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Jewish Educators Grapple With Bullying

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Bullying by peers causes 160,000 students to stay home from school each day according to statistics from the US Department of Education and the Centers for Disease Control.

Preparing educators at our community’s synagogue religious schools, day schools, and early childhood centers to address the bullying epidemic was the subject of the Second Annual Rosenfeld Ethics Institute, “Fostering Empathy and Action in Schools,” offered by Friedman CJE

Educators and educational directors from ten local institutes of Jewish learning studied with Jan Darsa, director of Jewish education at FHO, and Dr. Mary Johnson, senior historian at FHO and an adjunct professor for Masters in Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Stockton College.

Through the lens of the historical case study of the Holocaust together with Jewish sources, and rich-multimedia resources and current events such as the Miami Dolphins bullying case, the sessions explored the potential of students to be change agents in society and play a role in building a caring, compassionate community.

Conference participants viewed excerpts of the acclaimed documentary, BULLY, a compelling and tragic portrait of the consequences of bullying in our society.A variety of strategies were introduced followed by a challenge to begin a conversation that will ultimately lead to classroom and school-wide plans to counter and prevent bullying behavior.


“The workshop energized the focus that our community’s education professionals have on bullying in their schools,” said Lynne Lieberman, Senior Director at Friedman CJE. “There is a growing need and demand for new strategies designed to foster and nurture empathy in our children.”


“Temple Israel is planning a Family Education Day for students in first and second grade and their parents to present and discuss the Jewish view about treating others the way we want to be treated,” said Stefanie Raifman, Temple Israel’s Religious School and Family Life Educator. “We’ll use information, content and resources obtained at this workshop to guide this important conversation with our families. It must continue into middle and high school so that there is no end point to the values taught at a young age.”


For more information on Friedman CJE’s learning opportunities in the greater Palm Beaches, contact the office at 561-640-0700, info@cjepb.org, or visit the website at www.cjepb.org. Remember to “Like” us on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/CJEPB.


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