Teaching Israel, Warts and All

Dec. 22, 2011

Source: Jewish Education Change Network 


Peter Eckstein posts & reflects about his experiences working with a group of teens associated with the iCenter’s MZ Teen Israel Internship program which follows up on teens’ Israel summer experiences, through a framework consisting of a series of yearlong educational and social activities.


During a series of informal meetings with a group of teens who participated in Israel programs last summer and are involved in MZ teen activities, they "have explored the diversity that makes up Israeli society, comparing it to the multi-faceted nature of North American Judaism" and "thought about Israel being characterized by the people, not just the stones or the conflict."


In the future, they will be discussing the role of religion in Israel, as well as the dynamic that exists between Israeli Jews and Arabs. They are trying to make real connections with the Jewish State, drawing from the teens’ experiences in the context of a more in-depth exploration of Israeli society.


Peter concludes:

"In my mind, at least, the political, cultural, economic and ethnic tensions that characterize life in Israel are a mere reflection of Jewish history, both in Israel and in Exile. We have always been one people, but with many voices. This idea of Jewish diversity can be used as a tool to help our young people understand that being Israel is all about struggle. We should provide the tools to our teens, to empower them to joyfully enter into the fray that is the Jewish conversation about Israel. When we teach Israel, we mustn’t ignore the warts."


See his full post at the Jewish Education Change Network. 

Updated: Jan. 03, 2012