Here are sample Taglit courses from Taglit 2013. On this page you'll find the classes offered and the wonderful opportunities enjoyed by the students in The Middle School at PJA.
Behind the Scenes: Computers, Technology, and Society
In this Taglit class, we will go behind the scenes to learn more about computers and technology. We will look at PJA’s own technology infrastructure, explore the insides of computers to see how they work, and be part of the “help desk” team that troubleshoots and supports staff, faculty and students with tech related problems. By visiting local businesses, we will learn about the creative work that “techies” do and discover many other places in our lives besides laptops and smart phones where computers are “secretly” at work. We will consider the environmental impact of the fast pace changes in the world of technology and learn how old computers and smart phones can be recycled and reused. During our classroom time and through a visit to Free Geek, we will explore microcontrollers and programming thru platforms such as Arduino, and do some game design and programming. Each day we will challenge ourselves and follow our curiosity about the world around us!
THE CITY THAT WORKS: Exploring the People and Places That Positively Impact Our Community
You might know Portland as “The City That Works,” be familiar with the old Visitor’s Bureau slogan “Things Look Different Here,” or have come across a “Keep Portland Weird” bumper sticker. Whatever impressions you may have about our fair city, be ready to experience Portland like never before. In this Taglit class, we will spend time learning about all those things that make Portland unique—from the “out-of-the-box” thinkers who call Portland home to the “out-of-the-way” venues that define Portland’s creative spirit; we will explore historical Portland and be part of history in the making! In addition to four days filled with learning, our many field trips into the community will also reflect Portland's special commitment to help those in need as we partner with several innovative non-profits in the area. Each day of this Taglit adventure will be full of surprise destinations and “aha” moments. Join in the fun as we explore the people and places that make our city work!
A SAMPLING OF ACTIVITIES
List is not complete; all offerings are subject to change
- Create a unique work of art at one of Portland's most popular art studios
- Explore the history of a neighborhood theater
- Discover how Portlanders get their information and meet the people who are committed to keeping our city “in the know”
- Learn about the significance of Portland's sport teams on our city's culture and meet the people and places who make these teams special
- Investigate the movers and shakers (and some of the riff-raff) from the past who helped form this city by taking a walking tour of Portland's oldest cemetery
- Glimpse into the lives of some artists and writers who have found their creative inspiration in Portland
- Encounter some of the big employers in town that make Portland “The City that Works” and tour their premises
- Experience first-hand Portland's commitment to those in need by working with organizations that are making a difference in our community
Farm to Table: The Local Food Movement in Portland
Food is a substantial part of our everyday life. Food affects us physically and emotionally. Most of us have strong food likes and dislikes. Food is part of our celebrations and holds a central role in many of our Jewish traditions. Rabbis have debated rules concerning its consumption for centuries. However, while food plays such an integral part our lives, there is a growing belief that we have become disconnected from the very substance that nourishes our bodies and lives.
Over the past twenty years, the local Portland food market has undergone some dramatic changes. Farmers’ markets and community gardens are popping up in neighborhoods all over Portland. Portlanders are raising chickens, goats, and ducks, and they are growing their own food right in their backyards. In this Taglit class, we will explore the growing local food movement to better understand what is behind these changes. We will consider whether the “farm to table” movement is just a fad or part of a fundamental change in how we make decisions about what we eat.
We will explore the local food movement and some of the issues associated with it such as carbon footprints, organic and non-organic foods, and eating seasonally. In order to gain a deeper understanding of what is happening in the Portland metro area, students will explore these and other issues from several different angles. We will visit a local farm and talk with the farmers. We will meet with local chefs and learn about the decisions they make about the food they prepare. We will also learn about farmers’ market and the values that drive them, and we will tour a market that sells only locally sourced products. Additionally, we will have the opportunity to give back to the community by learning about local food programs in Portland and helping out where possible. As a final project we will prepare a delicious, healthy, and seasonally appropriate multi-course meal.
Winter Wilderness Adventure
The Winter Wilderness Taglit program will challenge participants physically and mentally. Each day will take us to a new winter wilderness -- including the Columbia River Gorge and Cape Horn in Washington – and provide another opportunity to push our minds, bodies and spirits into exciting and unfamiliar new territory.
In this Taglit class, students will hike, snowshoe, and learn the skills needed to build emergency shelters, make fire with materials on hand, and stay nourished in a wilderness environment. We will spend a day in snow school, combining real science with hands-on learning to discover the creatures living under the winter snow.
Students who select this Taglit offering must be prepared to be outside for extended periods of time in the cold and snow. Appropriate gear includes boots, a waterproof layer, several warm layers, hat, gloves, backpack, and water bottles. We will provide snow shoes for students who do not have them. Participants will receive a full packing list and some equipment will be available for student use. Students will need to bring a sack lunch each day. Plans are subject to change in the case of extreme weather conditions.
This Mortal Coil
It is at the center of the human experience to question death while immersed in the lightness and mundacity of life. Much like Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, expressed in his To Be, or not To Be soliloquy: “For in that sleep of death, what dreams may come/When we have shuffled off this mortal coil…” humans have the need to explore life, death and the afterlife. It is a journey and a conundrum that transcends time, culture, and faith. This question will be at the core of our Taglit as we explore how this search for truth manifests through a variety of disciplines, including science, religion, psychology, and literature.
We will begin by exploring the role that ghosts and spirits have played in cultures around the world and throughout time. We’ll examine rituals and holidays that embody the dichotomy between death and life. Students will discuss how these questions play out in Judaism, pop culture and in their own personal experiences. Short stories, firsthand narratives, folk legends and film/TV clips will help bring to life the fascination which humanity harbors for life, death, and at the afterlife.
Once we have explored the death rituals and legends from literature and from around the world, we will turn our attention to the most recent manifestation of this age-old question: using science to confirm evidence of the afterlife. Students will learn about the tools and technology that contemporary paranormal investigators use to gather evidence and collect data about hauntings and paranormal activity, as well as the science behind them. Using what they have learned, teams of students will then design and conduct an investigation of a local haunted “hot spot” during an overnight trip. Students will analyze the data they collect, create a presentation for sharing their data and reflect on their experiences.
Finally, Coil students will embark on performing one of the highest mitzvot as their service project: maintenance, upkeep and restoration of a local cemetery.