Media Studies Orientations for Israel Education: Lessons from In Treatment, Homeland, and Z-Cars

Mar. 29, 2013

Source: Journal of Jewish Education, 79:1, 49-69


Following the work of Holtz (2003) and Levisohn (2010) in developing orientations for teaching Bible and Rabbinic Literature, this article develops a menu of media studies orientations for teaching Israel to Americans. It explores distinctive aspects of media studies, the relevance to Israel education of the work of Marland (1968a, 1968b), and applies the orientations through case studies of the Israeli television series Be-Tipul and Hatufim and their American adaptations, In Treatment and Homeland.


From the article's introduction:

"This article proposes media studies “orientations” for Israel education in America, specifically regarding using Israeli film and television and adaptations of those texts for teaching about Israel to Americans. “Orientations” refer to Pamela Grossman's (1990, 1991) term as applied to Jewish education by Barry Holtz (2003) and John Levisohn (2010). Orientations encompass a teacher's “organizing framework for knowledge” in their particular subject matter (Grossman, 1991 as cited by Holtz, 2003, p. 47). Holtz sets forth orientations for teaching Bible, Levisohn does so for rabbinic literature. This articles sets out orientations for teaching Israel with media, concentrating on television case studies. In recent years, Israeli film and television have risen to international acclaim, recognized for their sophistication and introspection. Simultaneously, digital video has become a vernacular and shorthand via Web 2.0 platforms and technology. This confluence of the ascending of Israeli narrative media with Web 2.0 also coincides with a growing desire in Israel education to move from a naïve attachment to Israel to a nuanced connection informed by critical thinking. Lisa Grant and Ezra Kopelowitz (2012) argue that to inspire and engage American Jews about Israel requires an approach that includes “complicating” Israel—understanding Israel as a “multi-vocal, multi-layered, textured wave that affords the possibility for intellectual, emotional, spiritual, and social engagement” (p. 22). Because Israeli film and television texts and their adaptations provide opportunity for a complicating and connecting approach to Israel, I set forth media studies orientations. These media orientations are inclusive of and yet more expansive than orientations used to teach literature."

Updated: Apr. 29, 2013