Wendy Kalman
Wendy Kalman
There are many ways to see and understand

When passion meets homework assignments

(davidpwhelan at morguefile.com)

Going back to school was a decision I made without much thought, to be honest (the program I am in is for a Master of Public Administration and a Master of Arts in Integrated Global Communications). My husband suggested it as a way to challenge myself and I figured why not. Perhaps it would help me at work. Perhaps it would just exercise my brain. For much of the first year, I tied my research projects to knowledge sharing, something I am involved in at work. Over the summer, however, I changed focus and researched anti-Semitism in America for a paper for my policy analysis class.

I later used the introduction as a basis for one blog and a recap of the entire paper – which I also presented at the Georgia Political Science Association’s annual conference – in a later blog. In addition to anti-Semitism, for the last three years, I have also blogged on hate and bias of all sorts – and what it would take to overcome it as well as on Israeli politics, American politics where Israel is concerned, the Hebrew language, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Jewish Atlanta and more. Clearly, these topics are dear to me. And so it seemed natural when searching for research topics for both a communications theory class and a global communications class this semester, that I would again turn to in the same direction.

In both cases, students are actually submitting research proposals. These papers include a review of studies conducted in areas relating to what we are proposing, summaries of the theories that bear on the topic and on the methodology we would use and demonstrate why our topics would add to an existing body of knowledge. We are not required to actually carry out the research. I’ve already submitted first drafts of each. I thought my topics interesting and worth sharing here.

For the global communications class, my proposed research study focuses on how the American press differs from the Israeli press in its coverage of the September 2019 elections in Israel and subsequent coalition efforts. I believe that the lens through which Americans see world events or other countries’ politicians actually colors how we interpret the news, especially in Israel. Comparisons between the right and the left in each country, for instance, does Israel a disservice.

Given that both Benny Gantz and Bibi Netanyahu have failed to put together a coalition, it is growing even more likely the country will hold third elections in March 2020. Should I carry out the research, I might want to shift focus to that election.

My second research-related paper this semester proposed studying how the definition of the word Zionism (and therefore anti-Zionism) is different for those who stake positions. I’ve blogged on how this is a problem, but not an insurmountable one. Working backwards by looking at the text in newspaper articles, I believe I can support this contention.

Both of these relate to communications just as my earlier paper was about public policy, the two tacks of my dual degree program. Finding ways to integrate my concern for Israel, the country I lived in for over a decade, and for the Jewish people into the entirety of my coursework makes it all that more meaningful. And having this platform on which to share my work, thoughts, perspectives increases that twofold.

How do you incorporate the topics you care most about into your life?

About the Author
Born in Brooklyn and raised on Long Island, Wendy lived in Jerusalem for over a decade submerged in Israeli culture; she has been soaked in Southern life in metro Atlanta since returning to the U.S. in 2003. An Ashkenazi mom to Mizrahi sons born in Israel and the US, a DIL born in France and a step mom to sons born in the South, she celebrates trying to see from multiple perspectives and hope this comes out in her blogs. Wendy splits her time between her research position at the Center for Israel Education, completing dual master's degrees in public administration and integrated global communications, digging into genealogy and bring distant family together, relentlessly Facebooking, and enjoying the arts as well. All of this is to say -- there are many ways to see and understand.
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