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New York, NY, June 11, 2013—As part of its mission to convene Jewish day school educators for the purpose of collective learning, the Institute for University-School Partnership at Yeshiva University in collaboration with Ramaz and several NY/Metro region Jewish day schools hosted the first-ever Yom Iyun on Jewish Philosophy.  55 high-school educators from almost 20 schools gathered to address the main philosophical questions most commonly raised by students.

This program was co-sponsored by DRS Yeshiva High School, The Frisch School, The Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School, Ma’ayanot Yeshiva High School for Girls, The Marsha Stern Talmudical Academy (MTA), SAR Academy, The Ramaz School and the Stella K. Abraham High School for Girls.

The program kicked-off with keynote speaker, Dr. David Schatz, who discussed the concept of Hashgacha Pratit and continued with a number of presentations, featuring: Rabbi Elly Storch of DRS on free will, Dr. Shira Weiss of Frisch on conflicts between the divine command of Akeidat Yitzchak and human morality, Rabbi Kenny Schiowitz of Ramaz on the evolution of Torah she’baal peh, Rabbi Noam Stein of The Margolin Hebrew Academy and Feinstone Yeshiva of the South on addressing ethically challenging topics in a liberal age, and Rabbi Gavriel Bechhoffer of MTA on questions about the world’s purpose.  Rabbi Mayer Twersky closed the day by sharing approaches to educating towards greater faith.

This forum provided teachers with a rare opportunity to explore common challenges with peers and colleagues. “I believe that the thing that attracted so many people and that made the teachers enjoy the day so much was the topic,” noted Rabbi Kenny Schiowitz, who organized the program, “Teachers recognize the fact that it is not sufficient to simply teach the texts of the Talmud and Tanach.  We need to address the philosophical questions of belief that students struggle with.  Convenings such as this one will better prepare our teachers for this challenge.”

Recordings of a number of the segments of the program are available online.  Please visit http://www.yuschoolpartnership.org/component/docman/cat_view/46-general-topics-tefillah-mesorah-evolution-a-more?orderby=dmdatecounter&ascdesc=DESC to learn more.

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