Day Schools Need New Israel Ed Approach

February 16, 2011

Source: The Jewish Week 


Gary Rosenblatt of the Jewish Week reacts to a new study of day school students’ attitudes about Israel presented by Alex Pomson at The North American Jewish Day School Conference in Los Angeles last week. The study found that many of the 43 U.S. high school juniors interviewed by a research team from the Melton Center for Jewish Education at the Hebrew University were somewhat doubtful of their schools’ attempts to convince them of certain pro-Israel points of view. They frequently criticized the schools and teachers of being biased.


The students interviewed were from four Jewish day schools from different parts of the country, two Modern Orthodox and two community schools. Pomson, who kept the identities of the schools secret, discussed the findings and showed video clips from the interviews with during his presentation.


Rosenblatt writes:
"The hard truth is that few Jewish day schools in this country, including prestigious ones in the New York area, offer any full-term courses focusing on modern Israel. And now we learn that those that do may be pushing Israel’s case too hard, creating an unintended and worrisome backlash among students…


With so much of our communal attention on college campuses as a Mideast battleground, it’s time we learned that Zionist education — including an open exploration of issues rather than the candy-coated version — must start long before students reach university. And the very best way to ensure an Israel connection for our children and grandchildren is to get them there, appreciating that Zion is a real place, not just a hollow concept."

Updated: Feb. 22, 2011