class, makes a modern day golden calf out of aluminum foil.

My recent trip to Houston’s Beth Yeshurun gave me the chance to use my formal training and to see how special education can work in the world of Jewish supplementary schools. This year, Beth Yeshurun is hosting a group called Kesher, organized and administered by The Jewish Federation of Greater Houston, that offers an inclusive Jewish education environment for students with a variety of special needs. They work with congregational religious schools so that children can learn with other Jewish students and have access to resources like playgrounds, computer labs, community rooms and group study opportunities. Ideally, students enrolled in the Kesher program spend as much time as possible with their same-age peers.

As an Education Fellow, I bring new and innovative programs to communities. Usually, I deliver all-school programs or work with large groups rather than individual classes, so that the lessons reach as many students as possible. My visit to Houston was no exception, and Sheryl Eskowitz, the Education Director at Beth Yeshurun, made a point to invite the Kesher students since she knew my background and passion lies with that demographic. I found my first experience with Jews in the special education field to be thrilling and eye-opening—it became more evident to me how much of a need there was for formal Jewish special education. The population is ready and waiting, now all we need are trained and willing teachers.

Kesher’s inclusion model—now embraced by a large and growing number of public schools—is certainly not a new one, but providing basic and meaningful Jewish education to those with disabilities is still sometimes seen as a radical movement. Very few day schools provide classes or resources for those with developmental differences, and most Sunday schools are not able to provide the resources and teachers needed for a part-time venture into such an involved undertaking. It is refreshing, then, to see a group of children, each of whom exhibits different learning abilities, work together as a Sunday school family for a few hours. While at first glance, we might see students with special needs benefiting most obviously from interactions with their same-age peers, we should remember that the Kesher students are not the only ones having a memorable learning experience.

Thanks again to Sheryl Eskowitz, Beth Yeshurun and the Kesher Sunday School classes for letting me participate in such a great program!

Posted on March 11, 2013

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

Delta Deli Day 2013!

This week, we have a special “Snapshots from the Southern Jewish Road” collection of pictures to share with you, from last week’s Deli Day at Hebrew Union Congregation in Greenville, MS, right in the heart of the Mississippi Delta.

HUC used to be the largest congregation in the state (you can read more about the history of the Greenville Jewish community here). Now, the membership numbers have diminished- but the spirit has not, and that’s never more evident than on the day that HUC invites the rest of Greenville to come to the congregation for a good old fashioned deli lunch, featuring, of course, corned beef sandwiches with all the “fixin’”s.

This tradition has lasted for 130 years – and this year, several of the ISJL Education Fellows went up to the Delta again to help serve the record 2,000 sandwiches sold at the 2013 deli luncheon. They shared these photographs. Enjoy, and Shabbat shalom, y’all!

Education Fellows Amanda, Reva, and Elaine pose with Richard Dattel

                              Education Fellows Amanda, Reva, and Elaine pose with Richard Dattel

Ben's eager to sample the goods; Erin and Dan have to remind him "not yet"!

                  Ben’s eager to sample the goods; Erin and Dan have to remind him “not yet”!

Who wouldn't want a Cake Raffle ticket??

                                                   Who wouldn’t want a Cake Raffle ticket??

 Prepping in the kitchen

                                      Prepping in the kitchen
Ready for a sandwich - or 2,000!

Ready for a sandwich – or 2,000!

If you want to learn even more about this community, and the Deli Day in particular, Vox Tablet did a great mini-podcast story on it two years ago – wherein the interviewees talk about the importance of preserving this tradition. What’s a tradition that your community is committed to preserving?

 

Posted on March 8, 2013

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

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