The Metamorphosis of Israel Education: A Conversation

March 21, 2013

  • Jewish Community

Recently I co-authored an article, “To Everything There Is a Season: The Metamorphosis of Israel Education,” with my colleague Chip Edelsberg, Executive Director of the Jim Joseph Foundation that suggests "today’s field of Israel education is embracing innovative approaches to experiential learning and emerging from its nascent stage with the possibility of becoming a fundamental element of Jewish education and Jewish identity formation."

The piece inspired many responses, and to advance the conversation and set the stage for the Spring release of the study Israel Education in Practice, eJewishPhilanthropy asked a number of experts and practitioners in the field to write about the growing field of Israel education. Herewith, we share some these articles.

What Does It Mean to Be An Israel Educator?
Alex Sinclair, Director of Programs, Israel Education at JTS
Ofra Backenroth, Associate Dean, the William Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education at JTS

These are exciting times for those interested in Israel education. New initiatives abound, and increased attention is being paid to the training and credentialing of Israel educators. Read more.

Israel Isn't the Problem—We Are
Anne Lanski, Executive Director, The iCenter

Israel education does not belong to advocacy organizations, shlichim, or any individual or group in isolation. Israel is not something separate. Israel education belongs to all of us. Read more.

Israel Education: A Rationale and a Strategy
Rabbi Jan Katzew, Director of Service-Learning, HUC-JIR Cincinnati

Why should Jews everywhere learn, teach and care about Israel and Israelis? Why should Hebrew be a second language for every Jew who does not live in Israel? Why should every Jew have an encounter, a first-hand intimate experience, a lifelong dialogue with the land, the state, the people and the God of Israel? Ma nishtana? These are educational and existential questions for the Jewish people. Read more.

Bridging the Gap between Sight and Vision: Revitalizing Israel Education as a Field
Zohar Raviv, International VP of Education, Taglit-Birthright Israel

I am an Israel educator based in Jerusalem, who belongs to a growing cadre of Jewish educators that actively pursue a shared language for the field, one based on shared theories and practices of Jewish education, and to which Israel education is integral. Read more.

Israel Education and the Transformation of the American Jew
David Bernstein, Executive Director, The David Project

About five years ago, I attended a panel discussion on Jewish identity with an Argentinian Jewish friend. “It was great,” he said. “But it’s two days before Yom Ha’atzmaut, and there was not a single mention of Israel’s birthday, no balloons, no music, nothing!” Read more.

Lisa Eisen Profile Image
Lisa Eisen

Co-President, Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies