The Second International Symposium on Israel Education will bring together Jewish educators and decision-makers in a position to impact significantly on how and why Israel might be integrated into the educational environments with which they are involved for four days (July 17-20, 2017) of dialogue, encounters, field trips and reflection. Its underlying rationalization is the conviction that effective Israel education means facilitating exploration into the meaning of Israel in one’s own life, enabling students to make sense of Israel for themselves in a manner that will foster a personal and enriching relationship with the Jewish state while also motivating them to engage in building the Jewish future. It also means facilitating a broader conversation about identity in the context of a conversation about how engaging with Israel in all its density helps stretch and complete a young Jew's persona in all its multi-dimensionality.
With growing evidence that fostering such a relationship with Israel is a crucial component in building Jewish identity among members of the next generation, and against the background of concern regarding the tenuousness of that relationship, the need for this sort of education is becoming increasingly urgent. For it to happen, however, the Israel educator needs to be attuned to the importance of these processes and understandings in addition to being able to tell Israel’s story in innovative and reflective ways.
As the gathering will be taking place in a year during which we will be celebrating the 120th anniversary of the First Zionist Congress, the program is also being designed to challenge participants to reimagine Zionism for the 21st century as we engage with the complexities of contemporary Israel and the diverse circumstances of Jewish communities across the globe. Throughout we will be ruminating on the overarching objective of the gathering: how we might make Israel integral to the lives of our students, while taking part in a uniquely structured conversation which will engender critical thinking in regard to the fundamentals of Jewish statehood and Israel education.
In addition to providing an experience which will be enriching in and of itself, it is envisioned that the symposium will leave participants with:
- an increased level of comfort in navigating the complexities of Israeli society
- an articulation of a narrative for Israel education appropriate to one's teaching environment
- a formulation of a contemporary definition of Zionism that is functional both personally and professionally
- an appreciation of the diversity of needs and objectives in the field of Israel education specific to the sociology, geography, demography, and orientation of the frameworks in which it is taking place and what it is that educators in these various environments have to learn from one another
- the establishment of a professional international association for Israel education that will serve as a network for ongoing support and enrichment among colleagues
See the WZO website for more information and registration.