The differences of opinion over Western Wall prayer and the issues of conversion to Judaism continue to distance Diaspora Jewry from Israel. Now, the Ministries of Education and Diaspora are now trying to build the bridge again, with the focus on the young generation. They have unveiled a first-of-its-kind curriculum to deal with Diaspora Jewry.
The program will be launched in preparation for the next school year and will include 10 units dealing with Diaspora Jewry, including the demography of the Jewish people, familiarity with Jewish communities around the world, the State of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people, solidarity, mutual responsibility and assimilation.
The program will begin with a pilot project in the 2018-2019 school year, in which 100 junior high schools (about 20 schools from each district) will participate. The students will learn about their brothers in the Diaspora, will become familiar with their ways of life and customs and will learn how to carry on a discussion of relevant questions and dilemmas.
"The State of Israel today has three main challenges: the continued existence of the State of Israel against the security risks, the reduction of the rifts in Israeli society, and the strengthening of ties with the world's Jews," said Minister Naftali Bennett, head of the Ministry of Education.
The 10 teaching units were developed employing digital media by development teams of the Ministries of Education, Diaspora Affairs and the Center for Educational Technology (CET), based on personal stories and familiarity with a variety of Jewish youth in the Diaspora. Accordingly, 12 Jewish youth from all over the world were selected, from Australia to Hong Kong and Argentina, representing all shades of Judaism to share their stories.
According to the initiators of the program, the chosen youths are the stars of the study units sharing their personal story in Instagram, through the events they experience and through the thoughts they share. In this way the great picture of the world of youth in the Diaspora is being presented. The choice of learning and illustration through authentic videos is designed to create a connection between the students in Israel and their overseas brothers through an experiential learning experience that is relevant to their world.
Israel Education Ministry Director-General, Shmuel Abuav, said that "the new program in junior high schools is another means that the ministry has established in strengthening the connection of the Israeli educational system with Jewish youth from the Diaspora. We will expose our students to history, culture, customs and a rich variety of activities that Diaspora Jewry produces, builds and sustains. In this way, we strive to ensure closer ties with our brothers in the Diaspora."
Read the original article (in Hebrew) at Ynet.