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odDRABAs and enDRABAs

We Like to be Scared, Don’t We?

Many phenomena accompany the hottest weeks of summer. The inevitable traffic jam on the way up to the cottage - and back. The sunscreen-stained scrawl of camp letters assuring one and all that fun is being had. However, with certain children, that list would not be complete without a trip to Canada’s Wonderland. Apparently, fun is had at Canada’s Wonderland. Even by people who queue up for more than two hours to experience less than sixty seconds of simulated terror. For me, roller coasters...

What Now Seems Like Ancient History

I am a basketball fan. However, being from Chicago, and having experienced Michael and Scottie and Dennis bring the Larry O’Brien trophy to the Windy City FIVE TIMES… what can I say? I am happy for y’all and the Raptors. I hope Kawhi stays. But it’s been eleven days since the wild Game 6 win and eight days since the city shut down to celebrate. Eleven days. …And it seems like so much has happened since then. Perhaps this is a side-effect of the frenetic news cycle that once, I’m told, used to...

More Affirmation about ADRABA’s Vision for the Jewish Future

In the previous edition of the ADRABA Newsletter, I shared a piece from Jack Wertheimer about the need for “truly disruptive Jewish education.”  We’re doing that - by design.   Today’s eJewishPhilanthropy delivered additional affirmation of our vision. What we call “Jewish literacy,” Alex Pomson calls “cultural virtuosity.”  Tomato, tomahto!     Here’s a choice quote: Hundreds of miles apart, these students were being initiated into the essentials of Jewish culture: the ability to tell stories...

“Truly Disruptive Jewish Education”

Jack Wertheimer recently penned a piece about the need for “truly disruptive Jewish education.” Here’s a choice quote which captures what ADRABA is about top to tail.  Emphases mine. If we focus the conversation around what Jews need in order to become active participants in Jewish religious and communal life, rather than what they may think they want, we will inevitably spark conversations about expectations and what kinds of literacy an active Jew requires. Our liturgy and formative texts of...

The Future is Here.

In today’s eJewishPhilanthropy, Josh Miller and Seth Linden make the case  to funders that supporting Jewish online learning is worthwhile.   Miller and Linden represent the Jim Joseph Foundation, an organization “devoted exclusively to supporting Jewish education of youth and young adults in the United States.”   So what’s the ḥiddush here?  Wouldn’t foundations interested in supporting Jewish learning embrace online learning?  Not necessarily…  Like many legacy institutions, the Foundation...

And speaking of Pesach, chametz and fears about tech…

Limiting Your Child’s Fire Time: A Guide for Concerned Paleolithic Parents By Rachel Klein / February 7, 2018 According to the most recent cave drawings, children nowadays are using fire more than ever before. And it’s no wonder: fire has many wonderful applications, such as cooking meat, warming the home, and warding off wild animals in the night. We adult Homo erectus, with our enlarged brains and experience of pre-fire days, can moderate our use, but our children—some of whom never lived...

Will Screens Be Our Undoing?

Editor’s Note:  When hot takes in the popular press usually have a headline that poses a saucy question, the answer very often will be NO - but it sure does catch the eye, doesn't it? In 1958, economist John Kenneth Galbraith coined the term “conventional wisdom” to describe commonplace beliefs which people consider to be acceptable and comfortable.  It’s this last part of the definition that’s essential because once an idea has become comfortable in your head, it is much harder to dislodge -...

Well yes, but actually no.

Do traditional schools need dramatic changes to improve the learning experience?  YES! Do students need better opportunities for learning in the school context?  YES! In light of recent announcements from Queen’s Park, are we on the right track?  NO. While TDSB kids were on March Break, the Ford government announced its plan for sweeping changes to Ontario schools.   Though most folks were bemused by the cellphone ban, and bemoaned the increase in class sizes, there was also a buzz about...

tl;dr, Vol. 6: Canada 1, USA 0

In their report of their study of Canadian Jews, Robert Brym and Rhonda Lenton found that Canadian Jews are doing much better than their counterparts to the south in every category of “assimilation indicators.”   However, they expressed some concern about “young adults” among whom “the religious basis of Jewishness seems to be weakening.”   But one can justifiably wonder: Is this really a cause for concern?  …Especially when Brym and Lenton also reported that young adults are just as committed...

tl;dr, Vol. 5: The ADRABA Mindset

Dr. Bill Robinson has been running a series of think pieces at eJewishphilanthropy, exploring “Big Ideas” in Jewish education.  This week’s hot take is the kabbalistic concept of tikkun olam.   I don’t want to reproduce the title here because it’s way too long, or get into how tikkun olam, a seemingly benign concept, became a stalking horse for pundits. Instead, I want to address the notion that humans have to continue the work of creation is, essentially, an educational concept.  Rabbi...