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  • Calling all students in Israel

    NEW YORK, Nov. 15 (JTA) — Flipping through the photos of college students posing on retreats in Israel and California, Paul Flexner is like a father boasting about his children. “She’s at JTS now,” he says, referring to the Conservative movement’s Jewish Theological Seminary. “This one was teaching at a day school last I heard,…

  • Poll finding Jews less religious than others elicits mixed reaction

    NEW YORK, Oct. 12 (JTA) — A recent Gallup Poll finding that Jews are half as likely as other Americans to say that religion is “very important in their daily lives” is eliciting mixed reaction in the Jewish world. Jewish demographers note that polling techniques and a tendency of Jews to define religion differently than…

  • RETHINKING HEBREW SCHOOL [Part 2] Synagogues devise new curricula to make Jewish learning more fun

    NEW YORK, Sept. 30 (JTA) — On any given school day at the Society for the Advancement of Judaism on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, students are scattered all over the building. They are in the stairway, painting Expressionist-influenced murals on biblical themes. They are in the classroom, building temples out of blocks, reading along with…

  • RETHINKING HEBREW SCHOOL [Part 4] Teacher training programs find ways to educate the educators

    NEW YORK, Sept. 30 (JTA) — Last January, midway through his first year of teaching Sunday school, Dennis Niekro was tempted to quit. A convert to Judaism, the 30-year-old Niekro had initially agreed to take the part-time job teaching fifth grade at his Columbus, Ohio, temple because he thought it would be another way to…

  • RETHINKING HEBREW SCHOOL [Part 1] Bored students, bad teachers: Can the

    NEW YORK, Sept. 30 (JTA) — The teachers are incompetent and uninspired. The students are bored and badly behaved. The parents think their responsibility ends with car-pool duty. You”ve heard the complaints a thousand times about supplemental — also known as Hebrew or congregational — schools. These institutions — which struggle in just a few…

  • RETHINKING HEBREW SCHOOL [Part 4] Teacher training programs find ways to educate the educators

    NEW YORK, Sept. 30 (JTA) — Last January, midway through his first year of teaching Sunday school, Dennis Niekro was tempted to quit. A convert to Judaism, the 30-year-old Niekro had initially agreed to take the part-time job teaching fifth grade at his Columbus, Ohio, temple because he thought it would be another way to…

  • RETHINKING HEBREW SCHOOL [Part 3] It’s back to school for parents as congregations focus on

    NEW YORK, Sept. 30 (JTA) — The school at Congregation Eitz Chayim boasted a unique curriculum, hands-on activities and had been cited in the Baltimore Jewish Times as one of the six best Hebrew schools in the country. But children were regularly traipsing in late, missing school, not doing their homework and demanding to know…

  • RETHINKING HEBREW SCHOOL [Part 5] Congregations find themselves behind day schools on list of fun

    NEW YORK, Sept. 30 (JTA) — In recent years, supplemental, or congregational, schools — dismissed by many as failures — have been low on the list of philanthropic priorities for Jewish education. “With the elevation of informal education to a high status, Israel trips and campus life are far more likely to garner communal funding…

  • RETHINKING HEBREW SCHOOL [Part 3] It’s back to school for parents as congregations focus on

    NEW YORK, Sept. 30 (JTA) — The school at Congregation Eitz Chayim boasted a unique curriculum, hands-on activities and had been cited in the Baltimore Jewish Times as one of the six best Hebrew schools in the country. But children were regularly traipsing in late, missing school, not doing their homework and demanding to know…

  • RETHINKING HEBREW SCHOOL [Part 2] Synagogues devise new curricula to make Jewish learning more fun

    NEW YORK, Sept. 30 (JTA) — On any given school day at the Society for the Advancement of Judaism on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, students are scattered all over the building. They are in the stairway, painting Expressionist-influenced murals on biblical themes. They are in the classroom, building temples out of blocks, reading along with…