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Does anyone know of any Jewish Books on Education, preferably in English? I'm looking for something that gives insight into how to properly teach children and to communicate values so that they stick.

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  • Answerers: As always for these types of questions, posts that list books without explaining how those books address this asker's needs will most likely be deleted. – msh210 Jun 9 '14 at 21:22
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My suggestions are: Planting & Building in Education: Raising a Jewish Child Hardcover by Shlomo Wolbe

extract from the Amazon blurb,

“The author is one of the foremost spiritual leaders of our time. This book presents basic guidelines for parenting and education. The wisdom fills a great need for our generation and Rabbi Wolbe's vital teachings should be read and re-read by every Jewish parent and educator.

and

To Kindle a Soul: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Parents and Teachers Hardcover by Lawrence Kelemen (Rabbi Kelemen is a student of Rav Wolbe z"l)

extract from the Amazon blurb,

“the Torah's eternal wisdom that is proving itself the most effective, most humane, and most sensible way of teaching our children. Rabbi Kelemen, sets out a wonderfully practical Torah-based model for raising ethical, moral, and well-adjusted children, backing up his insights with over 400 scientific studies. This book is must reading for kiruv professionals and for parents, both observant and non-observant alike.

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  • Is there a difference between the two since they are based off of the same teachings? – Bochur613 Jun 8 '14 at 17:39
  • I've not read Rabbi Kelemen's book: I know and admire the man. But it is apparently backed up by scientific studies. Rav Wolbe's book doesn't do that. – Avrohom Yitzchok Jun 8 '14 at 17:46
  • My Rebbe recommended R' Wolbe's book to me, but I didn't put it as an answer because I haven't read it and therefore don't know if it addresses your interests. – Y     e     z Jun 9 '14 at 2:37
  • Rabbi Keleman himself explained that "Planting and Building" is the (translation of) Rav Wolbe's vaadim/classes given on education. It lays down the principles. In "To Kindle a Soul" Rabbi Keleman expounds on those ideas, give explanations and examples and makes it much more accessible. He also brings secular studies which back up the Torah sources. – Binyomin Apr 25 '20 at 23:48
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I am reading a book called The Joy of Educating Children. It is taken from writings of R' Hirsch. So far, it is what it claims to be - A practical guide for Jewish parents. I haven't finished it, and even when I have I won't be able to tell you if it worked or not for a few decades, but so far I'd recommend it.

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  • Do you believe it addresses what I wrote in the question? – Bochur613 Jun 8 '14 at 3:37
  • @Bochur613 Sir yes sir. I also assumed that when you said teach, that wen't along with the values part, not teaching them Torah. – Y     e     z Jun 8 '14 at 3:37
  • Although it is about other things also. Like creating positive children, and being close with your children. – Y     e     z Jun 8 '14 at 3:40
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There are a lot of fantastic options that have already been listed, in particular Rav Matisyohu Solomon's sefer and the English translation of Rav Wolbe's זריעה ובנין בחינוך to name a couple.

Please find some other alternatives suggested here - I have copied and pasted the relevant overviews / summaries as well as links to purchase them online:

Make Me, Don't Break Me by Rabbi Moshe Gans Rabbi Gans, a pre-eminent educator, draws on years of chinuch experience to advise us in our quest to motivate our children and students. Make Me, Don't Break Me is full of real-life situations that we encounter every day, at home and in the classroom. How does the Torah counsel us to raise our children and students? Personal review - This sefer excels specifically in how to go about motivating our children specifically exploring how to best praise and criticise a child in a way that both empowers them and does not damage their self-worth.

Positive Parenting by Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski, M.D. and Ursula Schwartz, Ph.D. are outstanding mental health practitioners. In this practical book they say, "Let's concentrate on how to do things right, and how the Torah and Jewish tradition counsel us to raise our children." This book belongs at the top of the Jewish reading list of every parent, teacher, or person who deals with parents and children. Personal review - This sefer has the added dimension of not only drawing on a strong Torah-based foundation but also professional in the field of psychology and therapy. It gives a unique insight into understanding the way children think and thus how best to practise parenting in a positive manner.

Raising Roses Among Thorns by Rabbi Noach Orlowek Bringing up spiritually healthy children in today's society is indeed a daunting task. This book addresses the contemporary problems parents and educators face in raising children, in a straightforward, thorough manner, replete with practical examples, offering Torah wisdom coupled with vast experience in the field of child-rearing. The author of My Child, My Disciple, and My Disciple, My Child, Rabbi Orlowek is acclaimed as an expert educator, counsellor, and mashgiach in Yeshivas Torah Ore. This book addresses such topics as: Understanding children, problem-solving, effective listening and communication, the dynamics of love, building self-esteem in children, sibling rivalry, and coping with a hostile environment, among others. Personal Review - A must-buy. I found this sefer a really fantastic read. Aside from being full of sources and meforshim, the subject matter is incredibly extensive in particular noticing the negative effects of TV and the media - a matter that is very prevalent and relevant today.

My Child My Disciple by Rabbi Noach Orlowek A practical Torah-based guide to effective discipline in the home, preventing and solving disciplinary problems and establishing warm, loving relationships with children.

My Disciple My Child by Rabbi Noach Orlowek A practical, Torah-based guide to successful discipline in the classroom, communicating effectively, and establishing rapport with students. Personal Review - This book is good for those who are manning the frontline i.e. the educators in the classroom. It is a definitive guide for how to try and get the best out of ones students.

Chinuch in Turbulent Times: Pratical Strategies for Parents & Educators by Rabbi Dov Brezak Every Jewish parent wants to know that he or she has equipped every child of the family to deal with the challenges of growing up in this turbulent era. That goal is attainable, thanks to the wise and compassionate counsel of noted educator Rabbi Dov Brezak. A talented and creative yeshivah principal for many years, Rabbi Brezak deals with every manner of child and family, and his creative yet practical techniques have won him an international audience. His popular tape series on parenting has guided countless families through the complex situations confronting them daily. Now the richness of his experience has been distilled in this outstanding book, offering sustained chizuk, spiced with personal anecdotes and flowing with a love of children that comes across on every page. Clearly written, with realistic examples and practical techniques, Chinuch in Turbulent Times will benefit every member of your household.

Polishing Diamonds by Rabbi Dovid Kaplan The book itself is a rare diamond--a combination of anecdotes, lessons, and guidance in how to properly parent our precious children. With humor, wit, and gentle insight, the author shows the many facets of parenting that nearly every parent faces. Featured are the beloved 'Anecdos and Anecdon'ts'--sure to bring laughter, and tears, as their important lessons are absorbed. The author, a noted lecturer, rebbe, and mashgiach ruchani, never talks down to the reader. In fact, the engaging, genuine style of this book makes it a parenting manual of superb, readable caliber. Personal Review - I love this book! For anyone who has heard Rabbi Kaplan speak, he writes his book in the same inimitable style. Perhaps the best part of this book is the way he paints scenarios that leave you thinking exactly how something similar happened in your household and how to manage the ensuing madness. Absolutely brilliant.

...and the sequel...

Perfecting Diamonds by Rabbi Dovid Kaplan "What is going on with my son?" asked the visibly upset father. "He seems to be falling through the cracks ..." The Rosh Yeshivas heart went out to the father. "I am terribly sorry, but ... a yeshiva is like a bucket of water. When you move it from place to place, a few drops will inevitably be lost." "You're talking like that because you see it as a bucket of water," shot back the father. "You wouldn't talk like that if you saw it as a bucket full of diamonds!"

Rabbi Dovid Kaplan views Klal Yisrael's children as more precious than diamonds. His insightful, conversational style and his uncanny ability to penetrate the human mind make Perfecting Diamonds a truly valuable gem for all parents and educators. His practical guide to chinuch, based on traditional Torah sources, absorbs and guides the reader while providing powerful lessons and memorable stories to integrate, implement and share with others.

Chinuch: Contemporary and Timeless Today’s leading Rabbanim and chinuch experts provide parents and teachers with an unflinching examination of chinuch issues. Their invaluable guidance covers many difficult and sensitive topics such as egocentrism, substance abuse, and divorce.

How does materialism influence our children? How concerned should we be about our children’s sense of entitlement? What can be done with the child who isn’t interested in going to shul? What role should discipline play in today’s families? These and many more crucial issues are examined in the pages of this book. How to select the best school for your child? Is the post high school year in Israel causing a spiritual generation gap? Must tuition be a crisis?

Based upon the timeless values and priorities established by the Torah and an unwavering dedication to masorah, Chinuch: Contemporary and Timeless is a welcome resource.

Parenting by the Parashah by Ari Neuwirth Enduring Chinuch Insights for Today's Generation In order to raise children successfully, parents must identify which actions are really educational, which have nothing to do with chinuch, and which actually go against chinuch and produce undesirable results. Parenting by the Parashah, by Rabbi Ari Neuwirth, is brimming with timeless parenting guidance derived from our Torah to advise us during these perplexing times.

• How can we explain to our children why tefillah sometimes doesn’t bring desired results? • What can we learn from the life of Moshe Rabbeinu to help prepare our children to become future leaders? • What insights can the mahn give us in dealing with our children’s focus on materialism?

With an intriguing mix of commentaries and stories from our gedolim as well as contemporary examples, Rabbi Neuwirth presents insights on the parashah that will deepen and enrich our parenting. Rabbi Ari Neuwirth is a successful mechanech with over fifteen years of experience in the classroom and as an elementary and mesivta menahel of Judaic and general studies departments. He has been a columnist for the Yated Neeman as well as the Chazaq organization on the topic of parashah and parenting and is a popular speaker.

“This collection captures the essence of chinuch…. I’m delighted that this sefer, containing parenting advice through the prism of Torah, is being published.” —HaRav Shmuel Kamenetsky, shlita

I really hope these help you with the wonderful עבודת הקודש or raising our special Jewish נשמות.

הצלחה רבה!

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I recommend Partners with Hashem, written by a Jewish therapist. It goes through several scenarios that are very practical, although as with all books from therapists, it dwells on the kind of extreme situations that end up in therapy.

For a more traditional source, you could try The Principles of Education and Guidance by the Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe.

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I found With Hearts Full of Love from R Mattisyahu Salomon to be very powerful, both anchored in traditional sources and very practical and implementable.

The editorial description reads

If you are a parent or if parenthood is on your horizon, Rav Mattisyahu Salomon, the illustrious Mashgiach of the Lakewood Yeshivah, is speaking directly to you in the pages of this important book. In his inimitable, down-to-earth style, the Mashgiach shows that all well-meaning, loving parents have the ability to bring up happy children who follow in their footsteps. His ideas are based on fundamental principles outlined in the teachings of Chazal and the sefarim of the Rishonim and Acharonim, and they are enriched by discussions and experiences with gedolei Yisrael of the past fifty years.

Of all the education books I read, it is the one that best resonates with me for your criteria of "gives insight into how to properly teach children and to communicate values so that they stick".

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The introduction to the Chovat haTalmidim is addressed specifically to parents and educators with a goal toward teaching the proper perspective in raising children. When the Piaseczner Rebbe Hyd wrote this book it was as communities throughout Europe were contending with political upheavals, the enlightenment and other cultural factors that were ostensibly pulling youth away from their parents' way of life. The Rebbe's words still ring true and relevant in this day and age. The introduction used to be available online in PDF format but I can't find it this time.

In the meantime I will provide links to the original English translation as well as the newer adapted version which comes juxtaposed with the Hebrew text. As an aside: I'm more partial to the Odenheimer version of the translation which is a more literal translation. This is a worthwhile purchase.

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I strongly recommend:

  1. The Book of Jewish Values, by Rabbi Joseph Telushkin (Harmony Publisher, 2000); quotes the Torah, the Talmud, and other sacred writings to give us a manual on how to teach values to children. In my opinion, an excelent book addressed to parents and educators.

  2. The Blessing Of A Skinned Knee: Using Jewish Teachings to Raise Self-Reliant Children by Wendy Mogel (Scribner,2001); This is a modern classic on parenting. Mogel’s vision for raising self-reliant children is both deeply loving and incredibly strong. I love this book.

  3. Teaching Jewish Virtues: Sacred Sources and Arts Activities by Susan Freeman (A.R.E. Publishing, 1999); has a Traditional Jewish aprroach and attitudes on virtues. It contains information on each virtue as it relates to oneself, Ben Adam Lemakom and Ben Adam Lechavero.

  4. Jewish Heroes, Jewish Values: Living Mitzvot in Today's World by Barry L. Schwartz (Behrman House, 1996) based on inspiring Jewish characters covering the worlds of science, sports, film, and politics. Includes activities at the back of the book to enable readers to see how they can fulfill Jewish values on their own lives.

  5. The Jewish Values Finder: A Guide to Values in Jewish Children Literature by Linda Silver (Neal Schuman Publishers, 2008) It contains an outstanding analysis of selected childrens books that promote Jewish values. An excelent source for parents, for sure.

Hope it helps :)

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One lesser known work which is amazing is "Of Parents and Penguins" by Rav Moshe Eisemann (mashgiach of Ner Yisroel.)

While admittedly he doesn't focus so much on the hands-on aspect, the book is a major resource for developing the proper attitude about parenting.

He shares lots of insights helping parents reframe what their goals are- how should we view play, work, prayer, etc? What is the message we want to convey to our children, and how can we assure that they'll follow that message instead of being lured away by the "outside world"? (He discussed various approaches to this topic)

I can say from personal experience that after reading his work, and gaining a solid understanding of the underlying principles, it makes a lot more of the hands-on part accessible.

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