Friday, April 26, 2013

Multiple Intelligences?
We've Known About Them Since Sinai!

My friend and Teacher Raphael Zarum taught me that the Hagadah is nothing more than a teachers guide for teaching about Yetziat Mitzrayim - the Exodus from Egypt. He brilliantly pointed out that traditional Hagadot do not actually contain the original version from Exodus, while spending a great deal of time teaching how others have taught the story - like the five rabbis in B'nei Brak, hiding underground from Hadrian's legions.

I and others have long taught the the four children (sons if you insist) in the Pesach Hagadah are there to teach us about how we need to teach the story of the Exodus to each learner in the way they will best understand. Howard Gardner came along and gave this concept a name: Multiple Intelligences.

The Jewish Week has a newish blog called The New Normal. In this week's edition, Rabbi Daniel Grossman (a wonderful teacher I know from CAJE conferences) drashes on this week's parsha, Emor, and brings a similar lesson that takes us even deeper. Enjoy, comment and Shabbat Shalom!
Even God, even at Sinai,
spoke differently to the priests and to the people. Fotolia

Moses Taught the Priests One Way, The People Another

In this week's Torah portion, Emor, we find this sentence in the very beginning:

“And the Lord spoke to Moses: Speak to the priest, the sons of Aaron and speak to them . . .” (Leviticus 21:1)
The Rabbis in the Talmud ask the question, “Why is the word ‘speak’ used twice? If every word of the Torah is significant, why does the word speak appeartwice, when once would be enough?”

Thursday, April 18, 2013

65 More Things I Love About Israel

Benji Lovett,
a really funny guy!
My friend and colleague Robyn Faintich introduced me to comedian and oleh Benji Lovitt when we were in Israel at the Lookstein Center at Bar Ilan on the Jim Joseph Fellowship. He is really funny over kubeh soup and chumus. I have yet to see him on stage, but I hear he really kills there as well! Since making aliyah in 2006, Benji has published his list of reasons why he loves Israel every year. Some of the things he lists are funny to all of us. Others will only be funny to insiders - people who live in Israel or visit a lot. I consider it my duty - and I hope yours - to focus on the ones that I don't quite get and to make that a focus of my next visit or phone call. If I truly want to be connected, I need to learn why its funny. I realize some things may require aliyah. It is good to have challenges. This was published for Yom Ha'atzmaut at the Times of Israel

Benji Lovitt has performed stand-up comedy for groups including Hillels, Masa Israel Journey, Birthright Israel, the Jewish Federations of North America, and more. His perspectives on aliyah and life in Israel have been featured on Israeli television, radio, and in print media. For a stand-up comedy show or educational workshop about Israeli society, contact him at

It’s that time of year again, when comedian Benji Lovitt lists things he loves about Israel, and this year’s list (all new, every year) is 65 things long in honor of Israel’s 65th birthday. Enjoy, share the love, and Happy Independence Day from The Times of Israel!
  1. I love that 45 minutes is considered a long drive in this tiny country but that people will drive three hours to Acco to eat at Chumus Said.
  2. I love Tel Aviv babes riding scooters. Chicks-on-bikes: like disk-on-key but with skirts.
  3. I love that the Neot Kdumim Biblical Reserve teaches team-building and leadership via shepherding goats and sheep.