Search results for: Zakai Sivan
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“I’m Going to Israel and All I Need to Pack Is My Imagination”: Pretend Trips to Israel in Jewish Early Childhood Education
This article examines the practice of pretend Israel trips in Jewish early childhood education. Jewish early childhood educators who work in markedly different preschool settings, and who have differing beliefs about Israel and Israel education, nonetheless converge on a practice of pretend trips to Israel that remains remarkably stable across settings. This article examines how and why these pretend trips have become part of the “grammar” of Jewish early childhood education, illuminating a practice that is simultaneously beloved and unsatisfying for Jewish early childhood educators who care about early childhood education and Israel education.
Updated: Mar. 04, 2020
From the Mouths of Children: Widening the Scope and Shifting the Focus of Understanding the Relationships Between American Jews and Israel
This article makes two distinct yet interrelated arguments about the role of children in research on contemporary American Jews. The first is that children ought to be included in research about American Judaism. Second, the inclusion of children in research both widens the scope and shifts the focus of understanding American Jewish relationships to Israel. Children’s participation in research demonstrates how American Jews develop relationships with Israel over the course of a lifetime.
Updated: Jun. 13, 2019
American Jewish Children’s Thoughts and Feelings About the Jewish State: Laying the Groundwork for a Developmental Approach to Israel Education
This study presents the first longitudinal data on American Jewish children’s thoughts and feelings about Israel, highlighting children’s development between kindergarten and second grade. Drawing upon interviews and photo and music elicitation exercises with Jewish elementary school students, the research examines both children’s conceptual understandings of Israel—what they imagine it to be—and their feelings toward Israel. The research finds that throughout the early elementary grades, children think of Israel as a place where both good and bad can happen—a duality that remains relatively stable over time. Yet their feelings about Israel change over time, as consistently happy emotions give way to a wider range of affective responses to Israel, including worry, fear, and sadness. This manuscript examines both children’s static conceptions of Israel and their changing feelings about the Jewish state, addressing the implications of these findings for elementary school Israel education and Jewish communal policy toward youth engagement with Israel.
Updated: May. 04, 2016
Applying a backwards design model to the teaching of Jewish history, one is immediately struck by the need for curricular reform. Day schools today should be preparing graduates to thrive in an American milieu. The enduring understandings that students come away with should relate to their lived reality. An obvious approach to this challenge would be for students to study and make meaning of the American Jewish experience. Yet a recent survey of twenty representative day schools in the United States revealed that American Jewish history is rarely taught as a stand-alone course in grades 6-12, and typically given little or no attention in standard modern Jewish or US history courses.
Updated: Mar. 16, 2016
The polls in Israel have closed. The election results are pouring in. Politicians and pundits are scrambling to make sense of the will of the Israeli people. And those who work on the front lines of teaching American Jews about Israel are scrambling to make sense of how to teach and talk about the elections. The recent elections – and other headlines from Israel – can seem daunting if we approach them as stand-alone events. Instead, they must become part of a larger framework of teaching and talking about Israel. Such an approach makes room for issues of immediate relevance by approaching them as part of an overall framework.
Updated: Apr. 02, 2015
What is Israel in the minds and hearts of young American Jewish children? Through interviews and photo and music elicitation exercises, this research uncovers how day school kindergarten students conceive of Israel. This study, part of an ongoing longitudinal project, shows how 5- and 6-year-old children are able to form a multilayered conception of Israel, viewing it as both a Jewish state and a place for those who live there, a dangerous place and a safe haven for Jews, and a place at once special and ordinary.
Updated: Mar. 19, 2015
How do we talk to young children living far away from Israel about the current situation (Operation Protective Edge) when they are not yet old enough to understand terms like “Zionism” or “anti-Semitism” or “terrorism” or “occupation”? As parents of young children and also as Jewish educators, we would like to offer some tips for talking (and listening) to young children about the current conflagration.
Updated: Dec. 21, 2014
“My Heart Is in the East and I Am in the West”: Enduring Questions of Israel Education in North America
By examining writing about Israel education since the founding of the State, this paper highlights three questions that have surfaced repeatedly in Jewish educational discourse: What is the purpose of teaching American Jews about Israel? Who is best equipped to teach American Jews about Israel? How can Israel education foster positive identification with Israel without whitewashing over the imperfections of the Jewish State? By exploring how each question has manifested in Jewish education, it examines why—for very different reasons—these questions have endured over time, and considers what it might take to arrive at lasting conclusions about them.
Updated: Sep. 18, 2014
The Naphtali Herz Imber Jewish Day School proudly proclaimed its commitment to Israel, yet many of its students experienced profound ambivalence toward the Jewish State. Why? The school was committed to a series of contradictory values which surfaced in its approach to Israel education. This article outlines three distinct yet interrelated tensions: tensions between an open exchange of ideas and a non-debatable loyalty to Israel; between pluralism and Zionism; and between inclusivity and expertise. It demonstrates how American Jewish students—when confronted with values in tension—struggled to make sense of Israel and their relationship to it.
Updated: Sep. 27, 2011