Monday, March 31, 2008

Text and Context

I've been exploring Herzliya's website, and I found articles on eugenics and cloning that are really going to come in handy for a twelfth grade English elective class that I team-teach. Currently the class is comprised of three parts -- literature, art and film -- and I teach the art component. Each of us teachers teaches three classes about a topic, and the students move from component to component. The three topics for the year were Freedom Fighter or Terrorist: Who Decides?; Defining Humanness: Eugenics and the Post-Human; and Living in Harmony: Tolerance of Others and Contentment with the Self. After each unit, we had a rabbi address the students on a Jewish or halakhic perspective on the topic. Dr. Fima's articles in his halakha section are so relevant for the course, I'm definitely going to be downloading them.

I'm also lobbying for the class to be Frisch's first fully integrated one; I want the rabbi who does the Jewish segment to have his own full unit. The students loved his topics. For the first, he did Israel advocacy: how to recognize propaganda and how to defend Israel with facts and clarity. For the second he created a PowerPoint about the halakha of IVF and PGD. For the third unit, I'm covering the Jewish component, and I'm using the modern Orthodox manifesto, Rabbi Jonathan Sacks' To Heal a Fractured World, as the basis for discussion about living a meaningful, responsible life in a feel-good, secular culture.

Thank you, Dr. Fima, for the articles. They're perfect for the course. I'm looking forward to exploring more of your amazing website. Tomorrow I'm showing it to the director of educational technology at Frisch.

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