Friday, April 8, 2011

JSU Israel Education 101

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This past week I attended a two day conference in New York with Jewish Student Union (JSU) regional educators to learn how to teach unaffiliated Jewish public school teenagers about Israel advocacy. This was the first of four conferences that will be offered to every informal educator in the JSU network so that we will all be well equipped to deal with the important issues that take place in Israel. The event was run by the OU's new Israel Education Director and the iCenter, a new organization based in Chicago that serves as a national address and advocate for high-quality and meaningful Israel education.

The iCenter is dedicated to developing and enhancing the field of pre-collegiate Israel education in North America, in both formal and informal settings. By building upon existing strengths in the field, the iCenter supports the work of Israel educators; identifies compelling educational resources and initiatives; and fosters the creation of a cadre of lay and professional champions of Israel education.

The iCenter envisions generations of young North American Jews for whom contemporary Israel is an integral and vibrant part of their personal and collective Jewish identity. This vision includes a pre-K through grade 12 Jewish educational system in North America that fully incorporates Israel - people, land, history, language and culture - into the very fiber of its overall mission.

It was an extremely informative experience and we will begin to implement the valuable strategies into our current educational program.

There are many challenges to leaving for a few days for a conference or a convention. First and foremost is being away from family. I have to say that I have an unbelievable wife, who is so supportive of everything I do, and there aren't even words that would describe how thankful I am. Another issue is not being able to respond to people in a timely manner, because regular work gets put on hold. I am grateful to a good friend who helped me strategize how to ensure that items don't fall through the cracks. I wouldn't have even known had I not got a call that pointed it out. You are all very special people and I want to thank you for your continued support.

Inspire yourself to inspire others...

Shabbat Shalom and may God bless you,


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