Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Unit Studies the Jewish way

This thematically based approach to teaching is a very versatile tool for educating in a home environment. It allows for integration of many disciplines and ideas. It can be adopted for students of various ages studying the same subject. By learning about something from many different angles and in depth it can create a greater impact on the student and lead to in depth understanding of the subject at hand. The possibilities are really infinite. One can use anything of interest as a starting point and branch out further and further in one's explorations. So one can pick a subject of interest and then relate it to art, math, science, history, etc. Our sages teach us that everything is in the Torah. It never ceases to delight me of how every possible subject can be taught and learned through the prism of the Torah. It's not surprising because Torah describes the essence of reality. So the Torah has something to say on medicine, ecology, music, mathematics, art, science, community and urban planning, psychology, history, geography, etc . So here is a great link to innernet with a myriad of articles on all these various subjects.

Do it with soul

Whatever one does in life is worth doing with soul. After all isn't it what we are here for? So here is a popular Carlbach niggun, unsurprisingly called Niggun Neshama (A soul Tune,)sung by Shlomo Katz. To soulful living, doing and singing!!! I dedicate this post to someone very much connected to my soul, you know who you are:) Enjoy!!!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

A heir raising experience

A heir raising experience often involves many hair raisng ones. I read it attributed to the Steipler Gaon that the formula for success in chinuch (education of children) is 50% prayer and 50% shalom bayis (marital harmony and peace in the home). Rabbi Dan Roth in his book, Relevance, very aptly points out that we often get angry at our children, because after all we've done and are constantly doing for them, we expect to be able to control them. But ultimately we cannot control another person even our own spouse or child, we can however control our reactions and how we apply ourselves to personal growth. This idea is really very empowering. We don't have to feel totally helpless and at a loss. There is something concrete we can do. We should concentrate our efforts in the areas where we can do something to make things better and with that Hashem should bless our endeavors and we should merit to see much nachas from our children. We have to try to model to the best of our abilities the kind of people we would want our children to become. They won't necessarily turn out exactly like we envision in every detail, but as long as we've transmitted our values and set them firmly on the true path I think we can consider that a successful mission.

Here are a few of my favorite books on the subject of prayer and shalom bayis.
The Art of Jewish prayer by Rabbi Yitzchak Kirzner and Lisa Aiken
Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch on Siddur and Tehillim

Marriage and Shalom Bayis:
Dear Daughter By Rabbi Eliyahu Goldschmidt
Dear Son By Rabbi Eliyahu Goldschmidt
A Committed Marriage by Rebetzin Esther Jungreis
Woman to Woman by Rebetzin Esther Greenberg

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

How relevant!!!

Here is an amazing book I read recently by Rabbi Dan Roth, it's called Relevance -Pirkei Avos for the 21st century. It shows the real depth and breadth of Torah wisdom as demonstrated in Pirkei Avos (the Ethics of the Fathers) and how it applies to many facets of modern life. It covers among other things the significance of various life stages and the spiritual journey, human relationships, communication, the psychology of friendship and much, much more. There are enough lessons, mussar, psychology, interdisiplinary ideas, etc in there for a couple of lifetimes. The above link will take you to the book website with an excerpt, reviews, blurbs,etc. Enjoy!!!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A song in my heart

Here is a beautiful song from Yosef Karduner together with beautiful scenery too. My antidote to news. Hashem is the One watching over the Jewish people, just look at all the rain we've been getting here:) So don't let politics and international hostility get you down. Adar is a fortuitous and happy time for us. Chodesh Adar Tov, Kodesh, Mevorach V'Sameach!!!