March 01, 2011
Written by Daniel Reiser,
Posted in Student Life
Tomorrow evening, 15 select Emory students will start a six-week course at Hillel called "Israel for Dummies." The goal is to help these students become confident, effective Israel advocates on campus. Organized by Danielle Eisenberg (B’13), Sarah Green (C’11), and Rebecca Friedman (C’14), the course will usher in a new cohort of Israel leaders at Emory.
With only a week of marketing the program, there were 38 applicants for only 15 seats in the course.
By attending a 90-minute class every week, students will learn key dates and figures in Zionist and Israeli history, social issues in Israel, the history of the conflict, the peace process, the role of the media, issues of religion and state in Israel, and the relationship between Israel and America. The course is non-polemical and demonstrates mutuality—it presents unbiased facts and lets students develop their own opinions.
Israel for Dummies is unique in that it is not intended for your typical pro-Israel student leader. Rather, it is geared towards beginners - students who are just starting out on their Israel journey. The 15-person class is made-up of underclassmen, some of them current Taglit-Birthright Israel applicants or recent alums. These students who are not yet involved in Israel activity on campus, have not traveled to Israel on a long-term or summer-long program, and haven’t taken any relevant Israel coursework at Emory.
“As the president of Emory Students for Israel, I have found that many students love Israel, but their lack of knowledge scares them from getting involved. I see this program as a great way to break down this barrier and increase the number of active pro-Israel students on Emory's campus.” – Sarah Green, co-president of Emory Students for Israel
The course is taught by educator Dotan Harpak. Dotan has had extensive experience as an Israel educator, including tenures at with the AVI CHAI Foundation and the Jewish Agency for Israel, as an Israel education specialist for the Union for Reform Judaism, and as the education director for URJ Henry S. Jacobs Camp. He is a candidate for an M.A. in Politics and Government from Ben Gurion University of the Negev, with thesis work on American-Jewish political discourse on Israel.
Students may bolster their in-class learning by simultaneously completing an optional online Israel advocacy course from Jerusalem Online University. Additionally, students are required to attend two campus lectures, events, or film screenings related to Israel. Students are incentivized to apply their stipend towards a summer 2011 Israel travel program, such as Livnot, Pardes, Amirim, Me’or, and others.
At the end of the course, students are expected to make a commitment to Israel advocacy on campus. For example, they may take a leadership role in Emory Students for Israel, EIPAC, or the Hillel Israel Committee, or take on an Israel-related internship, such as the Grinspoon Israel Advocacy Internship, CAMERA Fellowship, at the Consulate General of Israel to the Southeastern US, the Institute for the Study of Modern Israel, or the America-Israel Chamber of Commerce.
“I believe that Israel for Dummies is the perfect fit for a campus like Emory. It will not only educate Jewish students about Israel, but also allow them to feel more comfortable discussing Israel in public and group settings. I hope that through this program, a greater feeling of connection to Israel will be spread through the student body.” – Danielle Eisenberg (B’13), Grinspoon Israel Advocacy Intern
This project is funded in part by the ICC Israel Advocacy Grant Project and supported by the AVI CHAI Foundation.
Sounds like a fantastic course! Wish I could have attended such a course when I was a student at Rutgers.
PS. For the class on 'religion and state', may I recommend the site "Religion and State in Israel" ( http://religionandstateinisrael.blogspot.com/).
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