Monday, September 9, 2013

Teachers: Save the First-Day Freshness

Happy first!

There's something special about the first day of school, for students and for teachers, that's hard to replicate at any other time in the school year. Sure, it's a little hectic and a tad stressful, but that's all overshadowed by the wonderful freshness of the day. We're excited to see the kids and to have them enjoy the rooms we worked so hard on, and we're eager to throw ourselves into reaching our curricular and personal goals.

That newness is what's going to keep the effortless smiles on our faces today and afterward, and it's what will help get us up and off to work each morning (resting up over the summer doesn't hurt, either). Unfortunately, though, the newness doesn't always last. That's when the stress of teaching and work can start to weigh us down. We have less energy and we become less effective teachers.  We can become more irritable and more cynical.

So take a moment today to get a mental snapshot of your First-Day self. Take it with you through the year and check yourself against it. Are you finding ways to keep things fresh, or are you getting stale and stressed? And remember to take advantage of your colleagues, supervisors, and support staff, who are always here to support each other.

JewBrain Tinier

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A Conversation With Rabbi Arele Harel

An Orthodox rabbi explains why he is pairing gay men with lesbian women

Time magazine yesterday posted an article and video about Rabbi Harel, an Israeli rabbi with a novel approach to addressing the dilemma faced by Orthodox homosexual men and women. In March, JewPsy wrote about Rabbi Harel's work in an extensive piece discussing the possible merits of his approach for gay Orthodox Jews who are committed to their communities and halacha, Jewish law ("A New Proposal: Gay Marriage, Orthodox Style"). Harel plans to unveil his online match-making service for Orthodox gay people this September. "This is the best solution we can offer people who want to live within the halacha," Harel says. "This may not be a perfect solution, but it's kind of a solution."

Read the full TimeWorld story here.

JewBrain Tinier

Friday, July 22, 2011

Summer Camp 2.0

Reflections on Jewish camping in the age of social media

When I was growing up, going to camp meant putting my regular world in exile while I continued with life somewhere far away. There were no phone calls and if you wrote a letter you had to wait at least a week for a response. There was no email delivery and, even if cell phones were around, no kids were hiding them in their camp trunks. Children had a break from their parents and parents from their children.

My, how the bunkhouse walls have fallen. Like every other area of our lives, the urge and means to stay connected have won out over quainter notions of going away to camp, and camps have been forced to adapt to parents' increasing expectations for access and information. It began several years ago with camps adding features to their websites to extend their functionality beyond registration and packing lists and into the summertime. Families could now see blog posts about their child's division, find out about upcoming events, and see photos from the past week, or day, of camp. The YouTube age only raised the bar for online "content" that camps were expected to offer their eager audiences. Color wars, shiriahs, camp shows and all sorts of other events were thrown up on the web for parents to consume in near-real time.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Arrest of IMF Head Not So Good for the Jews

"Money, women, and the fact that I am Jewish": three barriers that Dominique Strauss-Kahn mused in a recent interview with the French daily Liberation would stand in his way despite his being the expected favorite for his country's upcoming presidential elections. Turns out one was all it took.

It's unclear whether Strauss-Kahn's Judaism, about which he was outspoken, would have played a role in an election. Some French politicians describe the prospect of a Jewish President as "normal," yet a member of Sarkozy's political party seemed to allude to the IMF leader's Jewish roots when he recently remarked on French radio that the IMF leader “doesn’t embody the image of France, the image of rural France that we like, and to which I’m attached."

What is clear, however, is that Strauss-Kahn is not so good for the Jews.

Full article from the Jerusalem Post here

JewBrain Tinier

180 Sephardi Girls Shut Out From School

Old biases die hard; we Jews know that. But for Sephardi Jews in Israel's "ultra-Orthodox" Haredi community, discrimination and exclusion--by their fellow Jews--serve as regular reminders.

Ynet reports that 180 Sephardi students (students from Middle-Eastern descent) from Jerusalem have no spot in the city's Haredi school system for the 2011-2012 school year after the close of registration. This in addition to the handful of girls who are still without spots from the beginning of this year, and some from 2009. Critics accuse the schools of maintaining an unspoken quota of, at most, 30% Sephardi girls, and accuse the Jerusalem municipality of "washing its hands of the situation year after year, ...deny[ing] the existence of quotas" while doing all it can to support them.

Read the full story here
JewBrain Tinier
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