Robin Kahn's Blog (Our educational Director)
Shalom From Haifa
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Greetings from Haifa, Israel. After dancing at a friend’s wedding in New York, I boarded the plane for Tel Aviv, and made my way to Haifa where I was warmly welcomed by my group.
Today, Tuesday, I took an early morning walk on the promenade to the Baha’i Gardens, and had a full Israeli breakfast (vegetables, fruit, fish, eggs, pastries and more). My morning was spent at the Leo Baeck School, a K-12 progressive partially public and partially private Israeli School with a connection with the Reform movement. The school’s mission is Torah, avodah (work) and gemilut hasadim – very similar to our guiding principal. In our conversations with 8th graders we listened to their reflections on the questions, “Why is it important for Israelis to engage in Jewish studies?” and “Why is it a waste of time for Israelis to engage in Judaic studies?” I learned that while the American Jewish community is grappling with Israel education, educators in Israeli schools are grappling with how to teach Jewish studies in a secular environment.
We spent the afternoon focused on “bringing religious community and change to the Galilee.” In the Galilee we met with Marc, Nir, Gallit, and Tova, 4 inspiring leaders from various yishuvot (roughly translated as a closed community, think something like a condo association) who shared with us the reasons their families have chosen to live in the yishuvot in the Galilee. Much of our dialogue focused on the relationship between the Jewish and Arab communities in Northern Israel and longstanding partnerships.
This evening Meir Shalev and Yossi Abulafia, an Israeli novelist/children’s book author and cartoonist/illustrator shared their work with us. Their presentation was light, fun and a real treat. Many of their books have been translated to English and I look forward to sharing some of the stories with our community.
Tomorrow we’re heading to Jerusalem!
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