News2Use: Green Shofars, Tzipi, Baseball, and Honey

This week, we’re debuting a new feature in TAPBB. It’s called News2Use, and it’s by Adrian Durlester. Each week, Adrian (who used to edit C.Ha and Bim Bam) will pick a few stories in the news, talk about their “Jewish angles” and recommend ideas for bringing them into your classroom.

by Adrian A. Durlester

The Shofar — A Rhapsody In Green? This High Holidays Feature article written for the JTA by author and toy designer Edmon J. Rodman (perhaps best known for his YouTube video where he builds a pyramid of matzah) asks:

“Is green the theme of the shofar this Rosh Hashanah season? In a year of sustainability and carbon footprints, high gas and hybrids, the shofar is the simplest, most eco-friendly method of reaching the Jewish community with a vital message. The shofar, if you pause to think about it, is a rhapsody in green…A totally natural product, its availability is a byproduct of an already ongoing ancient enterprise — sheep herding. Powered by one human, and empowered by a congregation, the shofar requires no batteries, power cord or transformer. When we hear it, we are the ones who become transformed.”

A discussion suitable for almost any grade: What do you hear in the call of the shofar? How does it call us to take care of our planet? Find the complete article at:

Tzipi, you’re in. Ehud, you’re out. If Israel is your topic of interest, one of this week’s hottest stories is, of course, the resignation of Ehud Olmert and the potential rise to power of Tzipi Livni. Lots of articles all over the web. A nice place to start is with this article from Time Magazine:

For grades 5 and up: How might the resignation of Olmert and the new government to be formed by Tzipi Livni affect the situation in Israel?

Grand Slam, Thank You Ma’am. In sports, Chicago Cub’s pitcher Jason Marquis became the first Jewish pitcher to hit a grand slam home run in more than fifty years, in a game against the Mets at Shea Stadium. The last Jewish pitcher to hit a grand slam homer was Saul Rogovsky of the Detroit Tigers in 1950, against that other NY team, the Yankees.

To discuss: How many Jewish pitchers can you name? Jewish baseball players? Jewish athletes? Nazi propaganda portrayed Jews as weaklings. What historical and current evidence can you cite to show that the “people of the book” are as athletic as anyone else? Some useful sites:,

Honey Aint Cheap. Looking for a slightly different Jewish story to use in class? Consider this one, reporting on the worldwide shortage of honey that will affect supplies and prices this Rosh Hashanah: Is this much ado about nothing, or is there something serious underneath this story about which we should be concerned?

News2Use is a new feature written by Adrian A. Durlester. Adirain (former editor of BimaBam and C.Ha) will be sharing interesting news stories which you can use in your school, classroom or other settings. To comment or respond, send an email to Adrian at or to Torah Aura at