Joel Lurie Grishaver
Haidt, Jonathan. 2012. The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion. USA. Pantheon Books
I was raised in an education world where Jean Piaget was the sun. In that universe, Dr. Lawrence Kohlberg was the monarch of Moral Development. Much of my own work in Jewish values was predicated on Kohlberg. This essay is, in a way, a chance to begin again.
Jonathan Haidt is a moral psychologist who studies the way the brain actually makes decisions. His new book, The Righteous Mind, is a look at ethical decision-making in light of brain science. The book is built on three metaphors. The first of the three is “The mind is divided like a rider on an elephant and the rider’s job is to serve the elephant. Think the evolved brain resting on the crocodile brain.
Ira J. Wise
There have been a number of articles and a bit of buzz about making religious school more like camp. My teacher Jeffrey Kress wrote “So, You Want Your School To Be More Like Camp?” back in March. My camp counselor and colleague Roberta Louis Goodman has created “Camp NSCI” for the 3rd and 4th graders at North Shore Congregation Israel in suburban Chicago:
“Camp NSCI with its ruach (spirit) interpreting Torah through drama games and film making, and cool materials for visual arts, Hebrew chuggim (electives) that have included sports, cooking, smartboard, computers, ipads, yoga, games, singing, visual arts and more!”
And even one of my congregants, who grew up at Camp Ramah has asked for our music curriculum to become more like his camp memories (I think we are almost there, Ted!).
Idie Benjamin & Dale Sides Cooperman
We know. We know that a child’s Jewish identity should be nurtured. We know that dancing on Simhat Torah, lighting Shabbat candles, giving tzedakah, saying te Shema, knowing who Rebecca, Joseph, Moses, and King David are, and understanding that the Israeli flag belongs to all of us brings meaning and values to a child and his or her family’s life. We know that these examples of some of the elements that can make up a Jewish identity are important for the development of a Jewish child and for the development of the whole child. We know that one “ingredient” feeds another; raise a Jewish child and you raise a Jewish family.
We now know is that all this also develops a special kind of parent. Research now affirms what we always knew.