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Vol 2  Issue 11 | January 23, 2020

Derech Emunah Newsletter
To Read or Not to Read? Derech Emunah Students Debate the Value of Reading Shakespeare in School

By  Mrs. Joy Maimon, Civics & Government, and Language Arts


Our students have just completed reading Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare. Usually, we finish a book unit writing a literary analysis or persuasive essay. This time, instead of an essay, our students will have an in-class debate on whether or not high-school students should read Shakespeare.


We have learned about the structure of formal debates, rhetorical devices for building a strong argument, and public speaking skills. In preparation for the discussion, our students spent several busy class days preparing their cases.


They have been critically analyzing the relevance of reading plays written over 400 years ago and asking essential questions to guide their research.


  • Does the language make this text too challenging to be beneficial for the modern reader?
  • Do Shakespeare’s works contain insights into human nature that are timely and applicable?
  • Should students use modern translations?
  • Does the reading of challenging text have educational value?

An in-class debate provides a meaningful framework for addressing several learning objectives.


  1. Working in groups allows for collaboration in establishing individual roles and setting clear goals and deadlines.
  2. The research process challenges students to synthesize the information and present their findings and supportive evidence with clarity.
  3. Preparation for the rebuttal stage of the debate teaches students to evaluate another speaker’s point of view, reasoning, use of evidence and rhetoric, and respond with their own well-reasoned and supported argument.
  4. The debate process is a wonderful opportunity for our passionate students to channel their argumentative skills to a higher purpose.

Which side will win the debate?


Ask the Derech Emunah student in your life to find out if we should Read or Not to Read? That is the question.


Hopefully, they will have the answer and the evidence to back it up.


Upcoming Dates and Events

January 28th - 29th 

DE Retreat to Suncadia


February 9th at 6:30 pm
Annual Winter Garden Party Fundraiser to Celebrate Derech Emunah 


February 10th
Tu B'Shvat


February 14th and 17th
President's Day Weekend - No School


February 20th
Rabbi Nissel to visit DE