HAYIDION The Prizmah Journal

Israel & Zionism Education

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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by RAVSAK Staff Mar 11, 2009

This column features books, articles, and websites, recommended by our authors and people from the RAVSAK network, pertaining to the theme of the current issue of HaYidion for readers who want to investigate the topic in greater depth.

From the Desk of Susan Weintrob, RAVSAK President

by Susan Weintrob Mar 11, 2009

The RAVSAK conference has always been a storm’s haven for so many of us. Intensely busy in our professional lives, here is a time that we meet friends, find new solutions and forge a sense of community with our fellow practitioners and trustees.

From the Editor

by Barbara Davis Mar 11, 2009

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?”

Creating a School Culture of Israel Education

by Anne Lanski Mar 11, 2009
RELATED TOPICS: IsraelCommunity

One of the most powerful dimensions of Israel for me over all the years has been its all-encompassing nature. A true relationship with Israel isn’t one casual date: it’s an all-embracing roller-coaster, a perpetual romance. Visiting Israel, and even more living there, is a total entry into a gripping twenty-first century souk of people, fragrances, sounds, ideas, accents, beliefs, and garb.

Israel Action Items

by Rafi Cohen Mar 11, 2009

In response to Operation Cast Lead and the ongoing conflicts facing Israel, Rafi Cohen, our graduate intern, has compiled a list of activities that schools and students can do today to express their support for Israel.

Celebrating Israel’s Complexities Through the Arts

by Robbie Gringras Mar 11, 2009
RELATED TOPICS: IsraelArtsPedagogy

Under the weight of an ominous, foreboding soundtrack, the shooting cars begin to slow to a halt. We are looking down on a highway from a bridge, cars gradually coming to a standstill with no construction in sight. It is nighttime. The picture is grainy, dark, and the headlights streak the screen. Images are overlain, such that as the cars slow down, they leave a blur behind them. Ghostlike. And one by one the car doors open, and the drivers step out. They stand in silence.

The Dimensions of Time in Israel Education

by Ezra Kopelowitz Mar 11, 2009
RELATED TOPICS: IsraelPedagogy

There are at least five dimensions in which Israel is part of the educational experience at a Jewish school: the (1) aesthetic/decorative, (2) ceremonial, (3) conversational/interactive, (4) curricula and (5) school management dimensions. To think strategically about the development of “Israel education as a discipline,” we need first to describe all five dimensions and then ask a prescriptive question: How should educators incorporate these five dimensions into an overall strategy for Israel education?

Israel Education Is… Identification and Commitment

by Anna Kolodner and Jonina Pritzker Mar 11, 2009
RELATED TOPICS: IsraelMission & Vision

In January 2009 Israel is fighting in Gaza to defend its citizens from rocket attacks launched by Hamas. At the same time, anti-Israel and anti-Jewish sentiment stoked by the situation in Gaza is accelerating throughout the US and Europe. We see virulent anti-Israel demonstrations calling for the destruction and isolation of the Jewish state. Hamas supporters accuse Israel of “genocide” and “war crimes.” Supporters of Israel and Jews everywhere are on the defensive against a well organized and well funded opposition that dominates the media, negatively influencing public discourse. The confluence of these events exposes the vulnerability of our educational system, yet defines the elements which must be rebuilt, our sense of Jewish peoplehood, identity, and connection to Israel.

Israel Studies on the American Campus: A Hard Transition

by Arieh Saposnik Mar 11, 2009

Israel Studies—an academic field that was all but nonexistent a few years ago—has emerged in recent years as a rapidly growing (and evolving) field in American universities. The circumstances of its growth reflect the fault lines inherent in the field. The appearance of Israel Studies programs, chairs, and visiting scholars has, to a large extent, been the product of intense activity by donors concerned with Israel’s image on American campuses. While this has been a welcome development, it has also created a certain tension in some areas between the concern and interest of the donor organizations and individuals on the one hand and the academic demand for disinterested and dispassionate research and teaching on the other hand. And if this is true on the institutional level, it is in many respects a reflection of the kinds of dilemmas faced on a personal level by scholars whose research and teaching focuses on Zionism and Israel.

Israel Studies and the Hebrew Language

by Vardit Ringvald Mar 11, 2009

The dissection of the relationship between Hebrew language and Israel studies in Jewish day schools reflects the ongoing conversation among foreign language educators about the relationship between the teaching of a target language and the teaching of a target culture within the foreign language classroom.