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Israel & Judaism through a Fresh Lens
Israel & Judaism through a Fresh Lens

The Soapbox

If two Jews have three opinions, what about a few hundred Gap Year students and teachers? Gather round for ideas, thoughts and Israel experiences.

Click here to submit your own essay for posting to the blog.

Alan Goldman

Alan Goldman is a Senior Israel Educator at Jerusalem U. He oversees the Jerusalem U Oz Fellowship, an elite training program for Israel activists. Alan also teaches approximately 400 students as part of the Jerusalem U Gap Year Program, an Israel education and leadership development program for post-high school students studying at some 15 gap-year institutions in Israel. Prior to joining Jerusalem U, Alan worked in formal and informal Jewish education in Israel programs for 25 years, serving on the senior faculty for a number of organisations, including Young Judaea Year Course, Ramah Israel Programs, JRoots, and Heritage Seminars. Alan moved to Israel from Philadelphia, PA in 1989 after completing a BA from Clark University in Sociology and Jewish Studies. He later went on complete a Master’s Degree in Jewish History and to receive Rabbinic Ordination in Jerusalem.

Three Simple Rules: Context, Context and Context

I just got a whatsapp from one of my students. It included the following picture of a note posted on the wall at Brandeis:

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Jewish Students are Amazing! (we should be too)

After my shot of whisky, and of course obligatory bagel to break the fast at the end of Yom Kippur, I turned on my phone to catch up with the world. What stunning tweet did I miss while Israel shut down for 25 hours?   How many bicyclists did Magen David Adom treat over the holiday?  However, more exciting for me, buried on the bottom of the Times of Israel feed, not attracting a lot of attention, was an article based on the just released survey The Nishma Research Profile of American Modern Orthodox Jews.  As opposed to the often quoted Pew studies, which focus on the total American Jewish community, this study focused only on Modern Orthodox Jews.  

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Tu B'Av: An Expression of Jewish Renewal

Would you like to go to a "Love and Wine Festival"? Or maybe a "Night of Love by the Sea of Galilee Festival" or perhaps "Between the Vineyards Festival"?  My personal favorite, "Night of Love in the Desert Ashram Festival".  All of these festivals, plus hundreds of others, will be happening in Israel on the same day, Thursday night August 18th to Friday the 19th.   What is so special about this date that one could literally crisscross our tiny country for 24 hours visiting festivals?  It is actually the significance of the Hebrew date, Tu b'Av, the 15th day of the month of Av when the moon is full.

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