Israel Education, Israel Studies and Israel Advocacy must be integrated into A Continuum of learning and engagement – an Israel Continuum. Young people are sophisticated, they are inquisitive, and they are thirsty for purpose and responsibility. At the Alexander Muss High School in Israel student surveys reflect a positive reaction to our students’ opportunity to be independent, to make decisions for themselves, and to explore ways to one may forge her/his link to the chain of Jewish continuity. All wonderful experiences providing our alumni a leg-up on their preparation for college and life after college.
But that’s not why we do what we. The longitudinal research conducted throughout 47 years of experience in the field reflects a transformation that takes place over time following a long-term immersive Israel experience – today our alumni are now parents of alumni.
On Israel Advocacy.
Advocacy is defined as public support for or recommendation of a particular cause or policy. A proactive approach in support of a cause. What Israel Advocacy has become today is a defensive, often reactionary, approach not necessarily in support of but – in defense of – Israel.
Over the years we have piloted and officially launched our Impact Fellowship. To date over 90 fellows have come through this specialized leadership track. Through the fellowship we have had the opportunity to change the way we educate and talk about Israel. We use a positive, proactive, approach to Israel Advocacy. We don’t teach our students to defend Israel, we teach our students to celebrate Israel – in all her wondrous achievements, complex challenges and even disasters.
For those who use Israel Advocacy as a form of Israel Education, we end up losing the forest for the trees. Education is not informed by advocacy, rather the opposite. If we are to ensure our children become the best possible advocates in support of and celebration of Israel, they must first be educated.
Ever since launching our Impact Fellowship we have had the opportunity to integrate the three aforementioned areas of Israel Education, Israel Studies and Israel Advocacy. Our pluralistic approach to Israel education provides us with the band-with over time and space to help explore a relationship with Israel, to study Israel as an academic topic within itself, resulting in young leaders knowledgeable, confident – and critically sensitive – able articulate what Israel means to them and to their peers.
Building a relationship with Israel is a prerequisite for studying Israel, a prerequisite for standing for – and even celebrating – Israel.