25 October 2006

The Huge Disconnect

Exclusive: Schools ignoring US Jewry [JPost]
A special joint session of the Knesset Education and Immigrant Absorptions committees will meet Wednesday morning to examine the findings of a worrying new study showing that the Israeli educational system virtually ignores American Jewry.

...According to the study's findings, only 13.6 percent of teachers surveyed reported any teaching on American Jewry in their schools in the past three years.

...The findings follow the distressing results of last month's "Young Jewish Adults in the United States Today" study, also conducted by the American Jewish Committee, which found that only about a third of American Jewish young adults see caring about Israel as important to their Jewish identities.

Among the American study's findings was the "consensus among several studies that Israel is not central to young people's Jewish identity."

In 2000, only 33% of New York Jews aged 22 to 52 indicated that "supporting Israel" was related "a lot" to "what being Jewish meant for them." Supporting Israel was ranked 11th in significance on a list of 15 values.

..."Forty percent of the world's Jews are Americans, while another 40% are Israeli," [Rabbi Edward Rettig] explained, calling the two communities "strategically interdependent."

...There are optimistic signs that this phenomenon could change. Eighty-five percent of Israeli teachers think this ought to be taught in the schools, even if only 13.6% of them work in schools where it is actually taught. A quarter of Israeli teachers want to learn more about American Jewry. Half of them want to see more mifgashim, or live meetings, between Israeli and American Jewish youth.

...In describing the scenario if the situation isn't changed, Rettig warned, "American Jews, who are more concerned with their inner religious identities, and Israeli Jews, who know almost nothing about American Jewry, will wake up one morning to find they have nothing to talk about. Whether at that stage the two communities will still come to each other's aide is anybody's guess."
Read the whole article. Share it with your Rabbis, your Jewish school administrators and teachers, and with each other. Remember, as parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, and siblings, you are the primary educational source for every child in your family. Don't hesitate to make an impact!

Our identity as Jews relies on the nation of Israel. Remember, before we were "Yehudim" we were Israelites! HaShem didn't give the Torah to the "Jews," He gave the Torah to ISRAEL. He named Yakkov ISRAEL. Our renewed sense of identity over the past half-century has been because of the miraculous victory of Jewish ISRAELIS in ISRAEL. Israel is who we are. We have a duty to our Adonai, to each other, and to ourselves to remember that and instill this life-giving lesson into our children.

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