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

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.

Read more at Wall Street Journal

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

Spain’s Anti-Israel Agenda

What interest does Madrid have in the creation of a Palestinian state? Elliott Abrams raised this question a few days ago, when discussing ongoing Spanish efforts to block the transfer of arms to Israel. He points to multiple opinion surveys suggesting that Spain is among Europe’s most anti-Semitic countries:

The point of including that information here is to explain the obvious: Spain’s anti-Israel extremism is not based in fancy international political analyses, but instead reflects both the extreme views of hard-left parties in the governing coalition and a very traditional Spanish anti-Semitism. Spain’s government lacks the moral standing to lecture the state of Israel on how to defend itself against terrorist murderers. Its effort to deprive Israel of the means of defense is deeply immoral. Every effort should be made to prevent these views from further infecting the politics and foreign policy of the European Union and its member states.

Read more at Pressure Points

More about: Anti-Semitism, Europe and Israel, Palestinian statehood, Spain