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March 15, 2012 - Image 10

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2012-03-15

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Captain's Watch from page 8

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150 percent. Up to 70 percent of the
$3.5 million budget is raised through
tuition, which ranges from $6,950 to
$12,560. Federation provides at least 15
percent in funding support. A tuition
assistance fundraiser, dubbed "Lead the
Way' along with donations from other
fundraising events make up the differ-
ence each year.
Jeffrey Lasday, director of
Federation's Alliance for Jewish
Education, said it's important for the
Detroit Jewish community to have a
flourishing Akiva. "In order to have a
thriving Detroit Jewish community, we
need to provide for a wide spectrum of
Jewish educational needs, from more
liberal to more Orthodox:' he said.
"Our community's strength lies
in its ability to support a mosaic of
Jewish expressions and educational
institutions that
work together toward
creating one Detroit
Jewish community"
Akiva provides
Jewish education
from a unique
Modern Orthodox
perspective that is
not represented by
other Detroit Jewish
community day
schools, Lasday said. "Without Akiva,"
he said, "this perspective would be
missing from our community and we
would be all the less for e

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10 March 15 2012


Finding Footing
Akiva is named after one of the great-
est rabbinical sages in Jewish history.
Klugerman's arrival there on a three-
year contract brought a focus on plan-
ning lessons for three tiers of learning:
What do we want students to know
next year? What do we want them to
know in three years? And what do we
want them to know in 30 years?
"These three questions:' Klugerman
said, "help teachers identify the critical
points of the lesson, the essential facts
and skills that must be mastered, and
the pieces of the puzzle that enrich the
lesson. These questions also clarify for
the teacher what should form the basis
for the assessment of learning:'
As a school, Akiva values both limu-
dei kodesh, Judaic studies, and limudei
chol, general studies. "We encourage the
students to find the linkage between
their Judaic and general studies, and
we've begun to integrate the curricula;'
Klugerman said.
For example, during an English class
study of Shelley's Frankenstein, the
students explored the Jewish notion of
a golem and the kabalistic idea of creat-
ing life.
Changes to the weekly schedule
subliminally communicate the mes-

sage of parallel excellence in limudei
kodesh and limudei chol. Talmud class
can follow math and English can follow
Chumash (Five Books of Moses).

Other Initiatives
Klugerman also introduced the Akiva
staff to a bullying sensitivity program
he had designed in Rockville. "Studies
show that adults believe they intervene
most of the time when the children
report that adults rarely intervene
Klugerman said. "But if the adults are
sensitized to what can happen and they
are educated about the insidious nature
of bullying, the rate of adult interven-
tion begins to match the number of
episodes reported by the bullied child:'
In both the middle school and the
high school, Akiva has begun to teach
the Tanach, the Hebrew Bible, themati-
cally, allowing students to orient the
material toward a key theme or value.
To illustrate, high school students
studying Deuteronomy can link each
narrative with the idea that Moses has
chosen this text to convey this final
message to the Israelites: God has
always been, and will always be, there.
"For many students:' Klugerman
said, "the study of the Tanach is seen
as disjointed narratives. However, if
we keep in mind the books are Divine,
then each passage has a purpose —
independently and as part of a larger
As a Zionist school, Israel permeates
throughout Akiva. The faculty includes
five Israeli educators serving a two- to
three-year commitment. They, together
with other regular staff instructors who
also are Israeli, contribute to the tzio-
nut feeling — infusing Akiva with an
Israeli and a Zionist atmosphere.
Israel-geared lessons educate stu-
dents about Israel history and the
modern culture. "As we expand our
curricula" Klugerman said, "we will
increase the course offerings in the his-
tory of Zionism and in Israeli culture
and politics:'
The Rosh Beit Midrash, the lead
Israeli educator, is Rabbi Aviad Sanders.
He's finishing his third and final year
at Akiva. Among his responsibilities,
he assists students who want to learn
during their free time and helps other
instructors develop creative learning
environments for their subjects. The
three bachurim (Israeli informal educa-
tors) and the two b'not sherut (Israeli
national service participants) each
serve one year.
"Yeshivat Akiva educates its students
not just to watch from the sidelines,"
Sanders said, "but rather to be influen-
tial and to be leaders, whether by physi-
cally making aliyah themselves or by
supporting Israel and its citizens from
the United States:'

Captain's Watch on page 12

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