HAYIDION The Prizmah Journal

From the Editor

by Barbara Davis Issue: Israel & Zionism Education
One of the speakers at our recent RAVSAK conference noted, “Things are bad. But we are Jews, we’ve seen worse.” His optimism based on pessimism is quintessentially Jewish. It reminds me of a joke making the rounds in Israel: A group of elderly, retired men gather each morning at a café in Tel Aviv. They drink their coffee and sit for hours discussing the world situation. Given the state of the world, their talks are quite depressing. One day, one of the men startles the others by announcing, “You know what? I am an optimist.” The others are shocked, but then one of them notices something fishy. “Wait a minute! If you’re an optimist, why do you look so worried?” The first man replies, “You think it’s easy being an optimist?”

But as our recent San Francisco conference proved, being together in difficult times can be uplifting. And reading this issue of HaYidion will likewise prove inspiring. It examines the pedagogical complexities involved in teaching about our homeland while living in the Diaspora. It brings a multitude of diverse theoretical and pragmatic approaches to bear on a challenging and complex theme. It will raise your spirits as you contemplate the diversity that underlies what we do in the Jewish community day school world as well as the unity that sustains and nourishes us all.

Israel was founded on hope. Hope was the theme of our recent presidential election. Hope and a belief in a brighter future sustain us all in our educational enterprises. This issue of HaYidion will help reinforce your optimism and your commitment to Israel, to our people and to our future as surely as spring follows winter. ♦

Dr. Barbara Davis is the Secretary of RAVSAK, Editor of HaYidion and Head of School at the Syracuse Hebrew Day School in Dewitt, NY. Barbara can be reached at shds@twcny.rr.com.

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Israel & Zionism Education

An attachment to the Jewish state, the main development in Jewish history over the last 2000 years, is central to the mission of Jewish day schools. Implementation, however, often proves challenging, as many schools lack a coherent curriculum or measures for success, or even a clear sense of goals. Authors here articulate visions, suggest ways to develop student knowledge, and describe portals for student connection to contemporary Israeli life and culture.

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