I Only Teach Math

Posted on November 2, 2010

Earlier today Areyvut participated in the annual conference of the New Jersey Association of Jewish Day Schools (NJAJDS). We had a booth to highlight our work and were talking with schools about bringing Areyvut and our programs to their schools and Shira Hammerman, Areyvut’s Educational Consultant gave a session on Connecting to the Land of Israel through Chesed Programs.

As someone passed by my table she stopped and asked what is Areyvut. When I started to explain it to her what Areyvut is all about she said “I only teach math” and walked away. It was unfortunate. Here is a Jewish teacher who teaches in a prominent local Jewish day school who feels that math has nothing to do with values and chesed.

Match can easily be incorporated into many chesed projects while still teaching math and the concepts the class needs to grasp. If a school is doing a food drive (and I selected this example because every school I know does one) the math teacher can do problems about the number of calories a person needs to eat in a day, how a family of four can live on $22,500 including housing, food, clothes, transportation, etc. Learning To Give has lessons that teachers can use, adapt or modify as necessary.

At Shira’s session she noted that Connecting to the Land of Israel through Chesed Programs is not only for Judaic Studies teachers and can and should be done by the General Studies teachers as well. Doing so makes it more effective, organic, natural and shows the students that chesed is not only part of Judaic Studies.

Ever since I started Areyvut in September 2002, I have said that this type of programming is best when it is connected to the curriculum and done in an interdisciplinary way. Schools and educators do a disservice when we make these programs and values the purview of only Judaic Studies.

If you want to get a copy of Shira’s presentation and/or if you want to bring Areyvut to present to your school, synagogue or community just let me know.

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