A New Kind of Jewish High School Seeks to Bring Together the Best of Both Jerusalem and Athens

Aug. 26 2019

At the Heichal HaTorah school of New Jersey, faculty have begun a unique experiment in secular studies. Elliot Kaufman explains. (Registration required.)

At some Orthodox schools, subjects such as English, history, and math take a back seat to the analysis of Jewish texts. Others, especially in Modern Orthodox communities, dial back the Judaic studies somewhat to provide rigorous all-around education. They usually do that, however, by aping top secular schools, adopting progressive curricula that can be hostile to traditional values.

Heichal HaTorah is evidence that there’s a better way. . . . Heichal’s honors students display impressive range in the classroom. Back in June, ninth-graders were reading Meister Eckhart, a German medieval theologian, and discussing the West’s evolving understanding of God and man. A question arose and a student shouted a relevant line from the Torah, quoting it in Hebrew. While I struggled to connect the dots, another student compared Eckhart’s view with an older one from myths about Hercules. A third cited Cicero. . . .

Rabbi Mitchell Rocklin [is] the principal instructor of the honors track at Heichal HaTorah, and he’s on a mission . . . to show Jews “what their religion has to do with their culture, and what their culture has to do with their religion.” . . . [I]f traditional schools are going to teach secular subjects, it makes sense to teach them traditionally. Rabbi Rocklin’s students deserve to learn the best the West has thought and said. It’s their patrimony, too.

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Read more at Wall Street Journal

More about: Education, Jewish education, Judaism, Western civilization

The Evidence of BDS Anti-Semitism Speaks for Itself

Oct. 18 2019

Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs recently released a lengthy report titled Behind the Mask, documenting the varieties of naked anti-Semitic rhetoric and imagery employed by the movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction the Jewish state (BDS). Drawn largely but not exclusively from Internet sources, its examples range from a tweet by a member of Students for Justice in Palestine (the “world would be soooo much better without jews man”), to an enormous inflated pig bearing a star of David and floating behind the stage as the rock musician Roger Waters performs, to accusations by an influential anti-Israel blogger that Israel is poisoning Palestinian wells. Cary Nelson sums up the report’s conclusions and their implications, all of which give the lie to the disingenuous claim that critics of BDS are trying to brand “legitimate criticism of Israel” as anti-Semitic.

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Read more at Fathom

More about: Anti-Semitism, BDS, Roger Waters, Social media