MediaLab: Digital Resources for Authentic Israel Education

Oct. 04, 2017

Lior Krinsky is the Vice President of Israel Education Content and US Operations at Jerusalem U. She has been a university administrator and Israel and Jewish educator for the past decade, and holds a BA in International Affairs from George Washington University, MAs in Near Eastern & Judaic Studies and Jewish Professional Leadership from Brandeis University, and was a Ginsburg Scholar at Ben Gurion University of the Negev.

Today’s teens crave authenticity, have a healthy distrust of being spoon-fed information, and want to know the full story.

This isn’t news: teenagers have always wanted to discover things for themselves. However, today’s teenagers have come of age in the era of the smartphone. Their natural “need to know,” as well as their ability and access to do so, has shifted dramatically. In the Jewish community, this shift is perhaps seen most clearly when it comes to Israel education, where we often see a clash between teenage worldviews and the traditional “advocacy training as Israel education” model.

At Jerusalem U, we believe in meeting teens where they are. Our team, and our approach, is unique. We are filmmakers, storytellers, and educators. We engage, educate and empower young Jews to find themselves in the story of Judaism, the Jewish people, and Israel. We seek to transform the Israel education landscape through the power of film, bringing our audience on a journey infused with authenticity, where they wrestle with deep questions, exploring Israel and their own understandings of it.

We believe that teens need authentic education that takes them beyond talking points and advocacy1. We believe in facility with the fundamentals, an understanding of history, context, and primary source materials. Students need education that engages them in complex, nuanced discussions regarding Jewish peoplehood and its relation to Israel, Zionism, the founding of the State, and Israel’s contemporary history and role in the world today.

To truly educate and inspire today’s teenagers, educators around the world need to embrace a model of complex engagement with Israel in their classrooms. To help educators do just that, we’ve launched the Jerusalem U Media Lab2

The Media Lab is Jerusalem U’s web portal for our dynamic, film-based Israel education resources. Offering free content, as well as opportunities to purchase our feature films, the Media Lab is the destination for formal and informal educators searching for high-level, engaging Israel education resources. In developing Media Lab, Jerusalem U sought to fulfill two core goals: create an accessible Israel education resource hub for formal and informal educators, and create an online community of educators.

Media Lab embraces the tenets of modern digital learning: it makes our Israel education content open and accessible to anyone who wants it. Our short video resources, like our films focused on Palestinian narrative, Palestinian and Jewish refugees, the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, and more, are now available streaming, along with discussion guides and lesson plans. We seek to provide educators with digital content that will stimulate, inspire, and add to their classroom discussions on Israel. Our goal is to add additional layers of complexity and nuance to curricula, to be a resource to educators around the world.

The Media Lab’s professional development resources seek to both create community and enrich the dialogue on Israel education. Through our blogs, vlogs, and podcasts, our Israel education team seeks to engage in discussions with each other and with the field as a whole, taking joy in Israel education while also learning from its challenges. We welcome input and submissions as we look to build out our community of educators around the world.

[1] JU Israel Podcasts, "Ep. 46 - Advocacy or Education?", September 14, 2017.
[2] Currently hosted by

Updated: Oct. 25, 2017