Sunday, April 18, 2010

Yerushalayim of our Imagination

Thoughts on Yom Ha'atzmaut

Too often, we allow ourselves to see not what we have, but what's missing. This is especially true when we look at the modern State of Israel, and even at the modern city of Yerushalayim. Through a study of Tehillim 122, we can come to a better appreciation not only for Yerushalyim, the subject of that chapter, but also for the blessing of the Medinah which, although not complete, represents a source of great blessing for the Jewish people.

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Monday, April 12, 2010

Orot Students Study Medical Ethics

By Rav Uriel Touitou, Excellence Program Coordinator

In the Orot Excellence Program's course on medical ethics students learned about the intersection of medicine, Jewish law, ethics and morals. During a recent tour at the Shaare Zedek hospital as part of their study they observed how professionals deal with real-life halachic and medical challenges presented by the rapidly advancing world of modern medicine.
Created ten years ago, Michlelet Orot's Excellence Program provides advanced students tools and skills to transform their intellectual abilities into tools they can in their educational career. In addition to offering enriched courses that focus on education and teaching, the program looks to expand students' horizons by offering classes on subjects they would not encounter during their normal course schedules.
In a world of instant communications and media, students find themselves exposed to questions about organ donation, pregnancy and childbirth issues including abortion, fatal diseases as well as many others. To address many of these questions, students in the Excellence Program attend a course in medical ethics given by Prof. Menachem Schlesinger and Rabbi Menachem Schahor. Study includes frontal classes as well as a tour at the Shaare Zedek hospital guided by lecturers from the hospital's Schlesinger Institute for Medical Halachic Research.
During their recent tour students met with doctors and nurses and heard proposed medical solutions to address marital problems and pregnancy and childbirth issues. The tour included a lecture on the subject of medicinal treatment for brides before the huppah and an additional lecture on the issue of genetic match between couples. Students learned about genes that might be carry diseases, the identification process and medicinal treatment to prevent possible future diseases, genetic matching between spouses and coping mechanisms for couples where both spouses are genetic carriers of the same disease.
In the Department of In vitro Fertilization students learned about different stages of infertility treatment as well as the challenges that couples face in their quest for pregnancy and childbirth.
The students' final lecture addressed the challenges of running hospitals on Shabbat and hagim according to halachah. Run various systems whose operation requires chillul Shabbat requires hospital directors and poskim to find creative halachic, technological and scientific solutions.
Student responses to the course were excellent. They found that this special course opened a window for them to an important and fascinating world which they would not have been otherwise exposed.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The English Department goes to a live performance of "My Fair Lady"

Dr. Vitela Arzi
Head of the English Department

No study in the field of Foreign Language Teaching would be complete without a viewing of the classic film "My Fair Lady." This film encompasses the linguistic sub-fields of socio- linguistics, psycho- linguistics, and of course practical linguistics in the form of phonetics, diction, syntax, lexis and more. All of these components are studied within the context of Introduction to Linguistics and Applied Linguistics as taught in the English Department at Orot College of Education.

However, says David Wapner, instructor of the Linguistics courses, "there is a vast difference between "simply" teaching these linguistic topics within a formal classroom setting in a theoretical sense, to that of actually seeing them in "play" in the practical forum and in an extra curricular venue. "

We were fortunate indeed , as a live production of "My Fair Lady" in English, performed by the Light Opera Group of the Negev, has come to theaters in Israel at the time that our students were just wrapping up the study of the aforementioned components in class. Mr . Wapner contacted the producers and we were given tickets at a special discounted price; we received some additional assistance from the Dean of Students Rabbi-Dr. Rachimi, who helped to defray some of the students' expenses.

The students were abuzz with excitement awaiting the date and then the hour, and finally arriving at the theater in Mody'in.

Says Shira Tzubeiri, a second year student: "It's the first time that I'm watching an English speaking play, and it was an unusual and challenging experience. It was very special to meet my friends at a location other than the classroom, and it contributed to our social integration as a group". Her friend Shulamit Isaacs adds: "This magnificent well produced play was a fantastic learning experience, which brought alive all the theoretical knowledge that was amassed in the classroom . Seeing the material come to live on stage validated everything that we had studied on a purely theoretical basis."

Watching the play together with other extra-curricular activities initiated by the English Department , reflects a holistic approach to the learning experience in general , and to language learning in particular which the English Department advocates and practices.