Tuesday, February 08, 2011

American Jewish University News

From AJU.edu:

Learn & Explore at AJU

* Power of Jewish Films 2
February 12, 8:00PM
* History of the Jews of Greece
February 13, 1:00PM-4:00PM
* On Broadway
February 13, 4:00PM
* The Jews of Siberia
February 13, 5:30PM-9:30PM
* One is a Lonely Number: Jews and Polygamy
February 14, 10:00AM - 12:00PM
* Is there an Afterlife?
February 15, 7:30PM
* A Jew Grows in Brooklyn
February 16, 17, 19, 20, 22
23, 24, 26, 27 March 1, 2, 3,5 and 6, 7:30PM
* Cooking With Judy
February 23, 10:00AM - 1:00PM
* What Do We Know About the REAL David and Solomon, the Most Glorious Kings of Ancient Israel, and How Do We Know It?
February 27, 9:30AM - 4:30PM
* Latin American Jewish Music
February 28, 7:30PM - 9:00PM
* Young Artist Concert/Luncheon Series
March 01, 11:00AM
* Girls (and Men, too) Just Want to Have Fun
March 6, 11:00AM
* Self-Defense for Women and Teens
March 6, 12:30PM - 4:30PM
* Shabbat Dinner with Author Meir Shalev
March 11, 6:45PM
* Imagine: A Visual Arts Exhibit
March 13 - March 27,
* Cooking With Judy
March 16, 10:00AM - 1:00PM
* Women's Weekend at Brandeis
Friday through Sunday,
March 25 - 27
* The Radical Religious Right and the Jews
March 27, 5:30PM - 9:30PM
* Not Your Parent's Comics: Graphic Literature for Today's Readers
April 3, 10:00AM - 3:00PM
* A Funny Thing Happened at AJU
April 3, 4:00PM
* Terrorism in the Middle East
May 1, 4:00PM

Read More

Is There an Afterlife?

It is certain to be an exciting event on February 15 when four eminent scholars, each distinguished in their own way, will share their thoughts on the timeless question - is there an afterlife? The panel consists of Christopher Hitchens, author of God is Not Great, Rabbi David Wolpe, author of Why Faith Matters, Sam Harris, author of Letter to a Christian Nation and Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson, author of The Everyday Torah. Rob Eshman, Editor-in Chief of The Jewish Journal will moderate this stellar panel.

Hitchens and Harris are both champions of the New Atheism movement. According to CNN "... New Atheists share a belief that religion should not simply be tolerated but should be countered, criticized and exposed by rational argument wherever its influence arises." Hitchens, an English-American author and journalist whose books, essays, and journalistic career span more than four decades is both lauded and criticized for his confrontational style. Harris holds a Ph.D. in neuroscience from UCLA and is a graduate in philosophy from Stanford University. He studied both Eastern and Western religious traditions, along with a variety of contemplative disciplines.

Rabbi Wolpe is the spiritual leader of Temple Sinai in Los Angeles and Rabbi Artson is the Abner and Roslyn Goldstine Dean's Chair at AJU's Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies. They are both considered leaders in the Conservative Judaism movement. The event, which is almost sold out, will be held at the Wadsworth Theatre in Westwood at 7:30P.M. For more information or to purchase tickets for $45, please call (310) 440.1246 or visit wcce.ajula.edu.

Graduate Center for Education Students Honored

Students and alumni of AJU's Graduate Center for Education (GCE) are often acknowledged for the impact they make on students and the community. This past January, at the Religious School Education Conference sponsored by the Bureau of Jewish Education, two students currently in the GCE program received awards for excellence in teaching. To receive these awards the teachers must meet certain criteria including motivating the students to perform at their highest level, a commitment to excellence and Jewish values, a dedication to teaching and learning, implementing innovative practices, building partnerships with the parents and community and serving as a role model.

Dana Fridman, a student in the Working Professionals Program, was presented with the Sara and Simha Lainer award for excellence in teaching, which comes with an unrestricted prize of $2,500. Fridman, a teacher in both the religious and day schools at Stephen S. Wise Temple (SSW), was selected to implement the school's pilot program, iLearn, which is a Hebrew School distance learning model - a virtual classroom. According to Rabbi Melissa Buyer, Director of Religious School, Youth and Camp Programs for SSW, selecting Fridman to pilot the program "had everything to do with Fridman's attending AJU's Graduate Center for Education and her unparalleled passion for Jewish Education and building community among the students in her class."

Amir Orbach, a first year student in AJU's Graduate Center for Education, received the Smotrich Award for Novice Teachers, which comes with a $1,000 prize for the teacher and $500 for his school. To qualify for this award one must have a minimum of two years teaching experience, but not more than five. Amir teaches fourth and fifth grade Hebrew and Judaica and serves as youth director and assistant to the director of education at Congregation Tikvat Jacob (CTJ) in Manhattan Beach. Rabbi Mark Hyman, Senior Rabbi at CTJ told us that, "Amir brings an enthusiasm and focus to all aspects of his position at CTJ and shows great promise of becoming a master Jewish educator".

AJU's Graduate Center for Education is recognized for the superb training it provides in the field of Jewish education, ranking it among the finest graduate programs in the country. Dr. Miriam Heller Stern, Dean, and Lauren Applebaum, Associate Dean, are often requested to make presentations at Jewish education conferences. In the coming weeks, they will be speaking in Philadelphia, San Francisco and Las Vegas.