Israel Webinars

Israel Webinars

Deepening Connections, Broadening Perspectives

All spring, we are inviting top scholars on Israel to speak about topics in Israel and Zionism. The aim is to clarify our own thinking as educators on topics like Jewish values, Jewish history, Jewish resilience, and Jewish peoplehood. These sessions are free, with a donation appreciated. Each session is posted here, a few days after it appears. If you’d like to be notified in advance of our sessions, please join our mailing list.

Wednesday, February 14 – Rabbi Daniel Brenner

“The Ethics and Morality of War: The Origins of War in the Jewish Tradition”

The war in Gaza has led many of us to reexamine the concept of war and to ask ourselves, is it possible to speak of war and morality in the same breath? In order to help us clarify this question, we are going to look at the Jewish texts that speak to the origins of war. For those who are interested. This will be followed by a discussion of how we might raise these issues with our students of any age.
Over the last two decades, Rabbi Daniel Brenner has been a driving force behind some of the most creative educational projects in the Jewish world, leading initiatives for the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership (CLAL), Birthright Israel Foundation, and Moving Traditions where he currently serves as VP of education

Wednesday, February 28 – Rabbi David Starr

Normalizing Jews: Understanding Zionism

Leo Pinsker’s essay, “Auto Emancipation”, written in 1882, remains the single most important work in the history and practice of Zionist thought. Together we’ll unpack the work, its context and its meaning then and now. This will lead us to thinking and rethinking how we approach teaching Zionism as continuity and discontinuity in modern Jewish life. For those who are interested, this presentation will be followed by questions and a discussion of how we might raise these issues with our students of any age.
Click here to download “Auto Emancipation,” as referenced in this webinar.
Rabbi David Starr, Ph.D. is the Rabbi of Congregation Mishkan Tefila in Brookline MA He also is Executive Director of Tzion, a Program for Israel Literacy, and a Research Associate of the Tauber Institute for the Study of European Jewry, Brandeis University. He taught in the faculties of Hult International Business School, Hebrew College, and the Wexner Heritage Program. He served as Scholar in Residence for Israel Education & Programs at Gann Academy, the pluralistic Jewish high school He was the founding Dean of Me’ah and Vice President at Hebrew College. He lectures on topics related to history and religion. David is currently writing a biography of Solomon Schechter and a study of education and its impact on the religious life of Jewish adults. He holds a doctorate in history from Columbia and rabbinic ordination from JTS.

Tuesday, March 12 – Mina Rush

“Jewish Resilience in Difficult Times”

Mina Rush is the creator of the IsraelLINK middle school curriculum. From an early age, her passion has been fostering Jewish identities and inspiring connections to Israel. After more than a decade in the field of Jewish education, she became the Director of Outreach for Jewish World Watch, a social justice nonprofit organization. In that capacity, she built community and a movement across political and religious lines using experiential education as a tool for engagement. After 7 years of growing that organization by 80%, she turned her focus to Israel education and joined the staff of StandWithUs. Motivated to change the trend of alienation between American Jewish youth and Israel, she began the development of the IsraelLINK curriculum in 2015. Mina believes that a strong foundation and connection to Israel starts with the student and IsraelLINK is informed by this relational approach to Education. Even though it’s focused on middle school, we will discuss how to adapt this curriculum for older and younger students as well.

Click here for the lesson plan

Click here for the PowerPoint

Click here for the music links