Reflections from the Executive M.A. Program in Jewish Education 2020 Israel Seminar - Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion
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Reflections from the Executive M.A. Program in Jewish Education 2020 Israel Seminar

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Tuesday, February 4, 2020

EMA Cohort 7Students in the Executive M.A. Program in Jewish Education (EMA) recently returned from the Israel Seminar, a study trip to Israel that offers the opportunity for students to weave together their personal and spiritual journey. They share:

"On January 9, I returned from an eleven-day trip to Israel, a trip that was part of my studies in the Executive M.A. Program in Jewish Education at HUC-JIR. There were 28 participants on the trip and we were led by three Reform Jewish educators. Prior to the trip, we were told that this would not be a 'trip for first-timers' – there were no trips planned to the Kotel/Western Wall, hikes up Masada, dunking in the Dead Sea, or visits to kibbutzim.  Instead, we spent time analyzing what makes the cosmopolitan city of Tel Aviv a 'Jewish city,' learning about the 22% of Israel’s citizens who are not Jewish, listening to Arab students in an acclaimed Arab school not far from the West Bank, and exploring the challenges of shared citizenship and social cohesion in the diverse religious, ethnic, and cultural Jewish state of Israel. The theme of our trip was listening to the voices of the 'other,' voices of the past and present which are/were outside the mainstream, and then reflecting on how those voices are woven into the story of Israel.” - Rabbi Wendy Pein, Cohort 7   

EMA Cohort 8 and Staff

"My recent Israel trip was like none I have ever or will ever experience. Our program’s leadership shaped space for us to engage with Israel’s complex, multi-layered narrative. They pushed us to lean into our discomfort and challenged us to grow as a collective, while simultaneously learning about ourselves as individuals and leaders. Not a single thing was done without intention behind it and I am so humbled by the experience it afforded us. Thank you for enabling me to connect with so many vibrant emerging leaders in our Jewish world and beyond. I will carry these ten days with me for the rest of my life and I return home exhausted and yet renewed, excited to think about what might come next.” - Sarit Katzew, Cohort 8

EMA students outside the Babylonian Heritage Museum"I am still processing my recent Israel seminar with the EMA. The superb seminar was planned with deep intentionality behind every detail and was led by three amazing Jewish educators who helped us explore questions relating to the evolving visions of statehood and Israeli society of today. I am grateful to have engaged with places and people like never before on any other seminar or personal trip in the past. I realize that as such a young democratic country facing daily safety and security challenges since her birth, Israel is doing better than expected and needs to do even better. After meeting many Israeli citizens and non-citizens working together towards equality and understanding of 'The Other' i.e. Datti Vs. Chiloni, Ashkenazi Vs. Sepharadi, Cities Vs. Development Towns, Non-citizen Palestinian Arabs Vs. Israeli Palestinian Arabs, Jews Vs. Arabs, etc. I returned home energized and hopeful as our many speakers work together on peaceful co-existence with shared responsibilities.” - Elizabeth Bloch, Cohort 8

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 leaders to serve 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, museums, 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.