Thursday, August 26, 2010

Exciting New Programs for the Upcoming School Year

As students return to Orot for the upcoming school year, they will find several new and exciting programs which offer them broader educational choice and a richer learning experience during their studies. Orot opens a new M.Ed. program in Educational Administration for both men and women; student residents will enjoy the use of both a brand new residence hall and a completely refurbished student residence; the college will highlight an exciting theme focusing on klal yisrael, and several new courses will highlight Orot’s commitment to academic growth and achievement while adhering to the exalted values of the Torah.

New M.ED. Program in Educational Administration: The 5771 school year marks the opening of an exciting new secondary degree program, as Orot offers an M.Ed. program in Educational Administration in separate classes for both men and women. The program, geared towards current teachers looking to enter the ranks of school administration, will include courses on educational leadership, administrative skills as well as decision making, scheduling, and other relevant topics. Developed under the guidance of Dr. Shraga Fisherman, head of Orot’s Graduate School of Education, Orot’s third M.Ed. program will allow the college to continue to serve the Israeli community by providing badly needed administrators for Israel’s education system. “This new M.Ed. program will give future administrators the knowledge, skills and experience they need to succeed as principals in the Israeli school system,” said Rabbi Prof. Neria Guttel, president of Orot. “We see this program as a further fulfillment of Orot’s mission to train the next generation of Israeli educators.”

New and Updated Student Residences:
Students residing in Orot’s dormitories during the school year will arrive on campus to find new and refurbished residence halls. Workers are currently putting the finishing touches on the new Cymberknopf Residence Wing. In addition, an existing residence building was recently upgraded and refurbished.

College-Wide Yearly Theme – Hineni (Here I Am): Each year, under the direction of Dean of Students Rabbi Dr. Moshe Rachimi and Director of the Advanced Institute for Contemporary Education and Religion Rabbi Yona Goodman, Orot chooses a broader theme that students and faculty focus on throughout the year. This year they have chosen the theme of Hineni-Shalecheini ("Here I Am - Send me"), highlighting the importance of serving the greater good and devotion to the Jewish people. Writes Rav Goodman, “We have merited living in a generation when the Nation of Israel has returned to its Land and itself, and God willing, to its Torah as well. We seek to educate both ourselves and our future teachers towards an idealistic life of action, each according to his strength and capabilities.”

New Interdisciplinary Courses:
To address the conflicting values that students often confront in their studies, Orot will offer two exciting interdisciplinary courses that address the confluence of Torah and Jewish thought with academic and secular pursuits.
  • Dance and Judaism: Students in the Dance Department can take an exciting new course in “Judaism and Art” which will explore how Jewish thought relates to art, the limits of art, as well as spiritual benefits to artistic expression. In addition, students will receive vital rabbinic guidance to assist them in developing new dance programs and initiatives in the spirit of Torah values.
  • Judaism and Communications: The instant world of communications we live in today raises challenging ethical and halachic dilemmas. Where are the boundaries of journalism and lashon hara? What can a Torah-true film accurately portray within the limits of tzniut? A new year-long course will address the many halachic and hashkafic issues that arise in the area of communications, and provide Orot students will critical guidance for both their educational and professional careers.

A Visit to the Therapeutic Horse Riding Center

First-year students in the Special Education Department (1st year) visited the Therapeutic Horse Riding Center in Tel-Mond during their week of practical work, opening a window to an additional field of treatment for Special Education children. The Israeli Center for therapeutic horse riding implements advanced treatment methods through animal therapy in order to improve patients' physical and motor skills as well as their self-confidence and self-image.
Orot’s students learned about therapeutic horse riding and dog therapy designed to meet the various needs of the patients that are treated in the center. These patients include autistic children, children with cerebral palsy, special education children, populations at risk and in distress, people with mental deficiency, children with learning disabilities, road accident victims, disabled IDF veterans, rehabilitating drug addicts, and the elderly.
Many people with special needs suffer from muscle degeneration. Horse riding improves motion and activation of most of the muscular limbs that are not being used by these patients. In addition, people with various disabilities often find themselves being led instead of leading themselves. Horse riding contributes to patients' self-confidence by giving him a sense of control and independence. Although each patient is accompanied by four instructors during horse riding, he feels that he is the one who is leading the horse and he is ultimately in charge.
In recent years, dog assisted therapy has been accepted as an efficient treatment method. Working with dogs and their trainers helps patients and highly improves their condition. Even when other conventional treatment methods have failed, the warmth, the loyalty and unconditional love that the dogs give patient can have profound effects on their recovery.
Through excellent lectures and a tour of the center’s modern and sophisticated site, students gained new appreciation for the benefits of animal therapy. One student after visiting the center said, "I really would like to specialize and work in animal therapy.”