Liv Anderson is a Teach For America alumna and is currently living and working in New Orleans. She participated in the 2011 REALITY Israel Experience for Teach For America corps members program. Liv recently used a Make It Happen Project micro grant for REALITY Israel alumni to host a latke-making party.
The first International Baccalaureate unit I taught this fall was organized around a theme: although people are different, they are also alike in many ways. My students explored the similarities and differences in traditions celebrated around the world. By the end of the unit, my students had formulated a working definition of tradition. To them, a tradition is when you get together with your family and friends and eat special food. Read More »
Cross-posted from eJewishPhilanthropy.
“There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle.”
“Daddy, how do we know it REALLY was a miracle, not just that somebody counted the oil the wrong way?”
Morgan Cohen, age 9
For the serious adult student, Chanukah presents interesting questions about Jewish history, the challenge of heroic narrative and the complexities of a Jewish authority. But for a nine year old, a simple question belies its profound impact: was it really a miracle that the oil burned for eight nights? This question, asked last week by my daughter Morgan, has been burning in my head ever since, especially as I prepared my annual list of predictions for the coming year. Read More »
When Ambassador Itamar Rabinovich published his book, “Waging Peace: Israel and the Arabs, 1948-2003,” in 2004, the title conveyed the optimism he felt about the prospect of achieving normalized Arab-Israeli relations. The book focused primarily on the 1990s, during which Rabinovich—who served as Israel’s chief negotiator with Syria from 1992 to 1995 and Israel’s ambassador to the U.S. from 1993 to 1996—had high hopes for the peace process.
With the release of his new book, “The Lingering Conflict: Israel, the Arabs, and the Middle East, 1948–2011,” it is not difficult to infer that the Ambassador—one of the foremost experts on the Middle East and a distinguished global professor at New York University—has a decidedly more pessimistic outlook. Focusing primarily on the past decade, during which he lost much confidence in the peace process, Ambassador Rabinovich bears witness to the dispiriting 2000s and recent social and political turmoil in the Middle East, including the Arab Spring uprisings.
Prior to a reception launching the new book, hosted by our Foundation at the Brookings Institution, Ambassador Rabinovich sat down with Lisa Eisen, our National Director, to talk about the impetus for writing the book, trends among young people in their views of Israel and what gives him hope for the future. Read More »
AMBASSADOR ITAMAR RABINOVICH’S BOOK LAUNCHES AT BROOKINGS INSTITUTION
The Lingering Conflict looks at the stalled peace process through lens of Arab-Israel relations
Washington, DC—December 1, 2011 – As social and political turmoil continue to roil the Middle East, a question remains at the forefront of debate and discussion: how did waging peace turn into lingering conflict?
On Thursday, December 1, scholars, policy makers, diplomats and academics gathered at the Brookings Institution to discuss Middle East unrest with one of the subject’s foremost experts, Ambassador Itamar Rabinovich, at an event co-hosted by the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation and the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings. Among the distinguished guests were philanthropist Chaim Saban, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, former IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, Ambassadors Martin Indyk and Sam Lewis, and Middle East scholars David Makovsky and Ghaith al-Omari.
The occasion was the launch of Ambassador Rabinovich’s new book, The Lingering Conflict: Israel, the Arabs, and the Middle East, 1948 – 2011, which draws on Rabinovich’s extensive scholarship and firsthand experiences as Israel’s ambassador to the U.S. and chief negotiator with Syria to explore the long history of the Arab-Israeli conflict, with particular emphasis on the past decade.
“We are dealing with a very different Middle East and a much more difficult Middle East,” Ambassador Rabinovich said during his remarks. “Israel is operating in a much more difficult environment and the impact of the Arab Spring is not at all clear. I don’t see a resolution now. I don’t see a peace process now. The challenge is to find creative and innovative ways to restart it.”
Ambassador Rabinovich addressed topics ranging from the relationship between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Barack Obama to the Arab Spring to the current political situation in Syria. He also took questions from the audience, which included representatives from a broad swath of organizations and institutions such as American University, Anti-Defamation League, Israel on Campus Coalition, Embassy of Israel and the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Ambassador Rabinovich was introduced by Ambassador Martin Indyk, Vice President and Director of the Foreign Policy Program at the Brookings Institution.
As co-sponsor of the evening, the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation has had a long-standing relationship with Ambassador Rabinovich. The Foundation has been at the forefront of efforts to expand the field of Israel studies and to create opportunities for people to learn about Israel, in all of its richness and complexity, both inside and outside of the classroom.
Ambassador Rabinovich has served as a trusted advisor for the Foundation on its work related to advancing the field of Israel studies, serving on the boards and advisory council of several organizations and programs, including the Schusterman Visiting Israeli Professors programs, which aims to bring rigor and a diversity of perspectives into university classrooms within the field of Israel studies.
“Ambassador Rabinovich has been a trusted advisor and valued thought partner,” said Lisa Eisen, National Director of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation during her opening remarks. “He brings to the table a wealth of knowledge and deep experience on the Middle East, offering a balanced global perspective that often challenges conventional wisdom.”
The Foundation will sponsor another event in the spring honoring Ambassador Rabinovich at the Taub Center for Israel Studies at New York University.
“A respected colleague and long-time friend, Ambassador Rabinovich has made enormous contributions to the field of Middle East and Israel studies, as a scholar, as a university president, as a diplomat and as a global leader,” says Lynn Schusterman, chair of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation. “He has elevated the level of discourse surrounding one of the most vital topics of our time: Arab-Israel relations. As a foundation devoted to shedding light on and deepening knowledge of modern Israel, we hope that by sharing the sharp insights of one of the foremost experts on the Middle East, we can provide a much-needed catalyst for further thought and constructive action in this critical arena.”
For more information, please contact Roben Kantor at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 202-289-7000, ext 6.
About the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation
The Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation is dedicated to ensuring vibrant Jewish life by empowering young Jews to embrace the joy of Judaism, build inclusive Jewish communities, support the State of Israel and repair the world. Established in 1987 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the Foundation also provides assistance to non-sectarian charitable organizations dedicated to enhancing the quality of life in our hometown, especially in the areas of education, child advocacy and youth development. www.schusterman.org
Chris Harty is a Teach For America alumnus who taught first grade in the small town of Clinton, Louisiana. He is also a 2011 REALITY Israel Experience participant and part of the OTZMA Israel Teaching Fellows. You can follow his blog on JewishinStLouis.com.
Oliver Wendell Holmes said that “Language is the blood of the soul into which thoughts run and out of which they grow.” Blood of the soul?! That’s some pretty heavy language (excuse the pun) used to describe language. Although I’ve never thought of language in such terms I, like Holmes, believe that language is incredibly important.
“How am I going to learn the language?” This was one of the many questions racing through my head after I decided to move to Israel in August. Three months ago, I moved to Petach Tikvah to join the OTZMA’s Israel Teaching Fellows (ITF) program. As a member of this program, I am volunteering as an English teacher’s assistant at an Israeli public school, Amir Elementary School, where I help teach students (grades 1-6) how to speak, read and write in English. Read More »
Cross-posted from JUF News.
It was dusk on a Shabbat evening in the Old City of Jerusalem. Dressed conservatively, I walked toward a pile of ancient bricks, piled 25 feet high in the air, creating a magnificent wall. I stared hesitantly and pondered, “Could this really be anything more than a wall?”
As I entered, I was overwhelmed: women praying, crying and divulging their deepest hopes, prayers and wishes, and placing them into the deep crevices between rocks where the mortar has been chipped away. I was also skeptical—but that skepticism was masking a deeper desire to feel something, anything that would lead me to tears. Read More »
From Moses to modern-day heroes, stories of great Jewish leaders reveal that while the need for leadership is constant, the type of leaders needed is constantly changing. The Talmud tells us: “As the generation, so the leader; as the leader, so the generation.”
But there are lasting lessons that hold across time and place. In keeping with the Jewish tradition of transmitting wisdom and stories from generation to generation, two veritable leaders with a combined five decades of experience respond to a series of questions submitted by PresenTense readers.
Sandy Cardin, president of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, and Daniel Birnbaum, CEO of Israel-based SodaStream International, share stories of transitions and torpedoes, of hot dog vendors and heroes, all while speaking honestly of their failures, of cultivating leadership, and of what is most needed amongst Jewish leaders today. Read More »