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The goal of this paper is to look at trips to Israel as a vehicle for Jewish engagements of the millennial generation — those born after 1980 — and to assess the relationship between connections to Israel and Jewish involvement both in the private and the public spheres. The analyses are based on the Demographic Study of Jewish College Students, 2014, an online survey of four - year institutions of higher education in the U.S. with over 1,100 Jewish students. The road to Jerusalem on an educational tour does lead to the Kotel, the Western Wall, yet it does not elevate religious observance. However, visits to Israel connect or reconnect young people with their Jewish cultural roots, elevate Jewish pride, and create a sense of peoplehood. This is true of any kind of visit, whether with Taglit, another educational program, or family. A personal visit to Israel, in any capacity, seems to be a stronger predictor of feelings of Jewish pride and commitment to Jewish peoplehood more than growing up with two Jewish parents.
Updated: Sep. 08, 2016
When Bible and Science Interact: Teachers’ Pedagogic and Value Challenges in Teaching Religious Minority Students in Higher Education Settings
The integration of highly religious minority students into institutions of higher education poses significant pedagogical and value challenges for students and teachers alike. We offer a framework for analyzing such challenges, distinguishing between practical concerns, identity issues and value conflicts. By contrasting a deficit perspective to ‘Diversity as resource’, we argue that the latter enables teachers to utilize a collaborative knowledge model in class, surmounting some of the value challenges involved. We present the case of ultra-orthodox students (UO) in Israel who have recently entered the gates of higher education for the first time in this society's history.
Updated: Jun. 01, 2016
The past two decades have witnessed a dramatic shift in the extent and focus of concerns about Jewish life on campus. The Jewish community is increasingly occupied with the education of the next generation and the rise of anti-Semitism and anti-Israel sentiment on campus. Outreach to Jewish students—from the expansion of Hillel and Chabad to the flourishing of Birthright Israel, as well as the growth of Jewish and Israel Studies—have engaged formerly uninvolved students with Jewish education and Jewish life. This article describes the situation on campus: the proportion of Jewish students, Israel-related activity, and perceptions of anti-Semitism.
Updated: Mar. 02, 2016
The central responsibility of each generation of Jews is to pass on the tradition to the next generations. How we transmit the ideas, ideals, and values of the Torah is of critical importance. In this issue of Conversations, explore topics relating to the education of the younger generations of Jews. The issue opens with articles by Rabbis Aharon Fried and Marc D. Angel dealing with how we transmit the tradition. This is followed by an article by Dr Bryna Jocheved Levy, who writes on the importance of Tanakh study. Jewish education entails not just technical information. but also the transmission of proper moral values. Articles by Dr. Dov Zakheim and Rabbi Havyim Angel deal with problems relating to religious extremism. We then have articles by Dr. Alan Zelenetz, Rabbi Ben Greenberg and Rabbi Hyim Shafner on formulating the content of Jewish education in a sensible and meaningful way.
Updated: Mar. 02, 2016
At Hillel International, we know the importance of guiding students on their college journey. As they question their beliefs and assumptions, and forge an adult identity of their own, Hillel helps students explore Jewish life and make meaning. Periodic evaluations have demonstrated the significance of Hillel’s work. However, Hillel has never attempted to regularly measure the effectiveness of campus Hillels, nor did we possess the methodologies to do so. Until now.
Updated: Feb. 10, 2016
Several years ago, I ran a 10-week fellowship at New York University called the Jewish Learning Fellowship (JLF), which introduced Jewish study to college students with limited Jewish background. I was sure that the most important aspects of the class were the content of my source sheets, my pedagogical acumen and my ability to inspire. When I conducted research with the participants afterwards, they reported overwhelmingly that the most important aspect of the class for them was that they found friends, mentors and a sense of community.
Updated: Feb. 10, 2016
Israel’s first college aimed specifically at students with autism, Asperger’s syndrome and complex learning disabilities is set to open in March 2016. According to the NRG news website, the BE Academic College will be a collaboration between Beit Ekstein, an organization that provides services to people with a variety of learning and developmental disabilities, and the Open University, a distance-learning institution with branches throughout the country. The new institution will be housed at Beit Ekstein’s campus in Givatayim, a suburb of Tel Aviv. It will offer three interdisciplinary tracks meant to prepare its target population for the workforce. The programs announced by the academy are psychology and education, economics and computer science, and psychology and communications.
Updated: Jan. 06, 2016
Now in its fourth decade, the Steiner Summer Yiddish Program, a seven-week intensive course for college students, offers motivated students the opportunity to immerse themselves in Yiddish language and culture. Participants study with renowned scholars and build a community of yidishkayt in a supportive residential setting. The program will be held between June 5-July 22, 2016.
Updated: Nov. 18, 2015
Survey of Jewish Studies Professors Shows Deepening Challenges to Younger Scholars, Declining Enrollments
Jewish Studies professors are challenged by a diminishing job market and small but noticeable declines in enrollment in Jewish Studies classes in North America. These are among the key findings emerging from a world-wide survey of Jewish Studies professors, graduate students, researchers and other academics sponsored by the Association for Jewish Studies, and conducted by Professor Steven M. Cohen of HUC-JIR and funded by the American Academy for Jewish Research. The study draws upon an online survey of more than 2800 professors, graduate students, scholars, and teachers of Jewish Studies, conducted in 2014. The respondents constitute 60% of the AJS membership, an unusually high response rate. The survey report contains findings about course enrollments, salaries, retirement projections, productivity, time on the job market, careers outside of academia, and popular specializations.
Updated: Oct. 07, 2015
With the new academic year about to begin, nine leading Israeli artists will take up residency at colleges and universities across the U.S. through the Schusterman Visiting Israeli Artists program. The program, run under the auspices of the Israel Institute, has been bringing pieces of Israel’s vibrant art scene to new audiences for the past eight years – and this year promises to be as colorful and thought-provoking as ever. The diverse incoming class includes two best-selling Israeli writers, whose works have been translated into more than a dozen languages; one of Israel’s leading composers; and other acclaimed and accomplished virtuosos of choreography, music, literature and the visual arts.
Updated: Aug. 19, 2015