A teacher teaches Hebrew teaching materials for students, not just for religious instruction
Posted On July 19, 2021
Teacher’s materials are becoming increasingly important to American schools as the country prepares for the 2020 Census, and it seems that many Jewish educators feel the same way.
In an interview with a local newspaper, Rabbi David Rosenbaum, the executive director of the Jewish Leadership Council, explained that Jewish educators have long been trying to create the same kind of material that secular teachers use in classrooms: materials that help students understand their religious heritage, which can then be used as a tool to communicate with their parents and community.
Rosenbaum told the Jewish Daily Forward that the materials are often used in Jewish day schools, synagogues, and yeshivas to help students become comfortable with their faith and understand its values.
The materials also help teach students about the Hebrew Bible, which Rosenbaum said is a very important text for Jewish students.
The teacher’s materials, like those for the Christian-inspired “Jewish History Month” (also known as “Jewish Summer”), teach about the Jewish past, Rosenbaum explained.
And Rosenbaum noted that the Hebrew-themed materials are not just used to teach the Bible; they also serve as the basis for other classes in the curriculum.
The Jewish Leadership Councillor, whose position is to “help make the Jewish community more diverse and inclusive,” said that while he believes that the religious texts should be used to inform the classroom, it should not be the sole means to do so.
The rabbi told the Forward that teachers in his community have tried to create a “biblical” understanding of the Hebrew language and the Bible that would help Jewish students better understand what their religious identity is.
However, Rosenba noted that he does not believe that this is an easy task.
Rosenba said that his congregation is working with educators across the country to create curricula that are not only secular, but also include an appreciation for the Jewish heritage of the country.
Rosenbays teaching materials include a book on the Hebrew Scriptures, a booklet on the Bible, and a book about the Talmud.
Rosenbach said that some teachers have also created books about other religious texts.
The American Jewish Committee, a nonprofit organization that provides scholarships to Jewish students and Jewish-American students, estimates that the amount of Jewish-based education in the United States has grown by 50 percent over the last 15 years.
Rosenfeld said that, as more and more students come into the public schools, the demand for Jewish-centric curriculum and materials is growing.
“What I’m seeing is an increase in the demand from Jewish students for more and better Jewish learning materials,” Rosenfeld told the newspaper.
In the past, Rabbi Rosenbaum has used Hebrew teaching to help Jewish families navigate the Jewish calendar and celebrate the Jewish holidays.
However of late, the rabbi has become increasingly concerned that the growing demand for these materials has led to an erosion of the secular Jewish curriculum, and he is hoping to help alleviate that situation.
Rosenstein told the publication that he believes the growing secular demand for religious materials has a negative impact on the secular curriculum.
“I do believe that what we are doing in the public school system is creating an environment where the secular community is at a disadvantage,” Rosenbaum argued.
“And I’m not trying to say that there is not something to be gained from this because there is, but it’s just that I believe there is a need to have the secular education materials that are available.”
Rosenbaum also argued that the current secular curriculum has been successful in teaching Jewish students about their religion.
“This curriculum is really teaching children about the faith in a secular way, and I think that’s good for them,” he told the paper.
The Israeli rabbi also noted that this new demand for the religious materials could be harmful to Jewish schools in the long term, as the Jewish students have a difficult time adjusting to the secular classroom environment.
Rosenberts statement to the Forward follows a similar statement he made earlier this year when he spoke at the United Jewish Organizations annual convention.
He noted that there are already Jewish schools that are using Jewish learning material in the classroom.
Rosenbrott stated that while his organization supports the use of secular learning materials, the real challenge is to ensure that the Jewish curriculum is balanced with the secular.
Rosenbrook told the press that the problem is that there were a lot of Jewish students in American Jewish day camps that didn’t even have the opportunity to do this.
“There are a lot more kids than we are providing the secular materials that we need to make sure that the secular school environment is not only inclusive but also reflective of Jewish identity,” Rosenbrot told the news outlet.
The rabbinical organization’s statement came as a result of the Supreme Court’s ruling in the case of Grinnell v.
Bollinger, which was about a secular day school in Ohio that used religious materials to teach Jewish history.
The court ruled that the school’s use of religious materials was not allowed under the First Amendment because it was “substantially identical