Too Jewish? Not Jewish Enough?

Israel in RAVSAK Schools

♦ by Ezra Kopelowitz

Editor’s Note: No discussion about the Jewish character of a community day school would be complete without exploring the role of Israel and Zionism education. In the printed version, this brief article is followed by a quick survey. We encourage you to download it here and use in your schools.

In Fall, 2004, RAVSAK and the Jewish Agency commissioned an Internet survey of the place of education about Israel in the life of Jewish Community Day Schools in North America.

The resulting report, “Towards What Ideal Do We Strive? A Portrait of Social and Symbolic Engagement with Israel in Jewish Community Day Schools in the United States,” argues that there are two basic types of Israel education - symbolic and social.

Symbolic education involves Israel as part of the overall strategy for establishing the “Jewish look and feel” of the school. In contrast, social education goes beyond the symbolic level and encourages students to form an ongoing relationship and commitment to Israelis and Israel.

All schools participating in the survey are engaged with Israel at the level of symbolism – for example all hold Israel Independence Day ceremonies, fly Israeli flags and hang maps of Israel. However, 22 of the 48 RAVSAK schools participating in this survey go beyond the level of symbolic engagement and encourage their students to engage socially with Israelis and Israeli society. Of these 22 schools, a minority pursue the path of encouraging aliya, and a majority encouraging their students to participate in People to People programming. We also saw that the commitment to a strategy of social engagement with Israel corresponds with a wider educational ethos in the school that includes increased symbolic, informal and formal educational activity along many measures of Jewish culture and religion, including Israel.

The complete report is available at: http://www.researchsuccess.com/default.asp?id=273

Ezra Kopelowitz is the CEO of Research Success Technologies based in Israel. Ezra can be reached at ezra@researchsuccess.com.
Jeremy Stowe-Lindner
RAVSAK gives JCoSS a unique international perspective and network.”
Jeremy Stowe-Lindner, Principal
Bialik College

News

Jewish high school students from twenty Jewish high schools in the RAVSAK network convened in Kansas City, Missouri to compete in the 2014/5774 RAVSAK Moot Beit Din, a program that applies Jewish law to address a contemporary...[More]
A front page article in the Kansas City Jewish Chronicle on RAVSAK's Moot Beit Din program and Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy's role as host school.[More]
RAVSAK Board Member Dr. N. Shira Brown writes an article in eJewishPhilanthropy on the challenges faced by small Jewish day schools and the benefits of a new online RESHET for small school leaders.[More]
Dr. Marc N. Kramer writes an OpEd in MyJewishLearning.com on special needs inclusivity and the day school field. Learn how day schools are adapting and changing to be more inclusive.[More]

Membership

Members of RAVSAK enjoy many benefits which support the overall work of the school and the professionals who lead them. Find out more about membership benefits and how your school can become a member.

Use our interactive map of member schools to find a Jewish Day School near you.

In addition to serving Jewish community day schools across North America, RAVSAK has a special category of membership for Jewish and educational organizations, consultants and companies which share our vision of excellence in Jewish day school education.