Dilemmas Regarding Teaching 'Israel' in the Diaspora

Avraham Infeld, a renowned Israeli educator (well known in the Diaspora), presents a typology of Jewish identity based on “five legs”, among them the leg of memory, the leg of family, the leg of covenant, the leg of Hebrew and the leg of Israel. The course will deal with this last “leg”. Infeld believes that any Jew, whether or not he or she lives in Israel, has to have both knowledge about and commitment to the sovereign Jewish state. Still, many educators feel lost when trying to work on this important Peoplehood “leg”. What should they teach? At what level? How to prioritize? Should the image of Israel be mythical or more “real”? Should teaching about Israel mean advocacy of the Jewish state? How should they teach students in different developmental stages?

In the course we will strive to accomplish the following:
1. Get a better understanding of the challenge;
2. Acquire knowledge of different approaches for teaching about Israel;
3. Deal with value centered curriculum design in the context of teaching Israel;
4. Obtain familiarity with formal and informal models;
5. Learn to take cultural and developmental factors into consideration.

Sixty percent of the course requirements consists of contribution to online discussions. Forty percent of the course requirements consists of a short essay describing a fundamental question we should ask about teaching Israel or a detailed lesson plan that describes the teaching of an Israel-related topic in the Jewish Diaspora. The final paper should be between 1100 – 1400 words. Full details of the writer of the essay should be included on the first page. Three academic sources must be quoted.
Lesson plans, comments and educational materials online (Additional material may be added during the course):
-Eliach, D. (1988) Teaching about Israel. http://www.lookstein.org/articles/teaching_israel.htm
-Infeld, A. (2011) Five legged table model. http://www.5leggedtable.org/en/general/about-avraham-infeld
-Myerson, M. (2008) Israel: Programs, Curricula and Resources. URJ website: http://urj.org/kd/_temp/AEC2294D-9EDA-5B96-4F28870E9747C697/Israel_Manual_unbridged_Part1.pdf
-Penslar, D.J. (2008) Contested Space: Maps in Teaching About Israel. Online at: http://bjpa.org/Publications/details.cfm?PublicationID=6322
-Stein et al (2008) Teaching Israel: a more effective strategy: http://www.ismi.emory.edu/Articles/ShmaTeachingIsrael.pdf
-60 Ideas for Teaching Israel. (Israel experts website) http://www.israelexperts.com/teaching_israel
Online Videos (additional materials may be posted later):
Teaching about Israel on campus: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WdiUaO9JDFE
Course Methodologies: Readings, Assignments and Classroom Participation
Each week the instructor will post the opening remarks, weekly readings and discussion topics. Students will join in the discussion about the weekly topic, explore texts and participate in the classroom forum (non synchronic).
Our communication will be conducted through The MOFET Institute.
Students can e-mail the teacher barsha@dyellin.ac.il with any question or request regarding the course.
​Prof. Yehuda Bar Shalom
Prof. Yehuda Bar Shalom is a teacher and researcher with 26 years of experience in education in formal and informal settings both in Israel and the Diaspora. Author of the book Educating Israel (Palgrave McMillan, 2006), Prof. Bar Shalom lectures at the David Yellin Academic College of Education, the overseas school at Tel Aviv University and teaches at the Givat Gonen School in Jerusalem.​

The opening of a course is dependent on the number of participants.
If a course is not given in a particular semester, registrants may:​
  • Choose an alternate course from the ones that are offered
  • Postpone studies to the following semester
  • Receive a full tuition refund.​

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