Educating about Israel and Jewish Peoplehood: Murmurings on a Field in Formation

By Yonatan Ariel

The Jewish Peoplehood Hub, April 2010

Zionist and Israel education is in tension with Jewish Peoplehood education. One stresses the significance of place, the other the virtues of space. One narrows yet focuses options for identification; the other broadens yet dilutes options for belonging. Zionism in its "narrow" version delegitimizes Jewish identity around the world -- there is only one place that Jews can live authentically. It is not healthy for identity to deny existential reality, so Jews around the world should remove their inauthentic reality and move "home". Thus, by contrast, Jewish Peoplehood in its "broad" sense legitimizes Jewish identity wherever people are and encourages Jews to feel integrated and at home wherever they live. And yet, Zionism in its "broad" version legitimizes Jewish Peoplehood and stakes its claim on a literate Jewish collective culture flourishing anywhere in an open world, albeit with a fulcrum in Israel. And Jewish Peoplehood in its "narrow" sense stresses that Jewish civilization will only thrive in a global era if Jews are profoundly inter-connected and at work together on projects of mutual significance. Israel is a Jewish People's project par excellence. For a Jew around the world to engage with Israel requires a sense of "we" -- we, the Jewish People, something that has been in documented decline. We urgently need to abide by a more sophisticated understanding of identity -- as both an individual and a social phenomenon that requires programming which strengthens both individual meaning and group affiliation, both personal and communal growth.

Topic: Israel Education, Peoplehood, Narrative, Israel Attachment, Education, Unity, Postmodernism, Identity Formation, Values, Zionism

Name of Publication: The Peoplehood Papers

Editor: Ravid, Shlomi

Volume/Issue: Volume 5

Page Number(s): p. 40-41

Funder: Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) , Nadav Fund , UJA-Federation of New York

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Genre: Essay

Coverage: Israel , World

Language: English

Copyright Holder: Publisher

Copyright Information: Download for personal use, freely distribute link

Bibliographic Information:
Ariel, Yonatan. Educating about Israel and Jewish Peoplehood: Murmurings on a Field in Formation. The Peoplehood Papers. The Jewish Peoplehood Hub. April 2010: p. 40-41.


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