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.”
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Live from Antarctica! It's an eighth-grade science class on global warming for a group of Harlem students whose teacher is doing research on the frozen continent.
Students at Promise Academy participated in a videoconference Tuesday with science teacher Shakira Petit, who was bundled in a hooded parka, boots and gloves for her talk on icebergs and rising sea levels.
"Would it be easy for a kid to live in Antarctica?" one student asked.
No, Petit said. "There are no children here. It's all scientists."
Petit is spending two months in Antarctica in a program sponsored by the New York-based nonprofit Global Nomads Group, which arranged the video hookup for the Harlem charter school that aims to prepare youngsters from disadvantaged backgrounds for top colleges. Other schools on the hookup were in Newark, Del.; Davie, Fla.; Virginia Beach, Va.; and Douglass, Kan.
Stamping her feet for warmth in the minus 7-degree weather, Petit pointed out various features of Antarctica's McMurdo Station like supply buildings, trucks with big snow tires and a cross in memory of explorer Robert F. Scott.
Among the questions students asked: "What causes shapes and colors in an iceberg?" "How do you judge the age of the ice?" and "How thick is the ice you're standing on?"
Petit co-taught the class with Kirsty Tinto, a graduate student from New Zealand. The women are part of a group of researchers seeking to further scientific knowledge of global warming by studying sediments deposited in Antarctica some 34 million years ago when there were dramatic global climate changes.
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