Branding Israel for PR does more harm than good
Engaging young people with the Jewish people and with Israel will not take any significant root based on trivia. Engaging young people with the Jewish people and Israel has a good chance to take significant root and appeal to many of the best of the Jewish people’s youth if a conversation can be cultivated about the crucial questions facing Israel and the Jewish people today.
What is the importance of identifying as a member of a minority ethnic-religious-cultural community? What does such an allegiance contribute to who I am and how I want to live? What is the value of a Jewish sovereign state for the Jews, for the non-Jewish citizens of that state, and for others? What ought to be the vision and values that are proclaimed and that are acted out in practice as the basis for and in the life of a Jewish and democratic state and society?
… Significant questions of meaning that seek to engage people in a conversation about the reasons, meanings, and necessity of Israel for Jewish life requires thoughtful and compelling long term educational-communal visions and strategies in order to flourish.
Instead of turning to the world of advertisement and public relations, we ought to turn to cultivating and training the kinds of educators, rabbis, communal leaders, and public intellectuals who are not frightened to raise difficult questions, and not afraid to share with their students and communities that there are no simple answers, that real life is riddled with complexities, and that healthy communities – like healthy families – lay out dilemmas and challenges on the table and work to contend with them together.