Search results for: Jewish identity
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Over the past three decades, travel to Poland for youth and young adults has become increasingly popular, to the extent that it is even seen as a “rite of passage” for members of many Jewish communities. For these groups, the accompanying guides or educators are central to their educational experience. Based on a series of interviews with educational guides, this article sets out to understand the trips from the perspective of the guides. A deeper appreciation of the guiding experience—the guides’ goals and reflections—will enable a more holistic understanding of these trips.
Updated: Dec. 02, 2015
Parochial or Transnational Endeavor? The Attitude to Israel of Adolescents in Australian Jewish Day Schools
The aim of this qualitative research is to investigate the attitude of adolescents to Israel in Australian Jewish day schools. Using a grounded theory approach according to the constant comparative, data from three sources (interviews, observations and documents) were analyzed, thus enabling triangulation. One key finding is that place attachment, exploration and criticism are not contradictory, but reflect the concern and involvement of the younger generation and serve as a form of reclaiming their connection to Israel through critical engagement.
Updated: Nov. 25, 2015
A month after its publication, the “Statement on Jewish Vitality,” signed by a number of leading Jewish communal figures, has stirred robust and vociferous condemnation. So who is right? The luminaries – rabbis in the field and leading scholars of Jewish sociology – who suggest there is a crisis and a need for a strategic response? Or those who have rejected the “Statement” as being too myopic and anachronistic, missing out on the vital Jewish experience currently taking place, to borrow from [a recent] Torah portion, Vayera, if only our Hagar-like Jewish establishment would open its eyes?
Updated: Nov. 11, 2015
It isn’t really the 25th anniversary of what came to be called the “Jewish continuity” endeavor in North America. The first Continuity Commission was established in Cleveland before the 1990 National Jewish Population Survey was mounted; and the first results of the 1990 NJPS – including the alarm-ringing, hand-wringing statistic of a 52% intermarriage rate – didn’t appear until the calendar had turned. But, 1990 is a convenient enough date to mark the beginning of a significant effort that has unfolded over the past two and a half decades aimed at strengthening Jewish identity and engagement among American Jews, many of whom, it was argued then and since (viz. the reactions to the 2013 Pew study) are in danger of or are already being lost to Jewish life as active participants.
Updated: Aug. 04, 2015
Contemporary Jewry is proud to announce a Call for Papers for a special issue focusing on education. Guest edited by Professor Ari Y Kelman (Stanford University), the special issue will feature articles and studies that take a social scientific approach to scholarship at the intersection of Jewish Studies and Education. As the only academic journal dedicated to publishing social scientific research about Jews, Contemporary Jewry invites proposals that engage with educational phenomena within broader social, cultural, religious, or political contexts.
Updated: Jul. 16, 2015
If thousands of today’s Jewish students had experienced Israel before coming to campus, college life would be very different. With Israel travel in teen years, more will check out Shabbat meals, Jewish studies and other campus-based Jewish growth experiences. They’ll also know how to begin to respond to the numerous challenges to Israel engagement they’ll experience. The teen Israel experience can bend the trend lines, dramatically increasing the numbers involved in Jewish life on campus and beyond. The time to provide low-cost teen trips to Israel is now. The time to invest in more types of quality teen Israel trips, and advocating that every Jewish teenager celebrates this milestone event in their life journey has arrived. As a community, we haven’t done all that well preparing our children for freshmen orientation this fall. Let’s do better for their siblings in 2016.
Updated: Jul. 15, 2015
My Family Story is one of Beit Hatfutsot’s most innovative flagship programs. Young participants in Israel and worldwide Jewish communities, embark on a meaningful, personal, and experiential, multigenerational Jewish heritage project. Through personal research and inspiring creativity the students produce an art display illustrating their families’ roots and connection to the greater story of the Jewish people. The International School for Jewish Peoplehood Studies (ISJPS) at Beit Hatfutsot recently held a festive ceremony on the occasion of 20th anniversary of the program. Over 600 students and their families, from Israel and around the world, celebrated the culmination of the annual Manuel Hirsch Grosskopf International Competition. 170 Jewish institutions involving over 20,000 Jewish youth in 25 countries participated in the competition.
Updated: Jul. 15, 2015
The Importance of a Navigational Perspective in the Study of Contemporary American Jews: Response to the Sklare Lecture
One fissure in the social scientific study of contemporary American Jews involves how scholars understand the relationship between the individual and the shared or social realm. In this essay I contrast a more normative, tradition-oriented approach to studying American Jews and their Jewishness exemplified by Sylvia Barack Fishman to the person-centered, meaning-oriented, navigational approach I employ. Our contrasting approaches reflect different views about what it means to “transmit Jewish culture to the next generation.”
Updated: Jul. 08, 2015
A new approach to Israel education has emerged to counteract what has been a tendency to romanticize Israel by avoiding criticism; it presumes that Israel engagement has much to offer a meaningful Jewish identity, but only when encountered critically, taking into account Israel’s many complexities. However, prevailing scholarly trends may not provide a clear stance on which to base critique and academic criticism may raise hard questions about the very idea of a Jewish and democratic state. This article addresses these concerns by offering a conceptual framework for scholarly study of Israel called “Mature Zionism” in which to ground a critical engagement with Israel that is genuinely educational.
Updated: Jun. 10, 2015
Gary Rosenblatt writes about two new programs for returned Birthright Israel participants that are seeking to fill the vacuum caused by the closing of Birthright NEXT, which had been created to translate the participants’ enthusiasm for Israel into involvement in Jewish life back home. One Table, is based on the success Birthright Next had for several years in helping to sponsor Friday night Shabbat meals for Birthright alumni. Another innovative program, Bring Israel Home, offers a weekend retreat with fellow Birthrighters from their group of 40 bus mates, plus the Israeli participants, to those groups who complete 100 points of Jewish activity in the three months following their trip.
Updated: May. 27, 2015