Dear Year Course 2017-18 Community:
As part of our year-end educational programming, we will be holding intensive seminars meant to prepare current Year Course (YC) participants for life on campus and in Diaspora communities. We are pleased to share the goals and schedules with you.
The purpose of these seminars is threefold:
  1. To help YC students formulate and articulate their personal understanding of Zionism, Israel and its connection to their own Jewish lives.
  2. To offer specific skills training to prepare YC students to play active, informed roles in their campus and home communities.
  3. To expose YC students to aspects of the Arab-Israel conflict from differing political perspectives and interpretations so that they can better understand their own standpoint as well as those of opposing views.
In order to facilitate the first goal we will be doing the following:
  1. Offer a thorough review of Zionist history, ideologies and events seminal to the development of Israel as a follow-up to our semester-long Zionism course.
  2.  Engage students in a set of discussions and educational exercises where they are asked to articulate their personal Zionism and vision for the future of Israel.
  3. Engage in discussions concerning the place of Israel in the lives of Diaspora Jews in general and the lives of YC students in particular.
In order to facilitate the second goal we will be doing the following:
  1. Present an updated ‘state of affairs’ regarding the campuses and communities to which students will return.
  2. Offer seminars to develop relevant skill sets such as public speaking, letter-writing, social media activism and inter-community alliance building.
  3. Students will spend time in a specialized simulator developed to put into practice the skills learned. Details on the simulator can be found here
In order to facilitate the third goal we will be doing the following:
  1. Offer a series of personal perspectives and field visits representing differing views on the Arab-Israel conflict.
  2. Create a ‘safe-space’ for students to digest and discuss the views learned.
  3. View the presented perspectives thorough the unique lens of Young Judaea and its commitment to informed, respectful, pluralist dialogue.
In order to create a unique, safe and hopefully productive environment in which to achieve the third goal, our educational staff has, for the first time, brought together two major political organizations who normally work in opposition to each other. Stand With Us and JStreet University have, with our guidance, worked cooperatively to create what we think is a balanced, open and exciting set of speakers, field-visits and discussions on the Arab-Israel conflict. To see a list of speakers, please click here
I am incredibly proud of our section educators who have worked tirelessly to create this program. It is the kind of pluralist environment typical of the Young Judaea community, rare as it may be in the current polarized political climate. 
To help YC students navigate through these diverging viewpoints, we have included much time for reflection and discussion led by staff that is committed to an open, nuanced and highly personalized process.
Together with the skill-building workshops and the simulator exercise, it is our hope that students will complete their YC experience with a clearer understanding of the conflict, its history and proponents. Most especially, it is our sincere wish that students leave with a clearer understanding of their own Zionist ideology, along with a set of tools to allow them to articulate and defend their views.
I am including the schedule of events covering the period after Passover and until we begin Special Interest Month. If you would like further information regarding the speakers and sessions, our educators would be most pleased to respond. We will also welcome your feedback and suggestions for future programs, as well as those of our soon-to-be YC graduates, once they have experienced the seminars.
In the meantime, I wish you and your family a healthy and happy Passover. I thank you for allowing us the opportunity to spend time and learn with your children. We are honored to be part of their Jewish and Zionist journey.

 

Young Judaea Israel Program’s Community Manager  

Job Description: 

The Young Judaea Israel’s Program Community/Content Manager will develop and build an integrated global digital presence that advances YJI programs, as part of YJI marketing and recruiting efforts. The Community Manager will report to the Director of Marketing, creating and implementing an online communication strategy to increase YJI visibility and create new leads for YJI’s programs. 

Responsibilities: 

  • Work closely with the Director of Marketing & Communications to ensure an integrated and strategic approach to all aspects of Young Judaea’s digital presence. 
  • Manage, maintain and develop all YJI’s web and social media platforms. 
  • Manage all online campaigns including all paid campaigns as well as constant contact blast emails etc,. 
  • Main liaison for in-house graphic designer to ensure all materials adhere to YJ branding guidelines. 
  • Create ongoing PR opportunities both online and in print for all YJI programs. 
  • Integrate web, social media and mobile platforms to strengthen connection with current YJI participants and their families, as well as create relationships with new potential participants. 
  • Work closely with external partners both in Israel, American and UK  
  • Create new leads through constant virtual interaction on relevant websites, blogs and other social media platforms. 
  • Track impact of strategies and tools, and refine approach as needed. 
  • Track and employ e-mail, web and social marketing analytics to measure the impact of Young Judaea’s entire digital operation 
  • Helping all marketing and recruiting efforts to grow number of participants in all of YJI programs. 

 

Qualifications: 

  • Excellent writing, editing, proofreading and verbal communication skills. 
  • Proven track record in growing website traffic, social media and e-lists. 
  • Superior project management ability and organizational skills. 
  • Strong project management skills, including exceptional organizational skills and attention to details; ability to drive and manage projects from conception to completion. 
  • Capable of working well with a wide variety of personalities and leadership styles and with multiple departments. 
  • Creative, resourceful, flexible team player. 
  • Knowledge of Israel and the American Jewish community a plus. 
  • Familiarity with website management; ability to manage contractors on overhaul and update content. 
  • Experience of Wordpress an advantage 
  • Israeli driving license a must 

 

Please send cover letter and resume to paulg@youngjudaea.org.il

Jerusalem: City of Faith – Danielle Kapustin

After visiting the holy sites of all three Abrahamic religions around Jerusalem this semester, we were presented with a final question: “Is religion the source of all conflict in the world?” If you watch the news lately, you might be led to think that it is to blame. However, I think religion is just an easy target for the underlying source of conflict which is humans’ difference of opinion over how to live their lives. Religion provides people with a purpose, and I think without organized religion, there would still be conflict due to people’s disagreements over the “best way” to live. I’ve come to realize that by believing in God, be it Allah, Hashem, or The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we recognize a truth and communal set of values that we believe will help us live moral lives and achieve our goals. The texts that we read to teach us these values (ie. Tanach, Mishnah, Christian Bible, Qur’an, etc) are interpreted by people everywhere and we affect this truth. Life experiences impact how these texts are read and interpreted and therefore conflict emerges from those differences in perspective. These distinct outlooks would have manifested themselves in other ways even if we weren’t applying them to religious texts. Universal agreement would never exist since we all live such unique lives.

In our Jerusalem class we visited a Muslim community and spoke with a woman named Yasmine who moved from England to Jerusalem, converted to Islam, and married a Muslim man. She spoke to us and explained her reasoning for converting to Islam. All of her reasons were peaceful and beautiful, and she saw something in the religion that most people don’t see in this day and age. People practice religion and live their lives by putting different spins on our shared texts. I believe that it is those human flaws and reflections of their own feelings and attitudes that either lead to conflict or to coexistence. These sacred texts can be compared to drugs in that their use or misuse depends on the hands of those who pursue them. One with corrupted ideals, such as religious extremists, will use them to their own advantage and will use beauty to justify evil. However, religion can provide an impressive framework for life that allows us to achieve the most we can and do good.

Furthermore, this class has helped me to understand all of the complex ties that people of many faiths have to this city and the sensitivity which that carries. This one small place has consistently played a huge role throughout history and can affect people in so many ways. I was interested to learn about Jerusalem Syndrome that people can get when they come to Jerusalem where they become delusional by the magnitude of the city. Overall, I really appreciated how we read passages from the holy books of all 3 faiths and learned the stories and central tenants of each religion. From text studies and visits to holy sites, I enjoyed experiencing Jerusalem where this mixture of experience and interpretation are on display.

The Giving Circle – Year Course Kedma 2017

Giving Circle is the concept of a group of philanthropists coming together and creating a pool of money, which is later given as a grant to an individual or organization.

First, we decided what our causes would be — Children, Poverty, Education, and Science.

We then had applicants apply to our grant, and we set up meetings with those we saw fit.

Having this experience truly changed me in multiple ways. My family has always been very big on Philanthropy, but since I wasn’t in charge of any money I was rarely involved in the decision making. Now that I have had this opportunity, I have a bigger grasp on what Non-Profit organizations are and how I can involve myself with them.

Another thing I did not know anything about — Overhead. Overhead is basically the expenses that go towards things like electricity, water bills, paying for staff, and so on. Some people say that they would rather their money go to something more hands on and visible, but I believe that whatever cause the organization needs the money for is a just reason and should be granted said money.

We did a few visits, one to a farm a little north, and one to an organization in southern tel aviv that works with marginalized communities that have immigrated to Israel. We also visited a robotics class that basically has the same principles as the farm, which is working with underprivileged kids after they are done with school for the day.

I specifically enjoyed the visit with the farm, because the leader gave us an in depth presentation on the organization, their statistics, their budget, what they need the money for, and much more!

We also were visited by an organization called IMAGINE that works with children on the autistic spectrum. This organization helps kids from highly functioning autism to living in hospitals how to make music with different technological gadgets. I loved learning about them, seeing what they do, and I appreciated the way they presented to us.

Giving Circle is an amazing opportunity for Year Course participants and the community of Israel. I truly believe that the giving circle is a great addition to Israeli society and I am so proud to be apart of it. The concept itself is wonderful, and ours specifically has been great. I have learned so much about myself and the community.

In regards to our reading of To Heal A Fractured World, Chapter 3 states that those who count as impoverished hold certain circumstances. One example is someone who only has 200 zuzim or less. The chapter says that God takes care of the poor, because they are equal to rich people other than their status. God rewards those who help the poor. I believe that this is important knowledge to know, although I don’t necesarily agree about the God part. My belief in God is not the traiditional jewish belief, although besides that, I think it is more important to believe in the idea of a person helping a person rather than a higher force “looking over” those who need it. When do we see poor people getting help? From other people, not an unseen entity. But some could argue that God is who sent the person to help, so it really just depends on your beliefs.

Chapter 6 explains that housing is a basic human right according to Judaism, and that a society that does not take that value into consideration is corrupt and unjust. Those who are fortunate  have an obligation to help those who are not, and in order to have a well functioning community everyone within it must have a stable living situation. I agree with this immensely. In my opinion, it is very important for our community to support each other and live as one rather than unequal, as if some are better than others. No one is better than anyone else, some people just have better fortune in life. As stated in the book, “adequate housing, according to these texts, must not only provide shelter, but must also allow for a dignified life.” The text also states that “by saying that housing is a basic human need, included in the category of tzedakah, we simultaneously say that individuals and the society as a whole are obligated to provide housing to those who need it.” I believe this quote defines the entire point of this chapter.

An article on “thelifeyoucansave.org” states “The scale of poverty is immense and we seem powerless to stop it. Such despair is understandable, but the facts tell a very different story. While poverty is indeed extreme and widespread, it is easy to forget just how many people there are in the developed world, and how powerful our pocket change can become when pooled together.”  

Reading this confirms how I feel about this issue, and as shown in the video you can see that while many care, many neglect to actually give. I believe this is because people feel they won’t change anything. But every penny counts.

I joined Giving Circle because of the principles I just stated. In all honesty, taking this class has opened my eyes to possibly majoring in Non-Profit administration in college. The organizations we met with were all so interesting and made me really glad to know they exist and are working so diligently to better the world. I believe that us, as Jews, and especially as fortunate ones, are obligated to help America and Israel as much as possible. Love is truly the only thing that helps this world go around; and this is a huge way to show it. Everyone is just trying to live life, and those who aren’t as lucky as others deserve the help they can get!

https://www.thelifeyoucansave.org/learn-more/why-donate

https://www.justgiving.com/piliontrust

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IvWjhp62zhM

 -Marley Lerner, Year Course 2017-2018