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Essential Questions Workshop

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Dr. Beth Samuels High School Program: Essential Questions Workshop

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An essential component of the Drisha summer high school experience is the research-based Essential Questions Workshop, where participants have the opportunity to select, research, and write about a topic that intrigues them. Under the close guidance of faculty members, students are able to explore a vast array of topics with resources and material for study, and guided questions for thoughtful writing and analysis. Topics have included Halakhic organ donation, the values of war versus peace in Judaism, and the psychoanalysis of biblical characters.

Please enjoy a few of our student’s work:

Sandra Kaplan square“To Kill or Not to Kill” by Sandra Kaplan
“Imagine you are walking down the street when you meet a friendly person. You start to talk to this person, when all of a sudden he or she mentions that he or she is an Amalaki. What do you do? This is a question that has plagued me for a while. Does the Bible really want us to kill a whole nation? I have compiled a few sources, ranging from the Bible to modern rabbis, that I believe give a broad view of the issue.”
– Sandra Kaplan, Teaneck, New Jersey, 12th grade, Maayanot (Drisha HS 2017)
Click here to read more.

Tali Schlacht square“Women Learning Gemara? Pshita!” by Tali Schlacht
“Spending the summer learning at Drisha, we take the fact that women can learn Gemara (Talmud) at a high level for granted. There are many that argue that according to the Torah laws, women are forbidden from learning Gemara. I wanted to learn the sources why many argue that women cannot learn Gemara, and see how we address the issue, making it permissible, and even obligatory, for women to learn Gemara.”
-Tali Schlacht, California, 12th grade, Shalhevet High School (Drisha HS 2017)
Click here to read more.

hannah vulakh square“Give Me Your Organs” by Hannah Vulakh
“Every day in the US, 22 people die waiting for new organs, and every ten minutes another person is added to the transplant list.  Because of this shortage, the chances of the victim receiving the organ that they need is nearly slim to none. If Jews are permitted to donate organs, the percentage of transplants will greatly exceed what it currently is. Even so, there is a large machloket (argument) regarding whether or not Jews are permitted to donate their organs.”
– Hannah Vulakh, Brooklyn, NY, 11th grade, Yeshiva University High School for Girls (Central), (Drisha HS 2016)
Click here to read more.


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