Mishnah Berurah Tiferet
Judaism in Space
My family and I really enjoyed last month’s article about the Jewish astronauts (‘Practicing Judaism In Space’). It was so encouraging to read about how Astronaut Ilan Ramon, A”H, and the three astronauts you interviewed made such great efforts to study Torah, eat kosher, and observe Shabbat while in outer space. What a Kiddush Hashem!
I would like to add one other point that was not mentioned in the article. Astronaut Ilan Ramon's mother was a Holocaust survivor. In her wildest dreams while in Auschwitz, I don’t think she ever could have imagined that she would go on to marry and raise a family in the land of Israel, and that her son would become an astronaut. We must remember that no matter how dark things may seem or become for us Jews in these very troublesome times, no matter how seemingly hopeless our situation, there is a bigger picture. We will survive, we have always survived; the Jewish people are an eternal people.
I totally disagree with the slant of last month’s article about homework (The Homework Debate). Homework is a necessity and shouldn’t be perceived as a punishment or a waste of time. The benefits of homework go way beyond your days in school – it is everlasting as it provides life needed skills. Homework allows practice for future endeavors and teaches responsibility and organizational skills. Homework allows children to work at their own pace without peer pressure. Homework makes us think out of the box. If given a challenge, this will push us to our limits or beyond. Homework allows students to practice the skills they learn during school. Although doing homework will not necessarily make you "smarter," it will teach you how to use the "smarts" that you have acquired and apply it to other things in your life.
I believe that homework is a serious waste of time. Sure, there are some benefits to homework, but the negatives outweigh the benefits by a mile. Most teachers say homework helps us become more responsible and knowledgeable – but this is not true. I’m a B+ student in 12th grade and, from my experience, kids are responsible and organized and do not need homework as a studying tool.
Homework causes stress in many students. Homework takes time, and it keeps students up late at night getting the work done. The loss of sleep makes it hard to concentrate during class because students are so tired. As a student, I think sleep is more important than doing homework. Students are in school between eight to ten hours a day, so there is no reason that we have to get homework.
Many schools have a one-hour rule, but with multiple classes and each teacher assigning one hour of homework, you end up with hours of work to do at home. Students in advanced levels get even more work than the students in basic classes.
Bottom line - I think homework should be banned.
Betsy DeVos and Tuition Relief
Hopefully, Betsy DeVos's leadership will result in competition being brought to the education industry. Competition is always beneficial to the consumer and the result will be an improved education system at a lower price along with tuition tax credits and vouchers that can be used to help pay for yeshiva tuition.
The Betsy DeVos Cabinet Battle was all about the teachers union and really nothing else. More government control cements union control and that is all that mattered then - not real education.
Mrs. Gloria Bijou
Last month’s interview with Mrs. Gloria Bijou was quite inspirational. To say that she is a remarkable woman would be a big understatement. I, as well as our entire community, owe her and her husband, Fred Bijou, a huge debt of gratitude for their compassion, devotion, and foresight in creating SBH. The assistance and hesed that SBH has provided and continues to provide to every member of our community is just astounding. There really are no words to properly and accurately thank Mrs. Gloria Bijou for her community service. Thank you for writing the article and sharing her tremendous accomplishments with all of us.