Year-In-Israel Tiyul in the Galilee

Monday, September 15, 2014

Year-In-Israel students began their Israel studies program by spending two days in the Galilee examining the visions of the early pioneers to the Land of Israel and current formulations of social justice policy for the contemporary state of Israel from August 27-28, 2014.  

Students visited the Kinneret farm and cemetery where socialist-Zionist icons Berl Katznelson, Ber Borochov, and the poetess Rahel sojourned. At Tel-Hai, they studied the evolution of the Tel-Hai myth with its focus on Jewish physical labour and the defense ethos. The following day the focus shifted to contemporary reflections on the pioneering ideal. This began with a powerful and inspiring presentation by Muki Tsur, member of Kibbutz Ein-Gev, former Secretary-General of the Kibbutz movement and leading cultural commentator on Israel today. From there they had an encounter with two members of the urban kibbutz, Kibbutz Mashol situated in Upper Nazareth.

Students were encouraged to identify the nature of the respective visions, their historic contexts in the hope that they would gain inspiration for the mapping of their own aspirations for the future of the Jewish people. Although the study tour was intense, time was also found for swimming in the Kinneret, a barbeque supper, and wine tasting at the Tulip winery. Jeremy Leigh, Head of Israel Studies at the College-Institute, summarized that it was perfect way to frame the discussion of contemporary Israeli society that lie at the heart of the Israel studies program. Notions of "vision," "intentional communities," and taking on the "challenges of history" have a timeless importance, he said. 

HUC-JIR Year-In-Israel students looking out over the kinneret as they listened to Shir LeMaalot (Psalm 121)

Kinneret Farm over looking the Kinneret

Dr. Mendelsson, left, and Year-In-Israel students at the Kinneret Cemetery

View from the Kinneret Cemetery 

Jeremy Leigh, left, and Year-In-Israel students at Tel Hai, an early location of Arab-Zionist conflict in 1920

Year-In-Israel students ended their tiyul with a siyyum where they discussed Zionism and their relationships to the land

Photos: Year-In-Israel student Alicia Harris

Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is North America's leading institution of higher Jewish education and the academic, spiritual, and professional leadership development center of Reform Judaism. HUC-JIR educates men and women for service to North American and world Jewry as rabbis, cantors, educators, and nonprofit management professionals, and offers graduate programs to scholars and clergy of all faiths. With centers of learning in Cincinnati, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, and New York, HUC-JIR's scholarly resources comprise the renowned Klau Library, The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, research institutes and centers, and academic publications. In partnership with the Union for Reform Judaism and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, HUC-JIR sustains the Reform Movement's congregations and professional and lay leaders. HUC-JIR's campuses invite the community to cultural and educational programs illuminating Jewish heritage and fostering interfaith and multiethnic understanding.