Israel Resources

Israel Resources

Deepening Connections, Broadening Perspectives

All spring, we invited 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. 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, May 7th and 8th, 2024 – Rabbi Cherie Koller-Fox

JEWISH PEOPLEHOOD: What it is and how to teach it

Rabbi Cherie is the President of NewCAJE. She is a founder of both CAJE and NewCAJE. She is the Rabbi Emerita of Congregation Eitz Chayim in Cambridge, MA., and served as interim president of the Academy of Jewish Religion.

Since October 7th, Rabbi Cherie has been focused on helping educators learn more about the history of Israel and other topics that will help them better understand the events unfolding in Israel and how to teach these concepts to their students.

These sessions on Jewish peoplehood form the core of the understandings that she believes can be conveyed to students of all ages who are trying to understand what the war in Gaza and the rise of antisemitism in the Western world mean to them.

Thursday, April 11th, 2024 – Staci Rosenthal and Jen Zak.

From Israel to Antisemitism: Supporting Students and Their Families in Challenging Times

Staci Rosenthal is a Senior Program Associate on the Jewish Education Team at Facing History and Ourselves, where she provides professional development for teachers around the country. She has taught at many NewCAJE conferences, sharing her deep knowledge of the Shoah, her experience teaching, and a passion for societal reform through education. She is also teaching 6th graders at Temple Sinai in Brookline, Massachusetts.

Jen Zak is the Director of Education at Sinai Brookline. She is a graduate of the Executive Master’s Program in Jewish Educational Leadership at the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion. She also earned her JD with pro bono distinction. Jen is currently a fellow at the iCenter, pursuing aMaster’s concentration in Israel education, and studies Hebrew at Harvard University. She loves Judaism and the way it inspires her to be a lifelong learner.

Monday, April 8th, 2024 – Sarah Weiss-Poland

Bring Them Home: The Power of Pidyon Shvuyim Rescuing Captives

Sarah Weiss-Poland is a distinguished Master Jewish Educator, Curriculum Artist, and Ritual Creator. She holds dual bachelor’s degrees in Women’s Studies and Jewish Studies from Columbia University and the Jewish Theological Seminary, along with a Masters in Jewish Education from the Davidson School at JTS. With a focus on innovative curriculum design, Sarah has earned national recognition for her contributions to Jewish Education and advocates for Arts in Education on the district level. Currently serving as the Associate Director of Educational Growth and Strategy in IsraelLINK, the middle school educational branch of StandWithUs. Sarah resides in Boca Raton, FL. Sarah will share an amazing Lesson plan to teach the texts that identify the Jewish value of rescuing captives. She will also have us look at IDF code of ethics and earlier hostage situations.

Tuesday, March 12, 2024 – 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

Wednesday, February 28, 2024 – 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.


Wednesday, February 14, 2024 – 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, November 29th, 2023 – Sarah Gordon.

Navigating Social Media when Israel is at War: Best Practices for Students” Sarah Gordon, Senior Director of Israel Education for Unpacked for Educators, a division of OpenDor Media

In today’s world, the war Israel is fighting is playing out as much on social media as it is on the battlefield. Our students are facing challenging questions, anti-Israel content, and a constant stream of news. This session aims to teach our students how to be responsible consumers of social media. When should they engage in online discussions, and when is it better to unfollow? When does content criticizing Israel cross the line into antisemitism? How can they take care of their mental health while online? How do you determine if a source online is reputable? Join this session to discuss best practices for dealing with these important issues.

Sarah Gordon is the Senior Director of Israel Education for Unpacked for Educators, a division of OpenDor Media. Our goal is to explore the Jewish story in all its complexity and intellectual depth. Previously, she served as Director of Israel Guidance and Experiential Education at Ma’ayanot High School. Sarah is pursuing her Ed.D at Yeshiva University as a Wexner fellow and Davidson scholar.

Dr. Everett Fox

Dr. Fox received a B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. from Brandeis University in 1968, 1972, and 1975, respectively. He has been at Clark since 1987. Dr. Fox serves as director of the program in Jewish Studies, and is also affiliated with the programs in Race and Ethnic Relations and Comparative Literature.

Dr. Fox’s main scholarly focus is the rhetoric and internal coherence of the Hebrew Bible, and how they may be brought out in translation. In 1995, Everett published The Five Books of Moses, which tries to echo characteristics of the Hebrew text; in November of 1999, Give Us a King! Samuel, Saul, and David, a translation of the book of Samuel along similar lines, appeared. He is also interested in how the Bible has been transformed at each stage by generations of Israelites, Jews, and Christians. He teaches courses in which texts serve as windows to the attitudes and concerns of Jews through the ages.

Dr. Fox’s activities in translation have led him to some unexpected places. He was a religious consultant on the animated film Prince of Egypt, and has been collaborating with an American-Israeli artist, Schwebel, who sets the David stories against the backdrop of 1980s Jerusalem.

Ph.D. in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies, Brandeis University, 1975
M.A. in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies, Brandeis University, 1972
B.A. in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies, Brandeis University, 1968
Affiliated Department(s)
Language, Literature & Culture