Note from the editor: In preparation to present my blog project at this week’s iCenter iFellows Masters Concentration in Israel Education Seminar (say that 5x fast), I asked a few folks I know have been following along to share the ways in which they have used the blog. A couple of people responded in such well-stated ways that I asked if they would be willing to have me share their words with you all. Here is the first of two responses.
As a Diller Coordinator who just finished hosting Israelis (they left the day before Passover) and mid-planning and preparing to take the Diller Fellows to Israel this summer, I found myself asking the same questions this blog poses: what do these teens need to know when learning about Israel and forming their own deeper personal connection to Israel?
We have created an intentionally pluralistic community within the group of teens I work with, which also includes various experiences with and feelings toward Israel. As a way to get the teens to share their personal sentiments toward Israel, I wanted to introduce them to several people’s perspectives on what Israel means to them. I already had a few excerpts from the book What Israel Means to Me, and added the blog post written by rabbinical student Allie Klein to show them an educator’s perspective. I liked this piece because it touched on the complexity of Israel and the variety of people who live there through a simple concept – sound.
Since then I have engaged one of my junior counselors to write a reflection on Dusty’s blog about Israel from a teen perspective who has seen Israel from a few angles, including staying in the home of an Israeli teen in Tel Aviv. I am excited to see what she has to say as I think it will be an important voice to add to this blog.
Sami Stein Avner is the Program Coordinator for the Los Angeles Diller Teen Fellows Program at the Westside JCC. Prior to running the Diller program, she received an MBA in Nonprofit Management and MA in Jewish Professional Leadership from the Hornstein Program for Jewish Professional Leadership at Brandeis University.