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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

The Death of Education?

By Rabbi Yonason Goldson





Why do parents prefer to cripple their children for life rather than prepare them for success?

JewishWorldReview.com | What's going on in the world of medicine? Find the best doctors and ask them. What is the state of the legal profession? Gather the most respected jurists and see what they say. Where are we headed with our education system? Ask Gerald J. Conti.

Or just listen to what he has to say in these excerpts from his letter to the Superintendent of Westhill Central School District in Syracuse, New York.


Dear Board of Education Members:

It is with the deepest regret that I must retire at the close of this school year, ending my more than twenty-seven years of service at Westhill… I have been touched by and hope that I have touched hundreds of lives in my time here. I know that I have been fortunate to work with a small core of some of the finest students and educators on the planet.

I came to teaching forty years ago this month and have been lucky enough to work at a small liberal arts college, a major university and this superior secondary school. To me, history has been so very much more than a mere job, it has truly been my life.

With regard to my profession, I have truly attempted to live John Dewey's famous quotation that, "Education is not preparation for life, education is life itself." This type of total immersion is what I have always referred to as teaching "heavy," working hard, spending time, researching, attending to details and never feeling satisfied that I knew enough on any topic. I now find that this approach to my profession is not only devalued, but denigrated and perhaps, in some quarters despised. "[D]ata driven" education seeks only conformity, standardization, testing and a zombie-like adherence to the shallow and [the] generic.

My profession is being demeaned by a pervasive atmosphere of distrust, [and] I realize that I am not leaving my profession, in truth, it has left me. It no longer exists.

Sincerely and with regret,

Gerald J. Conti
Social Studies Department Leader

Mr. Conti recounts a litany of problems arising from the unwillingness of administrators to defend educational values against the relentless pressure of ideology and political correctness. But the problem does not begin with administrators; it begins with parents, parents with egos so utterly dependent on the perception of success that they prefer to cripple their children for life rather than hold them accountable for living up to standards that will prepare them for genuinely successful lives and careers.


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It is difficult to fathom the lengths to which people will go to tear down educators and their institutions when, by doing so, they can deflect from themselves responsibility for their children's poor performance, attitudes, or behaviors. No form of malicious gossip, character assassination, or outright slander is taboo, even from individuals occupying the highest levels of communal leadership.

History offers tragic examples of the damage inflicted on individuals and whole communities through irresponsible speech. Innuendo, exaggeration, and outright lies, repeated often enough, seep into the consciousness of even the most well-intentioned people, until the damage eventually becomes irreversible. Rabbi Yisroel Meir Kagan, one the Jewish luminaries of the last century, spent his life combating the destructive influence of evil speech. What would he say if he could witness the treatment of educators in our generation?

Perhaps this is what King David had in mind when he penned the opening verse in his Book of Psalms:

Fortunate is the person who does not walk according to the counsel of the wicked, who does not stand in the ways of iniquity, and who does not sit in the company of scorners.

David lived a life defined by mistreatment at the hands of others, unjustly shunned by his family, hunted down by his king, betrayed by his own flesh and blood. Yet he never wavered in his commitment to the ways of righteousness and never compromised the values of his faith.

And in the end, it was David who established an eternal dynasty, while the wicked who rallied against him followed the path to oblivion that they carved out for themselves.

The period between Passover and Shavuos, between our commemoration of the Exodus from Egypt and the acceptance of the Torah at Sinai, is called Sefiras Ha-omer. During these days, we count each day and each week, reminding ourselves that success comes through constant effort and sincere dedication to noble ideals that transform us from selfish individuals into a people with one heart and one soul. During this same period, we mourn the deaths of 24 thousand scholars who died because they failed to rise to the occasion, because their erudition did not adequately translate into love and respect for one another.

Throughout these days, let us carefully consider the company we keep, and let us contemplate the danger to our children and our communities when we allow misguided people to define the culture of our society.

Read Mr. Conti's full letter here.


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JWR contributor Rabbi Yonason Goldson teaches at Block Yeshiva High School in St. Louis, MO, where he also writes and lectures. He is author of Dawn to Destiny: Exploring Jewish History and its Hidden Wisdom, an overview of Jewish philosophy and history from Creation through the compilation of the Talmud, now available from Judaica Press. Visit him at http://torahideals.com .






© 2013, Rabbi Yonason Goldson