YU School Partnership and Ramaz Co-Host Jewish Philosophy Yom Iyun for High-School Teachers

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 New York area Jewish day schools hosted their first-ever Yom Iyun on Jewish Philosophy on June 11. Fifty five high-school educators from nearly 20 schools gathered to address the 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, Marsha Stern Talmudical Academy (MTA) / Yeshiva University High School for Boys, SAR Academy, The Ramaz School and The Stella K. Abraham High School for Girls.

The program began with keynote speaker, Dr. David Schatz, YU professor of philosophy, discussing the concept of Hashgacha Pratis [Divine Providence] and continued with a number of presentations, including 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. RIETS Rosh Yeshiva Rabbi Mayer Twersky closed the day by sharing approaches to educating towards greater faith.

The 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,” said 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 presentations are available online.