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  • Thoughtful Israel Engagement

    Posted on April 15th, 2010 Ruth Abusch-Magder 1 comment



    Solemn ceremonies. Joyous celebrations. Introspection. Advocacy.

    Long gone are the days when marking Yom Hazikaron, Yom Haatzmaut, and later Yom Yerushalyim were marked with relative ease. Political complexities both in the United States and Israel complicate our ability to talk about Israel. Facilitating conversations about Israel demands the ability to hold on to multiple narratives about Israel’s past and present. It means allowing different opinions but demanding civility. Additionally, it can be challenging to know how to interpret the myriad of news stories about Israel that come to us through traditional and new media sources.

    One of my favorite resources for engaging with Israel is the collaboration between the Haaretz newspaper and Makom. Mokom is a relatively newcomer to the Israel education scene. Based in Israel, it specializes in helping those living in North America connect with Israeli culture and current events. The organization promotes questioning and discussion on all elements of Jewish life but provides particular focus on the arts and on challenging contemporary issues. The collaborative Haaretz and Makom site combines the headline news with opinion pieces, arts commentaries, and forum for discussion.

    Jewish professionals will find the vast array of educational resources of great interest and use. There are film guides, text studies and book group guides. For example, Makom has collaborated with the UJA Federation of New York to create a booklet for chevrutah study on the words L’hiyot Am Chofshi that is visually and intellectually engaging. There are wonderful explorations of contemporary music, including study guides and interviews with musicians. Videos are used to create virtual tours of monuments. dag-nahash-cd-cover

    As you plan to engage with your congregations around Israel in the coming weeks or at any time, I recommend that you check out the site and make use of its resources.


    One response to “Thoughtful Israel Engagement”

    1. Good thoughts based on the Engagement of the Israel and also that Political complexities both in the United States and Israel complicate our ability to talk about Israel.A very good and informative post.

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