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Why teach Israel?

Why should we teach Israel? What should we teach?
Resources: Israel21c

3/11 Class Notes

What questions remain about how we teach Israel? What understandings have you learned about teaching Israel?
  • Miriam: the problem with content/curriculum is that a teacher really needs to have authenticity when teaching. What is our own relationship with Israel.

3/4 Class Notes

Great Israel resource for reliable information: http://www.ismi.emory.edu/

From 1/28:

Why Teach Israel? What purpose does it serve? Where does it fit into a student's identity?
I think it's important to teach about Israel because I think it is an integral part of the Jewish people. It is, after all, where the Jews started. Historically, Israel is literally the homeland of the Jews. I think students (all students, no matter their background) should learn about their own heritage and be proud of it. The Jewish saga is our saga. Israel is the beginning point of our people. I agree that it is possible to be a Jew and not feel connected to Israel, but I think that leaves something to be desired. My family, for example, came from Germany. I know nothing about Germany and feel no connection to it. I think this is an unfortunate thing. People don't pop out of thin air. They come from somewhere. They add to future generations. Without knowing our history, and the history of our people, and specifically the role of Israel in our identity, we lose some of that connectedness to being Jewish.
Another reason: Jewishness connecting people from different sides of the world. I think it's a worthwhile goal for American Jews and Israeli Jews to meet one another and realize how much we share, as far as traditions, customs, values, etc. Israelis, who come from the other side of the world, can come and sit down at our Shabbat tables and share this experience with us. Being Jewish is the glue that is so strong, and so unifying, that it brings together people from very far apart places.
Israel connecting Jews from around the world: Israel is an all-around cool place. It connects Jews from all around the world. You can go to Israel and find every kind of Jew there. They are not there because they want to make money; many aren't even there because they were born there: they come to Israel to live with Jewish people, and to live and breathe Judaism. It's amazing for Jewish children in America to see this: a whole country where everyone is Jewish, where the Shabbat we talk about in school and the Shabbat we practice in our homes and synagogues is put into practice. The stores shut down, there is a shul on every corner. Yom Kippur in Israel consists of a nation fasting together. The streets have no cars; people are mostly wearing white. Even the most secular Jew goes to shul and fasts. It is a place for Jews to feel 100% comfortable to be Jews, and they can be any kind of Jew they want. The whole spectrum exists there.

Now, to pull this apart to understand the purpose of teaching Israel, and what to teach:

New comments are in italics after the text.
  • I think it's important to teach about Israel because I think it is an integral part of the Jewish people. I think students (all students, no matter their background) should learn about their own heritage and be proud of it. The Jewish saga is our saga. Peoplehood model: Israel is part of the Jewish identity. Jews the world around can come together in the Jewish homeland.
  • It is, after all, where the Jews started. Historically, Israel is literally the homeland of the Jews. Israel is the beginning point of our people. Religious/classical Zionism. This notion can be understood through Jewish texts.
  • I agree that it is possible to be a Jew and not feel connected to Israel, but I think that leaves something to be desired. My family, for example, came from Germany. I know nothing about Germany and feel no connection to it. I think this is an unfortunate thing. People don't pop out of thin air. They come from somewhere. They add to future generations. Without knowing our history, and the history of our people, and specifically the role of Israel in our identity, we lose some of that connectedness to being Jewish. How does this connect to Israel and Israel education? Is this saying that all Jews came from Israel way back when?
  • Jewishness connects people from different sides of the world. I think it's a worthwhile goal for American Jews and Israeli Jews to meet one another and realize how much we share, as far as traditions, customs, values, etc. Israelis, who come from the other side of the world, can come and sit down at our Shabbat tables and share this experience with us. Being Jewish is the glue that is so strong, and so unifying, that it brings together people from very far apart places. Israel engagement model: Connecting Israel as an object of identity for all Jews. Jews of the world meet up on the streets of Jerusalem. This would mean teaching about Israel culture, food, geography, land, etc.
  • Israel connecting Jews from around the world: Israel is an all-around cool place. It connects Jews from all around the world. You can go to Israel and find every kind of Jew there. They are not there because they want to make money; many aren't even there because they were born there: they come to Israel to live with Jewish people, and to live and breathe Judaism. It's amazing for Jewish children in America to see this: a whole country where everyone is Jewish, where the Shabbat we talk about in school and the Shabbat we practice in our homes and synagogues is put into practice. The stores shut down, there is a shul on every corner. Yom Kippur in Israel consists of a nation fasting together. The streets have no cars; people are mostly wearing white. Even the most secular Jew goes to shul and fasts. It is a place for Jews to feel 100% comfortable to be Jews, and they can be any kind of Jew they want. The whole spectrum exists there.