Trading Technology for Top Teachers Isn't the Answer

They say that doing the same thing over and over again, while expecting a different result, is the definition of insanity.? “They” are not always right, but when it comes to how we spend money on public education in this country, they may be. We spend a great deal of money on education in this country – both in total, and on a per student basis – and over the last 40 years, that number has doubled.? With all that, we are not getting the results we need and kids are not......

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Syria Action: Moral Progress?

Keeping track of the Syria crisis these past couple of weeks has one’s head spinning. In a span of days we have seen the following: The President unilaterally ordering the bombing of Syria for crossing the red line of using chemical weapons, The President delaying military action, ceding presidential power and seeking approval from Congress, The American people?- tired after the failures of Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya?- decisively rejecting military involvement, The President on the brink of not getting approval from Congress, Secretary Kerry’s offhand remark about Syria getting rid of all......

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Yom Kippur: The Truth About One's Truths

Yom Kippur is the most sacred day in the Jewish calendar. Simply put, it is a day-long exercise in Reality Therapy. For 25 hours or so, the practice is to neither eat nor drink, nor make love, nor enjoy the comforts and conveniences of life – be it a shower or a smart phone – but to reflect and contemplate our mortality, to feel deeply there is no guarantee that we (or anyone in our life) will even be here tomorrow, to be on our deathbed but be fully conscious. Have you......

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Does Poverty Destroy Families, or Is it the Demise of Family that Increases Poverty?

We know that the gaps in both earning and in education are widening in America.? A new Ohio State University study by Zhenchao Qian, Divergent Paths of American Families, suggests that the two are closely related: those possessing better educations and greater earnings are more likely to live in two parent stable families, and those with less education and money are less likely to get married, or stay married, and have kids being raised by only one, or even no, parents. The analysis and commentary of the study run toward the assumption......

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Remembering 9/11

I live in New York City. Two friends, including someone at whose wedding I had recently been the rabbi, died in the World Trade Center on 9/11. The acrid smell came through my apartment windows for days and sacred ashes, which I wiped away with tears, fell on my window sills for weeks. That day, my children who were 13 and 10 could not get home from school because the subways were closed. They have grown up in the shadow of 9/11 and the fog of war. The world seems far less......

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The Reward of Regret: Why Looking Back Can Actually Help Us Look Forward

Thank God for regret. Yes, that is right. Regret has become one of my most important sources of wisdom. Though, I can’t yet say I look forward to the inevitable feelings of regret that arise?- when I miss an opportunity or worse, when I do something I am ashamed of?- I can honestly say that regret does not mess me up anymore. Regret seems to be built into our human condition, for none of us lives up to our ideals completely. It isn’t only that we act less well towards others than......

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And the Happiest Nation in the World Is...

No, it’s not Disneyland, though they do issue passports.? The “correct” answer is Denmark, followed in descending order by Norway, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Sweden.? And just to make sure that the likely readers of these thoughts don’t get too depressed by worrying about being at the bottom of the list, Rwanda, Burundi, the Central African Republic, Benin and Togo — all nations in Sub-Saharan Africa – are bottom 5, so no worries there…unless of course you live in one of those countries.? The US?? Number 17.? For added texture, Canada came......

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Not Just Now: Being Smart About 'Present Shock'

If you’re like me, your smartphone has become your boss. More than I care to admit, I am barraged by an onslaught of pings, and I find myself obsessively checking (if not chasing) every text, email, tweet, Facebook status and myriad updates I get throughout the day. Unplugging is the answer for some. But not everyone. I’ll share a coping tip: The book Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now,?by media theorist Douglas Rushkoff, has changed my life. With great insight, the author explores how being always on (always connected) affects our behavior,......

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The Blessing of Desire

One of the keys to a flourishing life is to understand how our desires work. The strange thing about our desires – whether for love, happiness, truth, self-awareness, to be ethical, to be creative – is that our most important desires can never fully be realized once and for all. No matter how much we are loved (or love) we can never really be loved enough (or love enough). No matter how self aware we are we can never (and ought never) banish all self-doubt. However happy we are we will suffer......

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Educating For What?

What is education for?? THAT, it seems to me, is the most important question when it comes to the question of education – and one about which we think to little.? Instead, we fight as a nation about our educational system (as if there is one unified system) “slipping” or worse, “falling apart”.? And in the world of religious or cultural education — be it confirmation classes, Bible school, Hebrew school, or private religious schools – there is endless panic about what’s not working, even though there is precious little clarity about......

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