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.
Photos: Year-In-Israel student Alicia Harris