I believe that every American child should learn many stories about Israel.
If we offer children just one window into Israel’s deeply complicated and beautiful existence, we do a great disservice in helping each child formulate a well-rounded, thoughtful opinion about Israel. The more stories we can share with our children, the more perspectives we can offer them of the myriad ways people connect to our broken, blossoming homeland.
Children who learn about a multi-vocal Israel will grow up to truly love Israel, knowing that their true love means saying “I love you and I want to help you be better,” not “I love you so you’re perfect the way you are, no matter what.”
If I could only teach American kids one story about Israel, I would teach them about the way Israel sounds – the opus of rapid-fire Hebrew, Arabic, Russian, French, and English; the walls of the Old City resounding with the Muslim call to prayer, the ringing of church bells, and the prayerful murmur coming through the windows of the synagogue.
I want to teach American kids what a beautiful symphony these sounds make when they join together, and show them how to listen to these sounds more carefully, more critically, and more lovingly.
Allie Klein is the student Rabbi of Beth Sholom Temple of Fredericksburg, Virginia. She is a fourth year rabbinical student at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. Allie grew up in Montclair, NJ, and attended Haverford College and graduated with a BA in Psychology in 2007. After college, she worked in Needham, MA, at Temple Beth Shalom overseeing the 6th-12th grade youth programs and spending summers working at URJ Camp Harlam, her alma mater. She lives in Brooklyn, NY with her fiance Adam, who is a third grade teacher in Manhattan.