01 July 2009

Third Day of YCT Yemei Iyun in Bible & Jewish Thought

Yesterday was the third and last day of the YCT Yemei Iyun in Bible and Jewish Thought and, just as in previous years, the first two days (day one & day two) were devoted to Bible and the third to Jewish thought (for instance, last year). Dr. Scott Goldberg speaking There was offered four tracks: Miracles in Jewish Thought, Thought of Rav Zadok, Social Action in Jewish Thought, Philosophy of Jewish Education and I ended up attending three sessions all in the last of those four tracks.
The first session I attended was Dr. Scott Goldberg speaking on "Views of Teaching and Learning: From TaNaKH to Modern Times", which was good - very well put together and Dr. Goldberg came across very articulately.Rabbi Jack Bieler speaking
The second session I attended was Rabbi Jack Bieler, who spoke on "A Vision of Modern Orthodox Education", which seemed to me to offer an obvious proposition, for the most part, that, in a Modern Orthodox day school, the curricula ought to be integrated, such that there is not a bifurcation of areas of study between the general studies and Jewish studies. However, it seemed that the room was primarily composed of teachers and it seems that that is not how it actually is(!), so they all liked this idea and were discussing various experiences they had had along these lines.,
Rabbi Aryeh Klapper speakingThe third [and last] session I attended was Rabbi Aryeh Klapper, who spoke on "What is the Purpose of Teaching Talmud?", which was great. I am glad I had that session at the end, because (no disrespect to any of the other presenters) Rabbi Klapper is my favorite presenter and on such an interesting topic. He started out knocking down the usual answers given to the question and, aside from the pragmatic answer of that's part of the culture, suggested a new idea, which I do not feel worthy of trying to paraphrase in this space, but hope to find a direct quote....
I think that, once again, the program was successful and I enjoyed the speakers and atmosphere tremendously. Although the building was chilly the first two days, it was sorted out on the third day. I wished it was back in Manhattan, as it had been last year, since it would make it easier to reach for us folks living in New York City, but, oh well.... Although on the first day I saw no fellow YCT students or graduates, on day two, I spotted several other graduates and that held for this last day, as well. The only current YCT student present was one who was presenting on that last day. Wherever I end up next year, I hope I am able to make it in for this program once again - it is a unique atmosphere of educators and rabbis who are quite knowledgeable on these topics.