Democratizing Education: Lessons from this Week’s Parashah

Democratizing Education: Lessons from this Week’s Parashah

Sep 8, 2020 By Michal Raucher | Commentary | Nitzavim | Vayeilekh

Since the start of the stay-at-home orders in March, my eight-year-old son, Naftali, has studied Mishnah on Zoom in a “Mishnah Club” for kids, taught by Rabbi Ethan Tucker (KS ‘06) of Hadar Institute. While my spouse teaches Mishnah to middle school students and my own scholarship involves a healthy feminist critique of the talmudic Rabbis, Naftali had never encountered rabbinic literature. I feared that Naftali might get lost in the complexity, become overwhelmed with the details, or confused by the logic of rabbis from 2000 years ago. I was also curious as to whether he would actually see himself in this discourse.

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Let’s Talk about Sex

Let’s Talk about Sex

Jun 9, 2017 By Michal Raucher | Commentary | Beha'alotekha

There are many unanswered questions about the now-infamous incident of God chastising Aaron and Miriam and then inflicting Miriam with tzara’at, or leprosy, at the conclusion of Parashat Beha’alotekha. Primarily, there are questions about what exactly Miriam and Aaron did to receive God’s rebuke, and why Miriam is the only one punished. Many interpreters have considered Miriam’s wrongdoing in two ways: either she is guilty of racism towards Tziporah, or God scolds her for the presumption that she and Aaron are prophets just as important as Moses.

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Facing Our Past and Looking Toward the Future

Facing Our Past and Looking Toward the Future

May 27, 2016 By Michal Raucher | Commentary | Behar

Recently, the US Treasury Department announced that Harriet Tubman will replace Andrew Jackson, seventh president of the United States, on the $20 bill. Tubman was born as a slave around 1820, ran away in 1849, and returned south repeatedly to usher more than 300 slaves to freedom via the Underground Railroad. Her selection for the $20 bill is exciting news, because Tubman will be the first African American and the first woman to appear on federal paper currency. Women and civil rights leaders will be added to the $5 and $10 bills in the coming years, as well. While these changes are long overdue, the question is whether this change is merely symbolic or a further step toward acknowledging our nation’s ugly history of slavery. 

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Dissent Is Not a Dirty Word

Dissent Is Not a Dirty Word

Jun 19, 2015 By Michal Raucher | Commentary | Korah

Sometimes leaders are wrong, and sometimes those who are meant to protect us actually hurt us. This basic fact is something we all know because we learned it in 1920s Germany with the rise of the Nazi party, in early 20th-century America with the implementation of the Jim Crow laws, and in Fidel Castro’s Cuba. For some reason, though, we have a difficult time acknowledging injustice and fighting against it, even when we see its effects. I think this is because we rely so heavily on our laws, our government, and on those who protect us that to admit they might be misguided or inflicting pain is to take some responsibility for reform. 

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The Clothes Make the (Wo)man

The Clothes Make the (Wo)man

Jun 13, 2014 By Michal Raucher | Commentary | Shelah Lekha

During graduation season, I try to learn everything there is to know about academic dress.

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Rachel Leans In

Rachel Leans In

Nov 5, 2013 By Michal Raucher | Commentary | Vayetzei

Recent conversations in popular feminism revolve around trying to capture what it means to “have it all,” and, if that’s even possible, how to achieve it.

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