Friday, December 1, 2017 / 13 Kislev, 5778

December 1, 2017
Do you know someone 
who loves golfing for a good cause?

The March of the Living at CAJE could not afford
to offer the March in this community
without the monies raised by the Friends of the March.
This is their biggest fundraiser of the year.

Please pass this info on to a golfer you know!!!
Valerie Mitrani
Director of Day School Strategy and Initiatives, CAJE Miami
Julie Lambert
Senior Educational Consultant, CAJE Miami
Gary Hartstein
Director, DigitalJLearning Network

Today's educational system is striving to be student-centered and dynamic, supported by articulated standards, student data, high quality curriculum and instruction, with access to multiple technologies to support student learning. To meet the needs of this generation of learners, we must build capacity for problem-solving, collaboration, effective communication, and critical thinking.
JBlend Miami is responding to this challenge by building and leveraging resources, experience, and expertise to support local Jewish day schools in shifting the paradigm of teaching and learning, resulting in increased teacher and student engagement.  JBlend Miami is working to enhance the quality of student learning by increasing school capacity to meet the needs of 21st century learners. This includes personalizing learning through the modality of blended learning.
There are a few essential characteristics of JBlend Miami:
As a result of the Center for Advancement of Jewish Education (CAJE)'s vision and leadership over the last 10 years, the  Miami Jewish day school community has become a professional learning community with a shared commitment to high-quality, standards-based learning for teachers and students. JBlend is the latest community-wide, systemic initiative that brings together day school leaders, teachers, and instructional coaches for shared content learning. Relationships have been developed with local funders to invest in initiatives. Trust is fostered on several levels: within each school, among the schools, between the schools and the central agency, and between the central agency and local funders.
JBlend is a local-national collaboration that builds on this culture of professional learning and a sharing of experiences and expertise. Now in its second full year of implementation, JBlend officially launched in the fall of 2015 after nearly two years of planning. The program was developed and is being implemented by  CAJE-Miami, in partnership with the DigitalJLearning Network (DJLN) of The Jewish Education ProjectCAJE's experience providing professional learning and leadership development to educators and schools, combined with DJLN's experience helping schools implement learning-driven technology and personalized/blended learning, came together in a "perfect storm." With support from The AVI CHAI Foundation, the Greater Miami Jewish Federation, and local funders, the two organizations are joining forces to help day schools in Miami bring about sustainable, learning-driven change.
Intentional Program Design 

JBlend Miami is comprised of three main phases:
  • Phase I - Community Readiness and Buy-in (January - June 2015)
CAJE first shared plans for the multi-year program with local school leaders, and identified schools that were interested in participating; those schools were invited to formally apply...
  • Phase II - Blended and Online Learning Academy (September 2015 -June 2016)
Each school designated a school leadership team comprised of administrators and teachers to participate in a year-long academy...
At the end of Phase 2, schools were guided through the development of implementation plans for the coming academic year. Each school was encouraged to identify a problem of practice and articulate goals and objectives related to that challenge.  Each leadership team then clearly identified the implementation steps needed for teachers to utilize blended/personalized learning to meet those goals.
  • Phase III - Implementation (current school year)
Four JBlend schools each received $40,000 for implementation. Individual schools have varying goals, but overall each school is expected to connect their project with improved student achievement and/or engagement...
Building Capacity Throughout the System
Critical to the success of a new pedagogic approach is taking the time to build capacity within the leaders and the students. Personalized learning changes the rules of the game from traditional teaching. It requires the system to allow teachers to learn new skills, experiment, and be deliberate about change. As we like to say in JBlend, "We go slow to go faster."
Student agency over learning changes in this model, and students need to learn how to function with more responsibility and self-determination - a concept that is unfamiliar to most of them. JBlend Miami invests in all levels of the system by designing a team academy learning approach that includes teachers, coaches, and administrators who are responsible for setting the vision and the outcomes. Shared language and knowledge allows each school team to design and plan for experimental initiatives, starting small in singular classrooms and building out to the bigger system.
What started as a weekend with a group of teenagers who barely knew each other, ended as a weekend in which Cohort 5 of the Diller Teen Fellows felt bonded, part of the Diller community, and excited for what the rest of their Fellowship year has in store.
Over the weekend of November 17-19, Cohort 5 of Diller Miami participated in their Jewish Identity Shabbaton at Gold Coast Camp in Lake Worth, Florida. Throughout the Shabbaton, they dug deeper into what their overall and Jewish identities mean to them, something most of them had never done before.

The Fellows learned about the Amidah through a creative movement activity, discussing about what prayer means to them and how and why they do or do not connect to it. They wrestled with their questions about Parshat Toldotthe weekly Torah portion, and if they thought Jacob or Esau was the "right one" in the story. They celebrated Shabbat together and participated in rituals such as Kiddush and Havdalah, which some of the Fellows had never experience beforeand others had not in quite a while. And of course, they were introduced to some special Diller traditions that will continue at workshops and Shabbatonim in the future.
During the Shabbaton, the Fellows also participated in team building and bonding activities, as well as had the first chance in the program to test their leadership skills and plan programming for one another. They concluded the weekend on Sunday morning by making a video introducing themselves to the Yerucham Diller Teen Fellows and a program about what facets would make up their ideal Jewish community and how they can work toward this during their time in Diller and in the years to come as future Jewish leaders in this community. 
The Fellows of Cohort 5 of Diller Miami are a group of highly motivated teens who are excited to continue their leadership and identity development during the rest of their year in the program.

Words of Wisdom 
by Rabbi Efrat Zarren-Zohar
This week's Dvar Torah for Parashat Vayishlach was written by Rabbi Laura Geller and published in The Torah: A Women's Commentary
edited by Tamara Cohn Eskenazi and Andrea L. Weiss
(New York: URJ Press and Women of Reform Judaism, 2008).


The Silence of Dinah and Other Rape Victims

The Bible focuses on Jacob's and his son's reactions, 
but not on those of the victim herself.
After 20 years, Jacob is coming home. Anticipating that the reunion with the brother he cheated all those years ago will be disastrous, he sends messengers laden with presents ahead to his brother.
But just to be on the safe side, he divides his camp in order to minimize the losses should he come under attack. The story continues: "That same night, he got up, took his two wives, his two maidservants, and his 11 children, and crossed at a ford of the Jabbok [river]. ... Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him" (32:23-25). The nocturnal wrestler wounds and blesses him and gives him a new name-our name: Yisrael, one who wrestles with God. Jacob's wrestling with God is a powerful image and legacy. We never know with whom Jacob is wrestling: is it himself, his conscience, his brother, God, or all of these parts of himself and of his life? Jacob names the place "Peniel," meaning "Face of God," for, as he states, "I have seen God face-to-face" (32:31). Somehow, alone, separated from his "two wives" and his "eleven children," Jacob discovers the face of God in his adversary - and Jacob is blessed.

Eleven children cross the river? But Jacob already at this point has 12 children. What about Dinah, his daughter? What happened to her? Rashi, quoting a midrash, explains: "He placed her in a chest and locked her in." While many commentaries understand that by locking Dinah in a box Jacob intends to protect her from marrying his brother Esau, we know the truth of the story. Hiding Dinah - locking her up - is a powerful image about silencing women. And that silence echoes loudly through the rest of the.

What happens next? Dinah gets an ultimate act of silencing: The commentaries understand Dinah's rape as Jacob's punishment for withholding her from Esau. Dinah's rape is Jacob's punishment? What about Dinah? What has she done? How does she feel? Out text is silent. We only know what her brothers and father think: that she has been defiled (34:5-7), that she must not be treated as a whore (34:31). No one in the Torah or the midrashic accounts asks her what she wants, what she needs, or how she can be comforted.

Her silence is loud enough to reverberate through the generations. We hear it in the reports of other fathers who perceive their daughter's rape as their dishonor, their punishment. Fortunately for Dinah, in Genesis the blame and punishment fall entirely on the perpetrator and his people, not on her.
Other women are not as lucky. In 1998, in Pakistan, Arbab Khatoon was raped by three men in a village in Jacobabad district. She was murdered seven hours later. According to local residents, she was killed by her relatives for bringing dishonour to the family by going to the police. In 1999, Lal Jamilla Mandokhel, a 16-year-old mentally retarded girl, was reportedly raped several times by a junior clerk of the local government department of agriculture in a hotel in Parachinar, Pakistan. The girl's uncle filed a complaint about the incident with police-who took the accused into protective custody but then handed over the girl to her tribe. The elders decided that she had brought shame to her tribe and that the honor could only be restored by her death; she was killed in front of a tribal gathering.

Similar stories are reported not only in Pakistan but also in Bangladesh, Great Britain, Brazil, Ecuador, Egypt, India, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Pakistan, Morocco, Sweden, Turkey, Uganda -as well as Afghanistan, Iraq, and Iran. No wonder women are silent!

This outrage is only part of a much larger problem of violence against women. For example, according to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), more than 5,000 brides die annually in India because their dowries are considered insufficient. Widney Brown, advocacy director for Human Rights Watch, says that "in countries where Islam is practiced, they're called honor killings, but dowry deaths and so-called crimes of passion have a similar dynamic in that the women are killed by male family members and the crimes are perceived as excusable or understandable."

The practice, she said, "goes across cultures and across religions." In the few cases when public outcry around the world and international pressure were used, a woman's life was spared. But stories that capture the headlines do not begin to address the scope and range of the problem.

Another form that violence takes is sexual slavery and human trafficking, which even happens in Israel. According to a recent report, thousands of women are illegally smuggled into Israel and sold into sexual slavery. These young women - typically in their early 20s - are raped, abused, incarcerated and threatened, "servicing" 15-25 clients over 14-18 hours a day, seven days a week. The women become indentured slaves with an ever-growing debt to their owners. Israeli men from all walks of life pay approximately a million visits to brothels per month and the profits from this illicit activity are estimated at $750 million annually.

Sexual slavery and human trafficking remain a global problem, taking place in nearly every corner of the world. It is estimated that 600,000-800,000 people-mostly women and children-are trafficked across borders worldwide every year. (For ways to get information-and to get involved in this issue -  contact the Task Force on Human Trafficking through its website.)

We hear Dinah's silence as well in the challenges to reproductive rights happening right now in the United States.

What happens to Dinah in the aftermath of ordeal? We do not know. We never hear from her, as we may never hear from the women and our generation who are victims of violence and whose voices are not heard. But the legacy of Jacob as the one who wrestles, demands that we confront the shadowy parts of ourselves and our world - and not passively ignore these facts. The feminist educator Nelle Morton urged women to hear each other's speech. Dinah's story challenges us to go even further and be also the voices for all of our sisters.

To learn more about how you can help prevent Human Trafficking here in Miami, contact Federation's JCRC office to get involved and make a difference:
 Carol Brick-Turin  |  |
  |  786.866.8486  |
 Free engaging and interactive program examining great Jewish women leaders and issues that matter today.

"The Heroines of Hannukah"
Who were the women behind this story?
Tuesday, December 12, 2017
10:00am to 12:00pm
Greater Miami Jewish Federation
4200 Biscayne Blvd.
with Rabbi Robyn Fisher 
Rabbi Robyn Fisher, having only recently been ordained in June 2017, is the spiritual leader of Temple Beth Or in South Dade, a Reconstructionist community. She also holds a BSBA degree from American University and a JD degree from the University of Miami School of Law. She has a long history of professional leadership in the Miami Jewish community, including serving as the Assistant Director and Jewish Chaplain on campus at the University of Miami Hillel for 10 years and as a rabbinic intern and educator at Temple Beth Am. Her volunteer leadership has included serving as a March of the Living educator, and as President and Campaign Chair of the Women's Department of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation. She currently sits on the Board of Directors of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation. She is married to Randy Fisher and is the mother of three young adults Ally, Evan and Kara.
RSVP to Michelle Weiss 786-866-8441 or
at Shalom >>

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