In this article we explore how we as teacher educators translate a new vision of Israel education into curricular practice in the preparation of emerging Jewish educators. Using a practitioner inquiry mode of research, we reflect on our existential vision of Israel education and its translation into practice as creators and directors of a semester in Israel program. Analyzing a variety of data sources—including internal and external documents, course syllabi, the program’s experiential components, and strategic institutional partnerships, as well as students’ course papers, emails, exit interviews, and oral conversations—we find that an immersive cultural curriculum yields important outcomes for students who engage with our vision of Israel education.
The structure of the article is as follows:
- First, a survey of Israel education at our institution (Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education at JTS) over the past two decades, in order to place the locus of our research in context;
- Second, a discussion of the vision of the program;
- Third, reflections on its translation into practice;
- Fourth, examination of our students’ voices as they grappled with the vision through its curricular enactment;
- Finally, wider implications for the field.