Aug 20, 2021
By Jeffrey Kress
| Commentary | Ki Tetzei
We know that every extra word in the Torah invites exploration to arrive at its deeper meaning. The opening words of Parashat Ki Tetzei require such consideration: “When you go out to war against your enemies . . .” Why mention enemies? Who else would one be going to war against? Rabbinic interpretations focus on the use of the plural (enemies) as signifying a distinction between categories of conflict, each requiring different rules of engagement. This helps explain why the rules of war that open the parashah differ from the closing instructions about how to fight Amalek. The Torah is talking about two different categories of conflict.
Nov 9, 2020
By Jeffrey Kress
| Public Event video | Video Lecture
Even as we are zooming forward into a new, Covid-altered educational landscape, there are goals of Jewish education—whether in schools, camps, home, or other settings—that are enduring. In this session we will look at Jewish education through the lenses of character, community, and meaning-making to provide context for current discussions of online and hybrid learning, and to expand our thinking about the goals and processes of Jewish learning.
Dr. Jeffrey S. Kress, associate professor and chair of Jewish Education and academic director of the Experiential Learning Initiative at JTS, talks about Development, Learning, and Community: Educating for Identity in Pluralistic Jewish High Schools. Dr. Kress’s recent book uses data drawn from a study of pluralistic Jewish high schools to illustrate the complex and often challenging interplay between the cognitive and social elements of education.