ATUDA: ATID's Discussion and Research Forum for Future Jewish Educators

In 2004-05 ATID gathered a cohort of young Orthodox students (post-B.A.), men and women, who are planning to enter Jewish education as a career in the coming years, as the inaugural Atuda Fellows -- a new training program for pre-service educators, to complement our ATID Fellows in-service program.

Participants in the program partook in seminars and discussion groups over the academic year, dedicated to: "TRANSLATING" THE TORAH AND PHILOSOPHY OF RABBI JOSEPH B. SOLOVEITCHIK zt"l TO CONTEMPORARY JEWISH EDUCATION. We are pleased to present to the community of Jewish educators the projects, proposals, and study guides prepared by the Atuda Fellows, confident that they will arouse your own thinking and pedagogic planning.

A Guide to Rabbi Soloveitchik’s
"Mizvat Keriyat Shema u-Zekhirat Yezi’at Mizrayim"

Naftali Balanson
This is a teaching guide to Rav Soloveitchik’s "Mizvat Keriyat Shema u-Zekhirat Yezi’at Mizrayim," the opening essay of his Shi’urim le-Zekher Abba Mari. The guide contains two suggested lessons for high school classes; the first is geared towards a traditional Gemara shi’ur, while the second is an innovative attempt to access philosophical ideas that originate in halakhah. As such, Rav Soloveitchik’s lomdut is utilized as the culmination of in-depth study of a sugya in Massekhet Berakhot, in one case, and as a springboard for exploring his own philosophic writings, in the other. Through these lessons, students can gain a firmer grasp on Keriyat Shema, its third paragraph, and their implications in the world of halakhah, hashkafah, and tefillah.
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Kibbud u-Mora: Mutual Honor and Respect
Three Interactive Sessions for Teenagers, Parents and Teachers
Based on the Writings of Rabbi Soloveitchik

Shoshana Cohen
Parents and children are often the subjects of tension and misunderstandings during the teenage years. Using the school community as a forum, Cohen creates a series of sessions whose purpose is to establish and maintain tools for constructive communication between high schoolers and their parents and teachers. The sessions center on a section of the Rav’s Family Redeemed that deals specifically with the issue of kibbud av va-em. Learning together, participants are guided through difficult passages and personal issues. They are also given an opportunity to learn more about the Rav and his philosophy and how it relates to their own lives and relationships.
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Worship of the Heart:
Rabbi Soloveitchik on the Place of Aesthetics Within Religious Experience
A Teacher’s Guide

Sara Henna Dahan
This project aims to provide teachers with a guide to studying and teaching some aspects of prayer, particularly those discussed in the fourth chapter of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik’s Worship of the Heart -- "Exaltation of God and Redeeming the Aesthetic." It is the author’s hope that through studying and teaching the material to students, they will come to understand how to integrate aesthetics into religious experience and recognize its importance in prayer. In addition, through studying this material and engaging in active discussions and projects, students will become more active participants in the prayer experience, a phenomenon which would hopefully help improve tefillah for high school students.
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Rabbi Soloveitchik’s "The Community"
A Teacher’s Guide

Rachael Gelfman
This guide provides suggestions and material for those who choose to teach Rav Soloveitchik’s essay "The Community" to high school students, in either a formal or informal setting. "The Community" is a particularly relevant essay for high school students because it focuses on the tension between individual and community. This tension is a very live issue for high school students in their relationships with both family and friends. The essay's relevance, along with its relatively simple writing and short length, make it a good choice for the teacher seeking to introduce her students to the Rav’s corpus.
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"And He Answered, Here I Am"
An Educational Model for the Rav’s Halakhah of Suffering

Medinah Korn
Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik’s halakhah of suffering can be brought to the classroom through a values-based analysis of the 'hineni' response in Tanakh. This paper argues for the importance of providing students with the tools to raise the moral, philosophical, theological and social questions such an analysis entails, and allowing students to grapple and struggle with them. The benefits of such an approach are considered and recommended.
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Holocaust Education in Yeshiva High Schools:
A Model for Teaching Kol Dodi Dofek

Shoshanna Lockshin
This project advances a model for a unit on Holocaust education in yeshiva high schools in North America. Using the Rav’s Kol Dodi Dofek, the author suggests ways that yeshiva high schools might develop an integrated curriculum for Holocaust education to offer students a safe outlet for asking and coping with difficult questions of good, evil and faith.
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Curricular Suggestions for Educating Towards
The Rav’s Philosophy of Halakhah

Norma Mintz
This project attempts to explain a philosophy of halakhah, as based in the works of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, and to provide curricular suggestions in order to educate students towards such a worldview. The main principles of the philosophy of halakhah are the centrality of halakhah, the application of the a priori halakhah in an a posteriori world, the unity of halakhah and hashkafah, and the rejection of subjectivism and simulated rituals. In order to inculcate these principles, this project offers curricular suggestions for Talmud, mahshavah, and halakhah, and it asserts that most importantly, a school must be entirely subject to halakhah and its faculty must be aligned with these principles.
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Teaching the Masorah Through the Thought of the Rav

Yaakov Mintz
This project discusses some of Rabbi Soloveitchik's ideas regarding the importance of the masorah and applies those ideas to contemporary Jewish education. The Rav discussed a number of different aspects of the masorah including our attitudes towards the understanding of Torah she-be’al Peh, the ba’alei ha-masorah, and the role of the family in transmitting the masorah. Each of these aspects has its own educational significance. In particular, this paper addresses areas of Torah learning and living that pose great problems for students due to their rationale being difficult, or even impossible, to explain. Developing a proper understanding and appreciation of our masorah can help our students deal with these issues properly.
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Body and Soul:
Sex Education in the Orthodox High School
A Guide for Addressing Family Life

Avi Roness
This paper examines the pressing need for the Modern Orthodox educational system to address the students' concerns and internal struggles as they undergo the process of forming and coming to terms with their sexual identity. Sex-ed has never been part of the Orthodox curriculum. However, an awareness of the significant reshaping of social reality in modern times requires us to reevaluate this position. The increasingly complicated spiritual and cultural environment surrounding the Modern Orthodox student in the 21st century serves to greatly increase the natural challenges and difficulties inherent in adolescence. Acknowledging the students’ predicament and wishing to address their concerns, the teacher is confronted with an unusual problem: as the discussion of sexuality has traditionally been kept out of public discourse, the very definition of the theoretical body of a Modern Orthodox sex-ethic is far from self evident to the teachers themselves. This project suggests the importance and usefulness of Rabbi Soloveitchik’s treatment of these issues as found in his essay "The Redemption of Sexual Life" (in his recently published Family Redeemed). Following a presentation of Rabbi Soloveitchik’s views, and a discussion of their theoretical ramifications, a number of practical classroom considerations are raised and discussed.
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A Teacher's Guide to Rabbi Soloveitchik's Worship of the Heart
Exploring Themes of Religious Experience and Prayer

Noam Shapiro
This teacher's guide addresses the preface and first two chapters of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik’s Worship of the Heart: Essays on Jewish Prayer. This project was initiated to serve three different educational goals. While mutually fructifying, these goals stand independently. Therefore, the three corresponding sections of this study guide have been developed in such a way that they may each function as a distinct unit. They are: introducing the student to Rabbi Soloveitchik's thought; outlining a variety of approaches to God; and an attempt at educating students about the beauty and power of tefillah.
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The Educational Experience of Sippur Yezi’at Mizrayim:
A Pedagogical Manual For the Jewish Educator

Benjamin Zimmerman
This project presents, based on Rav Soloveitchik's analysis, the Passover Seder as the Torah teacher's manual for successfully transmitting the Jewish heritage to children. The paper delineates many of the educational tenets set forth in the Seder and how they can be incorporated into a yearly curriculum. Numerous nuances of the Seder night come alive, through the penetrating comments of the Rav, as educational insights with pedagogical wisdom. Hopefully, delineating the Seder’s educational message and methodology will help achieve its realization in all forums of Jewish education throughout the year.
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