Wow, what a day! So many ideas, so much interest, so many people! The conference devoted to the subject of relations between the State of Israel and North American Jewry dealt with a hot-button, current issue: why are there gaps in the education of children in the two largest centers of the Jewish people today? What is the demographic difference between the two centers and how does this affect religious, civil, political, social perceptions? Do diaspora Jews have the right to criticize Israel? If so, when? Does Israel need American Jews, or not? Most importantly, how can these gaps be bridged?
TALI textbooks are unique in Israel. They offer substantive Jewish content and engaging illustrations that embrace the true diversity of Israeli society – men and women of all different religious, ethnic and racial backgrounds.
The newest study track at the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies is off to a fantastic start. The first cohort began in Fall 2017 and students are thoroughly excited about their learning and the exciting possibilities the program offers.
The Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies and the Open University will host Jewish Studies graduate students from the University of Amsterdam in Holland. The topic will be “Schism and Debate in Judaism through the Ages.” The program is part of a winter-term initiative of the Jewish Studies Department of the University of Amsterdam. It had its inaugural session last year. Twelve graduate students from the department of Jewish Studies at University of Amsterdam are taking part in partnership with students from the Open University and Schechter Rabbinical Seminary students.
The Jewish community in Ukraine also lights Hanukkah candles in public locations. For the second year in a row, the Conservative/Masorti community has been celebrating the Holiday of Light by lighting candles on a large Hanukkiya placed in one of the main squares of Ukraine’s capital, Kontraktova Square in the historic district of Podyl. This year, the Hanukkiya was attacked by vandals who drew a swastika on it on the very first night of the holiday, splattered a red liquid resembling blood on the 6th night and took down the leaflets explaining the meaning and traditions of the holiday in the meantime.
In a time of increased strife and violence throughout the world we must seek out source of peace and hope. TALI’s Dialogue and Identity program brings together students and teachers from Israeli Jewish and Christian Arab schools.
As you celebrate Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, we hope that you will help us bring the light of Jewish learning to 65,000 children and adults by making your annual gift to the Schechter Institutes.
This year, Camp “Ramah Yachad” Ukraine is celebrating the 25th anniversary of its establishment. The camp, founded and funded by Midreshet Yerushalayim and The Schechter Institutes Inc., has played a vital role in the revival of Jewish life among thousands of Jews in the FSU and has helped rebuild Jewish communities in Ukraine.
Last week I traveled to Uzhgorod, Ukraine to participate in an annual seminar of educators who work for Midreshet Yerushalayim Ukraine, which has been funded and supported by the Schechter Institutes in Jerusalem since 1990.