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Encouraging Successful Gemara Learning for Boys of Religious Zionist and Modern Orthodox Backgrounds in Israeli State Religious High Schools

Moshe Abelesz

This projects attempts to examine the present crisis in the teaching of Gemara in Israeli state religious high schools. The author also examines the general problems of Israeli high schools and argues that there is a strong link between these two problems. The author brings three examples of schools where Talmud is taught successfully and suggests curriculum changes that could be adopted that would create an improved motivation for Talmud amongst Modern Orthodox Israeli youth.

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The Impact of Jewish Philosophy on the Jewish Identity of Secular Students

Shlomit Demsky-Cohen

The purpose of the project is to investigate whether studying Jewish Philosophy in secular high schools influences the student’s sense of relatedness to and identity with Judaism. This paper focuses on two planes, one the theoretical and the second the practical application. On the theoretical level, three approaches are apparent. Each one perceives the problem in a different manner and offers a different solution. On the practical level questionnaires were given to 12th grade students and then analyzed. In addition, graduates of the same school were interviewed and the conclusions are reported. The paper concludes with a summary statement of the question raised in the research and a qualified answer to the problem.

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An Analysis of the Implementation of The Barkai Method in the Orot Etzion School System

Steven Esses

This project attempts to examine how the Orot Etzion School in Efrat has implemented the Barkai method. The primary undertakings include familiarization with the Barkai method (, it’s origins and intentions), parent and teacher interviews, and the exploration of areas in which the program can be refined within the institution,. The gaps between the ideals of the method and its implementation in Orot Etzion are noted as possible areas for growth.

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Virtual Volozhin:
Social vs. Textual Aspects of the Talmud Curriculum in Contemporary One-Year Yeshiva Programs

Yoel Finkelman

While the majority of American yeshiva-high-school graduates are not competent to study Gemara independently, post high school yeshiva programs place them in advanced Gemara classes, where they focus on lomdus, when in fact, the students can not even read basic texts in a competent fashion. Yeshivas do so in order to create an illusion of Torah study at the highest level - a "Virtual Volozhin" - which helps to motivate students, and contributes to the yeshivas broader goals, to transform the students into more ideal, "yeshivish," laymen. Despite the advantages of this approach, the yeshivas would do better to place somewhat greater emphasis on basic text and analytical skills in the Gemara curriculum.

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Improvements in Performance Measurement of Jewish Educational Projects

Jonathan Goldstein

The underlying assumption of this paper is that the world of communal giving and philanthropy are becoming more professional in their approach, and Jewish groups of all sorts, and particularly Jewish educational entities will need to adapt their approaches to suit these market changes . Based on three large-scale Jewish educational projects spanning the 80s and 90s, this project aims to learn from these projects and additional commercial experiences, and apply them to the future worlds of Jewish communal giving and philanthropy. Additionally, a longer-term influx of concepts such as "venture philanthropy" that are advancing in the secular world will be applying themselves to Jewish groups in the coming years, and the appear discusses the nature of these trends on 21st century Jewish education.

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A Jewish Multiple Intelligence Junior High School Curriculum

Semadar (Ben-Zvi) Goldstein

This project explores the concepts and advantages of incorporating a Multiple Intelligence curriculum in a Jewish junior high school. The author presents the successful implementation of Multiple Intelligence curricula in the US, which incorporates relevant subject matter and character development, in a variety of learning styles. The author then suggests methods of implementation for a Jewish curriculum.

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The Challenge of Building and Improving an Adult Jewish Education Program: A Case Study

Ami Hordes

This project posits that the answer to how to increase attendance at an adult Jewish education program lies in the opinions of the target audience. The author takes one such program as a case study, and describes in detail one data collection method, focus groups, which he used to conduct research and gain insight into the needs of a particular program's constituency. The paper presents the results of the research and provides guidelines for running focus groups.

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Educating for a Lifetime:
Basics of Jewish Knowledge in the Modern Orthodox High School Curriculum

Tamar Hordes

This work describes a vision of educating students of the Modern Orthodox school system to be equipped with a strong and broad knowledge base of basic information about Judaism and Jewish topics. As viewed by teachers in the post-high school seminaries in Israel, graduates of the Modern Orthodox high schools exhibit a lack of basic Jewish knowledge that is assumed they would learn in high school. The aim of this project is to determine areas of weakness in basic knowledge of Jewish topics, among graduates of Modern Orthodox high schools in America. This paper suggests the parameters of a framework of basic Jewish knowledge that can be used to determine where (in what areas) and why this knowledge is often found lacking, and proposes a solution to fill in the void.

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Increasing Aliya Among The One-Year Students In Israel:
A Textual And Experiential Curriculum On Yishuv Eretz Yisrael

Moshe D. Lichtman

This project attempts to develop a comprehensive curriculum on the mitzvah of Yishuv Eretz Yisrael for the one-year, post-high-school yeshiva programs here in Israel. The ultimate goal being to boost the currently low rate of aliya among the graduates of these institutions. Based on information culled from student responses to a detailed questionnaire and considerable personal experience in the field, the author concludes that a successful curriculum must include two major components: textual learning and experiential learning.

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Eilu Va-Eilu Divrei Elokim Hayim:
A Model for the Thinking Classroom

Michael Olshin

This paper endeavors to provide justification for classroom environments that are conducive to higher order thinking skills and student constructions while integrating and respecting the authority of the classical sources. The Talmudic topic 'Eilu va-Eilu Divrei Elokim Hayim’ serves as the guiding light to this project and in presenting a model for the post high school yeshiva/seminary classroom on this topic there is a synthesis of process and content.

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Challenges in Teaching Torah She-ba’al Peh to Junior High School Students

Dorona Reingold

Torah She-ba’al Peh taught in the classroom poses great challenges on the teacher and student, alike. On a daily basis, the teacher faces the challenge of instructing a relatively abstract and "dry" subject. The author instructs a low level, grade 7 class in Mishnah. Her aim is to understand thought processes of her students and develop teaching methods that will aid in their understanding of the material.

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Havruta Study in the Contemporary Yeshivah

Aliza Segal

This project explores the application of the havruta system in post high school yeshivot. The author examines the history of this method of learning, and compares the havruta system with two models from the world of general education, cooperative learning and the cognitive approach to education. This exercise, along with reflection upon the myriad goals of the beit midrash environment, is intended to assess the possibility of enhancing havruta learning through the judicious use of various educational methods.

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Integrating Midrash into the Teaching of Torah She-Ba'al Peh in Secular Schools

Chaviva Speter

This paper raises the problems that exist in teaching Torah She-Ba'al Peh in secular schools and suggests as one possible solution the integration of the teaching of Midrash in the curriculum. The premise is that the exposure of the students to the world of Chazal, which presents multiple points of view, will contribute to the development of tolerance to different opinions. Midrashim related to moral issues which Biblical figures had to grapple with are suggested: the Sacrifice of Yitzhak and the story of Joseph and the wife of Potiphar.

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Parent-child Relationships in the Context of a Year of Study in a Post-High School Yeshiva Program in Israel

Dodi F. Tobin, Ph.D.

This project attempts to examine the relationships between parents and children who spend a year of study in post-high school yeshiva programs in Israel. The author reviews literature delineating normative behavior and expectations of adolescents who sojourn to Israel for the year. Based upon personal interviews with educators and questionnaire data from current and former yeshiva students, the author highlights issues relevant to the parent-child relationship, such as increased observance and parental reaction, the effects of modern technology upon the relationships and student adjustment upon return home. The author offers suggestions for enhancing the parent-child relationship throughout the year abroad.

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A Mothering Text: Method and Meaning
Midrash as a Tool For Involving the Student In a Creative Relationship with Torah

Yael Wieselberg

This project examines the relationship between the text and the exegete by considering the parallel model of mother and child. It argues that recognizing interpretation to be a form of play furthers self-development, because it is through immersing ourselves in language that we may construct our world and our relationship to G-d. Approaches to creative readings of midrash are suggested, and the subject of limits to interpretation addressed. Interpretive guidelines and questions that may be posed to students are also provided.

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The Unconscious Conflict:
The Collision of the Values of Popular Culture and Judaism in the Lives of the Contemporary Orthodox Teenager

Yael Ziegler

This project explores the spiritual and intellectual condition of the contemporary American Orthodox female teenager. The author researches this question within the context of the year of study in a yeshiva in Israel following high school. She concludes that the average American teenager is pulled in two opposite directions by the powerful influences of both popular Western culture and Judaism. The author then offers some suggestions as to how to contend with this phenomenon within the setting of the yeshiva in Israel.

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