Sunday, March 19, 2017

Study Days For Young Women in National Service (Sherut Leumi)

Over the past few weeks we conducted a number of seminars for young women who are doing National Service through the auspices of the “Bat Ami” and “Aminadav” non-profit associations. The purpose of these study days was to give these women tools to be able to cope on a day to day basis in their places of service. Each of these days began with opening greetings from the Dean of Students, Rabbanit Dr. Leah Vizel; as well as with a narrated dance performance conducted by our Dance majors under the tutelage of Sharona Florsheim.

The days continued with a choice of workshops led by our college instructors for the women to choose from. Among the instructors participating were: Ms. Bella Even-Chen, Ms. Ruth Brock, Rabbi Reuven Spolter, Ms. Sarit Gizbar, Ms. Shlomit Sugarman, Dr. Aliza Lipsker, Ms. Tziona Ben- Porat, Ms. Rachel Nachum, and Ms. Meirav Gur Arieh. In addition there was a workshop which was led by our Dance majors themselves.

The workshops covered several heavy topics such as self- empowerment and personal development, the giving of one-on-one instruction, being able to recognize signs of distress, and dealing with disciplinary issues. And lighter workshop topics such as theater, dance, and arts and crafts dedicated to Jerusalem. The purpose of the workshops was to empower these young women, and to prove them with the necessary tools to be able to handle day to day situations during their National Service.

Towards the end of the day, everyone gathered in the auditorium to hear fascinating talks by Rabbi Yaakov Feldman and Ms. Shlomit Sugarman. Aside from the practical and useful “tools” which these women came away with, this enjoyable day gave them a much needed respite from their busy routine.

Religious Education Prize Laureate for 2016- 2017: Ms. Bella Even- Chen

Ms. Bella Even- Chen, an educator and pedagogic instructor in the field of counseling at the Elkana Campus is one of the Religious Education Prize Laureates for 2016-2017.

Ms. Bella Even- Chen, the daughter of Holocaust survivors, immigrated to Israel after WWII. She earned both her BA and MA Cum Laude from Bar Ilan University with a triple major in psychology, sociology and education. At age 18, while pursuing her academic studies, she was sent to Kfar Haro’e to study English. Even at that young age, that very year, she developed innovative and unique methods in Language Arts instruction, and served as an educational advisor.

Possessing a clear and creative persona she developed and enhanced the “tool box” used by educational consultants dealing with dozens of subjects, such as intervention or prevention programs, which through her, was made accessible to the various educational systems countrywide.

At the same time as she was bogged down with a heavy workload within the educational system, she was very successfully involved both in print and electronic communications and journalism. Many of her broadcasts on Arutz-7 and “Kol- Chai” radio were dedicated to the issues of education and culture. She served as a member of the “Theater Prize” and the repertoire committee. She has also volunteered in several organizations such as “Enosh,” “Ezer M’Tzion,” and the “Israel Cancer Association.”

In the prize committee’s reasoning for awarding Bella with this prestigious prize they stated that: “Bella believes that experiencing something is the basis to all learning and that that process is an important one which “burns the discs” of the brain and the heart more so than the results”.

"Educating Toward Tzniut- Modesty"

Rabbanit Dr. Leah Vizel

Recently an Educational Forum on the subject of “Educating Toward Tzniut " was held at our Elkana Campus. On the one hand, the choice of this particular topic arose as a result of its obvious importance. While on the other hand this topic was chosen particularly due to the discomfort of speaking about it in a public forum. The goal was to open with a discussion and to begin a process in which each student will be able to formulate her own position in regard to this important subject before she ventures out into the educational world.  The working assumption was that this Educational Forum cannot cover the subject in its entirety and that which was started here is to be continued.

The Forum opened with a show depicting differing viewpoints on the issue under the banner of “Modesty As I See It.” Rabbanit Dr. Vizel presented a position and raised several possible angles and questions regarding that stance. She addressed modesty as a broad and fundamental value.
Then, the Dance majors put on a short presentation accompanied at first by a running commentary by Ms. Michal Zarka, one of the dance instructors, after which one of the dances is repeated. The entire filled to capacity audience both students and staff members, was moved and mesmerized by the dances and by the running explanations.

 Ms. Merav Shapira, the Dance Department’s Jewish issues coordinator, connected this awe inspiring performance to the centrality of the human body in the worship of Hashem, and to the importance of what is revealed and what is concealed. This part of the presentation was closed by Dr. Tzippy Rein, a psychologist and acting head of “The Family Center” which is located in the college, who presented her viewpoints in dealing with the demands of modesty and Halacha- Jewish law.

After the presentation the students broke up into groups of their choosing. The discussions were held in round table forums with each group moderated by staff members who volunteered their time to lead open and frank discussions on the female issue of tzniut.

It was wonderful to hear the feedback from the different groups and the variety of opinions that arose from both the moderators and the students. In spite of the time constraints, the round-table format enabled there to be open and frank discussions on this loaded issue.

Among the staff in attendance were: Rabbanit Nechama Ariel, Dr. Rivka Raviv, Ms. Vered Kahan, Ms. Rachelli Bartov, Ms. Nana Tchiya, Dr. Yael Klein, Rabbanit Dr. Leah Vizel,  Rabbanit Miri Ben-Shitrit, Ms. Revital Vaknin and others. There were about as many opinions voiced as there were participants, staff and students combined! The idea to make this a multi-disciplinary event, proved itself above and beyond all expectations.

The next section of the afternoon was a lecture in the auditorium by Noa Yaron-Dayan, a writer and former TV moderator. Noa had come from a world which was one of glitz, ratings and total exposure, to a world of Torah and modesty. She shared with her audience the ways in which she dealt with and views the issues of tzniyut and living a life of Halacha.

The highlight of the day was a panel comprised of the heads of several ulpenot- religious girls’ high schools, and other educators who discussed educational dilemmas and the ultimate decisions which they undertook in the matter of educating to modesty. The panel members included: The head of Ulpenat Tzvia in Lod, Chaggit Yogev, The head of Ulpenat Bnei Akiva in Hadar Ganim- Petach Tikva, Tal Navoni, and Rabbanit Shlomit Ben-Shaya from Ulpenat Lehava. These panelists suggested important nuggets for thought regarding a healthy balance between the proper attitude to have towards one’s body and to the all important principle of modesty, including tzniyut in dress.
In reflection, the issues which were raised that day had repercussions and are continuing to reverberate in the halls of the college now as they did then.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Orot Family Updates

Mazal tov to:

Daniella(Citron) Burstain(5756)  upon the birth of her twin sons, to Yoni(Cantor) Wiseman(5756)  and Michal (Katz) Reinitz(5764) upon births of their sons.

Sharon(Myers) Blumberg(5756), Tamar (Chaimovitch )Chaitowitz(5759) ,Clara (Manson) Singer(5760)and  Kelly (Ekstein) Rosenstein(5761)  upon the births of their daughters.

Mazal tov to Tamara Frankel (5765) upon her recent marriage to Zach Silver.

Mazal Tov to Dana Adler (5765) upon her recent engagement to Shiron Lev-Ron.

Mazal Tov to Rabbi Aviad and Debra Tabory(5751) upon the Bat Mitzva of their daughter and to Deena( Block) Selengut(5754) & Vivianne(Wenger) Korach(5756) upon the Bar Mitzvot of their sons.