Follow Jewish education tech news, updates, resources and more from Caren Levine of Darim Online. Read here at http://www.etheoreal.com/jlearn2.0/.
Educational Technology Experiments: AVI CHAI is looking for new and innovative ways to apply technology to enhancing the teaching of Judaic studies in day schools. To that end, the foundation is providing seed funding for a diverse range of projects with the ultimate goal of learning about and identifying promising educational technology initiatives for Jewish education.
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The mission of the Jewish Women's Archive (JWA) is to uncover, chronicle, and transmit to a broad public the rich history of American Jewish women.
A national non-profit organization founded in 1995, the Jewish Women's Archive is devoted to making known the stories, struggles, and achievements of Jewish women in North America in order to enrich the way we understand the past and to ensure a more inclusive future. JWA has amassed the most extensive collection of material anywhere on American Jewish women, and it can be accessed for free by anyone with an Internet connection. Our website is a destination for people seeking knowledge, a sense of connection and community, and a way to affirm and enhance the legacy of American Jewish women.
JWA.org offers an online Encyclopedia of Jewish women, lesson plans and other educational materials that can be downloaded for free, online exhibits on topics as diverse as "Jewish Women and the Feminist Revolution" and "Katrina's Jewish Voices," several book and film guides, a growing collection of reminiscences of recently deceased Jewish women, a lively blog, and numerous other resources for anyone interested in the experiences of American Jewish women, both celebrated and unheralded. The site encourages users to create their own content with comments, queries, corrections, or suggestions.
he Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem, Israel, a non-profit educational organization offering Jewish education, curriculum, and rabbinic training to Jews throughout Israel, Europe and the former Soviet Union through four programs, announces a six-lecture series, “LA Goes the Distance,” conducted via live video conference from Israel and featuring the distinguished faculty of the Schechter Institute. Prominent Los Angeles rabbis are hosting the series at the American Jewish Committee’s L.A. headquarters, and will moderate a real-time dialogue between the Schechter professor in Israel and the participants in LA. Each lecture explores a particular issue affecting contemporary Jewish life, utilizing both ancient and modern texts.
“Video conferencing enables Schechter scholars to teach anywhere,” explains Lou Miller, Co-Chairman of the Los Angeles Friends of Schechter. “We developed ‘LA Goes the Distance’ to bring together great minds from across the globe to engage in discourse, creating a dynamic, relevant learning experience.”
Bruce Whizin, Co-Chairman, enthusiastically adds, “With interactive long distance learning, the L.A. Jewish community can enjoy one Sunday morning each month studying with one of Schechter’s renowned scholars. Coming together as Jews to exchange ideas strengthens our connections – to each other in our large L.A. community and to Israel.”
Rabbi Joel Rembaum, Rabbi Emeritus of Temple Beth Am in Los Angeles continues, “I’m pleased to host the opening lecture January 10th. Rabbi David Golinkin, president of the Schechter Institutes and unquestionably one of this generation’s foremost Jewish thinkers, examines Judaism and ecology, a deeply meaningful subject for us to explore. Our tradition has very powerful and relevant messages addressing how humans have a God-given responsibility to sustain the physical well being and beauty of our planet, even as we use her bounty to live.”
Continue reading at www.earthtimes.org.
The Open Siddur is a free and open source software project developing a collaborative publishing platform for anyone to craft the siddur (Jewish prayerbook) they’ve always wanted. Imagine a siddur that is completely customizable, allowing one to not only see unfamiliar and obscure nusḥaot (regional traditions) but also to remix the siddur with piyyutim (liturgical poetry), with personally chosen translations, commentary, transliterations, template layouts, and art.
The siddur has long served as the single common spiritual and educational tool for Jews of all backgrounds. The variations in the siddur reflect the nuanced differences in philosophy and outlook of Jewish communities and scholars over a vast span of time and place. The text and arrangement of even one historical siddur reveals an aggregate of thousands of years of creativity. The Open Siddur will make accessible all the creativity preserved in traditions historically and culturally separated by geography and by the limitations imposed by non-digital publishing and traditional copyright.
Visit The Open Siddur Project at www.OpenSiddur.net.
Aharon Varady always dreamed of putting together his own prayer book. Realizing that many people - including himself - often see prayer as a dull and robotic exercise in the fulfillment of a religious duty, he thought for years about ways to enable people to create their own prayer book, or siddur, in order to make the most of their experience. A fellow at this year's PresenTense Institute, Varady earlier this month finally embarked on a daring project, creating a tool for "individuals and groups to build the siddur they've always wanted," as his Web site explains. Varady's Open Siddur project aspires to funnel all different regional traditions, translations, commentaries and instructional notes that Jews from the four corners of the world have produced through the ages into one Web application. The site will provide the core liturgy and enable users to freely add content, comparable to cooking Web sites where food aficionados exchange and comment on each other's recipes.
Similarly, at OpenSiddur.net users can download different prayers, add creative translations, commentaries and other "siddur recipes," as the 34-year-old Philadelphia resident put it. Looking for an oriental version of the morning services or a rare medieval religious poem? Chances are that sooner or later someone will upload it to the site, Varady assures.
Continue reading at www.haaretz.com.
Eyes roll when Rabbi Hayim Herring tells his fellow clergy that they should spend an hour a day on Facebook, MySpace and Twitter.
Listeners at his seminars exchange smirks when he says blogging should be considered mandatory. They look aghast when he recommends posting short video clips from their sermons on YouTube.
It's a lot better than the reaction he used to get.
"They used to look at me as if I'd just said a four-letter word," said Herring, the former senior rabbi at Beth El Synagogue in St. Louis Park and now the executive director of STAR (Synagogues: Transformation and Renewal). But in its seven years, the organization has seen more converts to what many call one of the dirtiest words in religion: marketing.
Across the country, religious congregations have turned more to marketing to keep the members they have and attract others to their emptying pews. The trend is accelerating as the Internet and its explosion of social networking sites add entirely new ways to connect on spiritual issues.
But the growing emphasis on new salesmanship tools alarms others who say the onslaught undermines the idea that spirituality should be a respite from the constant clamor of commercialism.
Continue reading at www.startribune.com.