Joel Lurie Grishaver
Over the past couple of weeks at least seven gay, lesbian, and transgender students have committed suicide (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/39593311/ns/us_news-life). The biggest response has been actualized by the Trevor Project (http://www.thetrevorproject.org/) a hotline for LGBT teenagers. The issue has been one of bullying. I may have missed it, but I have seen no Jewish response to the situation. If I haven’t seen it, please let me know about it.
Idie Benjamin and Dale Sides Cooperman
It is a given that on Fridays in Jewish early childhood programs, the school “does” Shabbat. We wonder why? Why do we “do” Shabbat?
All other areas of our early childhood curricula are is open to total scrutiny. Is each particular theme/unit appropriate for these children? Is it meaningful? Will there be opportunities for in depth, appropriate exploration, learning and understanding? Can they engage with it? What will the child learn from this focus? What will the child learn about him/herself from it? What will the children bring to this learning? Whose idea is this theme? Are the learning opportunities teacher-directed or children-initiated?
I enjoyed teaching at many orientation days this season. And, whenever I showed a piece of child’s artwork about experiencing Shabbat at home, a teacher would ask, “But, what if your students don’t ‘do’ Shabbat at home?” I have come to expect this question. It makes me wonder about what ‘doing’ Shabbat means, since Shabbat is a day of ‘not doing.’ Perhaps we should begin to teach about embracing Shabbat, instead of ‘doing’ Shabbat because today’s families are so busy that they cannot hear about one more thing to ‘do,’ even if we are talking about Shabbat. To begin to change this dynamic, to invite Shabbat into our families’ homes, we must make our Shabbat learning magical.