By Rachel Raz

Dr. Amir Grinstein, Associate Professor of Marketing, Northeastern University/VU Amsterdam, introduced me to the concept of “multiple dimensions” in relationship to Israel. As a native Israeli, I took the multiple dimensions of Israel for granted, and just lived by it. I took for granted that Israel is a Jewish state where Jews are the majority, where the school year and vacations follow the Jewish calendar and where the Jewish holidays align with the seasons and weather. I took for granted that public schools teach in (and about) Hebrew, Jewish history and Bible. I took for granted that Jews in Israel come from many countries and have many traditions and customs. My own grandparents came to Israel from Egypt, Libya and Turkey. I took for granted that all year-round our hot water is heated by solar energy, and that the spirit of Herzl, “If you will it, it is no dream,” and Ben-Gurion’s desire to “make the desert bloom” are the spirit of innovation, stubbornness and creativity that characterize the “Start Up Nation” as Israel is known for today. Growing up in Israel, I also took it as a given that we have to experience and face challenges: my father, like many others, fought in several wars, and my newly married Hebrew Literature teacher lost her husband at the end of our school year, during the Lebanon war. I remember putting a gas mask on during the Gulf War while missiles were falling on Tel-Aviv from Iraq. I also remember a neighborhood boy who was killed in a terror attack during Purim in the center of Tel Aviv. Singing “Hatikva,” Israel’s anthem, and in particular the line, “to be free people in our country,” always moves me as a granddaughter of a Holocaust survivor. I also took for granted the culture of argument; in Israel people argue about anything, and very often, very loudly. Israelis argue about: politics, conflicts, religious practice and how to live life. So, as my personal experience demonstrates, Israel has multiple dimensions; it is complex, diverse, exciting, innovative, fragile, a home, a Jewish homeland, a place in our history, present and future; and in many ways, a miracle!

In honor of Israel’s 70 years of Independence, Hebrew College’s Shoolman Graduate School of Jewish Education will offer a conference about the multiple dimension of Israel. The conference is designed as an opportunity for educators, professionals, clergy, lay-leaders and community members, to explore Israel’s “Multiple Dimensions” and dive deeply into some of them. We invite participants to think about how THEY relate/connect to Israel and how they want their students and community to connect/feel/relate to it.

This conference is a work of collaboration between many individuals and institutions. I would like to thank everyone who joined us to make this a successful conference: The Harold Grinspoon Foundation, Combine Jewish Philanthropies, Hebrew at the Center, Gann Academy, Boston’s Jewish Community Day School (JCDS), The Rashi School, Tzion, Congregation Beth-El Sudbury, Solomon Schechter Day School of Greater Boston (SSDS), Israeli-American Council (IAC), The Consulate General of Israel to New England, Frances Jacobson Early Childhood Center of Temple Israel – Boston, and The Israeli Philatelic Service, Israel Postal Service and Israel’s Ministry of Finance for allowing us to use the stamp by artist Tal Hoover for the conference this year.

For additional information and registration visit the conference page:
www.hebrewcollege.edu/2018-EdConference

Rachel Raz is the confernce chair and also the Director of the Early Childhood Institute of the Shoolman Graduate of Jewish Education, Hebrew College.

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