Sunday, September 06, 2009

Frisch integration

Two of the three Nakh PowerPoints for the coming school year are now available at and are entitled "Women in Power" and "The Times of Melakhim Bet." "Women in Power" shows how women like Hatshepsut, Theodora and Elizabeth came to and held onto power and how they compare with Athalia in Melakhim Bet. "The Times of Melakhim Bet" explores the Assyrian kings who were powerful during the reigns of the kings of Israel. Second semester, I'l take a look at the Assyrian kings who were in charge during the times of Malkhut Yehuda.

The Nakh presentations will be given, as they have been in past years, to the upperclassmen -- eleventh and twelfth graders -- at Frisch. However, now that the school has integrated the curriculum for the ninth and tenth graders using a wiki, I've posted my presentations on both wikis as well. The theme for the ninth graders is Identity, and for the tenth, Exploration. The presentations work well for the ninth grade on the "Leadership" page, a page that has the freshmen examining qualities that a leader has and are therefore good (or bad) to develop in themselves. The presentations went on the tenth grade wiki on a page called "Visions," which explores, partly, different governmental visions.

Educational Technology Director Tzvi Pittinsky and I showed the faculty the new tenth grade wiki as well as reviewed the ninth grade wiki so we'd all remember what was on it. The school is getting ready to launch the ninth grade wiki for the freshmen with an assembly that spans two days. On the first day, we'll discuss how the two summer reading books, The Chosen and The Color of Water, are different ways of exploring roots, particularly Jewish ones, and show how we don't want to create negative Jewish role models like the one depicted in The Color of Water. We'll use The Chosen as a jumping off point to discuss modern Orthodox theology, particularly the ideas of Torah u'Maadah and religious Zionism. The rest of the assembly on the first day will present students with a dilemma about where to send their children to high school. We'll ask them to post their responses on the wiki and vet through them overnight. On the following day, we'll discuss the results and show what's good about being open to the secular world and what the dangers of too much openness are. We're hoping to use the launch as a springboard for other discussions about religious purposefulness.

Different discussions of modern Orthodox theology will ensue. Already planned are reconciling evolution and Torah and eugenics and the Orthodox position on it.

To advance our religious Zionist ideals, we're continuing a ninth grade project that has students interact with their counterparts in our sister school in Nahariya. Tzvi Pittinsky will be traveling to Israel soon to set the school up on our wiki, so we can have discussions with them. We're also having our tenth grade work with a school in Israel. My tenth grade English class will be working on a Jewish immigrant project with a tenth grade high school in Gush Etzion. The goal of the project will be for students to explore here in American what Jewish immigrants from all over the world have contributed to American life, and in Israel the students will explore the role immigrants have played in shaping Israeli life. The Gush Etzion school has its own wiki, so all final projects will be posted on our wikis. Again the goal is for students to interact with their Israeli counterparts.

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