Posts Tagged ‘secular’

A new survey reported here has found that the current generation of Israelis has a weak – to be charitable – knowledge of Judaism. According to the article:

The survey revealed that 80% of secular Israelis and 59% of Israelis overall define their level of Judaic knowledge and Jewish heritage as mediocre or lower. The percentage claiming a low level of knowledge was relatively high among adults over age 55 (21%), among Jews of Ashkenazi descent (22%), and among those with above-average incomes (20%)….

Among secular Israelis who define their level of knowledge as low, only 25% want to expand their Judaic knowledge.

But nearly half (43%) of all secular Israelis want to increase their knowledge of Judaism and Jewish sources, with many citing such options as a secular beit midrash (Torah study center) (15%) or Jewish academic institutions (14%).

The Hartman Institute’s Be’eri program – now encompassing 50,000 Israeli students in so-called “secular” high schools across the country – teaches Judaism, Jewish culture, Jewish history, Jewish tradition, and Jewish thought without adding on requirements of observance. The program is wildly popular among students (see the video from a visit the Be’eri students made to Hartman Institute last winter), and is set to expand to thousands of additional students in coming years. For more information on Be’eri, write to us at the Hartman Institute.

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Well, Rabbi Dr. Ariel Picard, director of Shalom Hartman Institute’s Center for Education, wouldn’t say it quite that way. In fact, he said it far more eloquently in his recent posting on the Institute’s website:

Here in Israel we are privileged to have the Jewish language as the common cultural language of Israelis….This is the big victory of Zionism: the state of Israel is not only a shelter for Jews, but it is really a place where Jewish life is flourishing in a broad, pluralistic way. (more…)

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Three Jerusalem high school students participating in the Shalom Hartman Institute’s Be’eri program recently enthralled the Institute’s Lay Leaders with their experiences. Asked by one adult if he felt like he was missing out on other activities by participating in Be’eri’s four hours of Jewish learning, he said, flat out, that he was not. The time in Be’eri is well spent, he said. The Be’eri program is expanding beginning this fall to additional schools throughout Israel.

That’s why it’s  gratifying to see that the Israeli Knesset has approved legislation that will establish (more…)

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