We believe you may be interested in the following materials:
We recommend taking a look at the video on the Makom Matrix: it sets a useful context for our work. Beyond this, we have divided our materials into age cohorts: Schools/Camp, Campus, and Adults. We are constantly adding material to these sections – keep checking back!
We like to think that Israel Engagement thinking can’t be summarized in a couple of tweets, and we also believe that a few great lessons or programs do not a transformation make. Sometimes a framework is needed, or a different way of thinking. Here we have gathered, and will continue to gather, our longer articles and though-pieces about Israel and Israel engagement.
The Israeli popular arts offer us a perfect tool and vehicle for Israel engagement. Celebrating complexity, embracing multi-vocality, touching both head and heart, the potential is huge. We are constantly adding to these resources – keep checking back!
Below you can also find all the materials posted that have been earmarked for your interest.
In this section we will bring ten Jewish communities in the contemporary Jewish world. They include seven of the largest communities according to the demographic estimates currently accepted in the Jewish world (in order of size, the United States, France, Canada, Great Britain, Argentina, Germany and Australia) and two others, Hungary and South Africa that we think are particularly interesting in the context of the Jewish world today.
The United States is the largest Diaspora community in the world and has been since the mid twentieth century. It is an extraordinarily successful community, on the whole, and there are many who argue that it represents a totally new chapter in Jewish history in that there has never been a community where life has been so good for the Jews and where Jews have been able to create such a strong community and at the same time contribute so greatly to the wider society. As with all the contemporary Diaspora communities we will examine the community by asking twelve questions about it. So, welcome to America!
The American Jewish community is fifteen times larger than the community of Canada. But this disguises the fact that the Canadian community is one of the largest in the world, third among Diaspora communities behind the U.S.A. and France. In addition, the Canadian community, as we shall see, is in many ways far more cohesive and conscious of its Jewish identity than the American community as a whole. Far larger percentages of the Canadian community are educated in Jewish schools, far larger percentages visit Israel and all in all, the community is a remarkably successful and vibrant Jewish community.
With a little under 190,000 Jews, the community in Argentina is the sixth largest Diaspora community in the world. It is also the most troubled. Despite many times of challenge and difficulty, up to the early 1990’s, it was a vibrant and very successful community. But a whole series of events shook up the community and sent it spiraling downhill in a dive from which it has not recovered. Major international Jewish rescue operations are now taking place in Argentina.
The Jewish community of France, the second largest Diaspora community in the world, is in many ways unique among the Jewish communities of the world. It is, on the one hand, the earliest community in the world to be fully emancipated, freed from restrictive laws after many centuries of limitations and discrimination. On the other hand, it is a community that still conspicuously suffers from anti-Semitism, and which lives in constant apprehension, conscious of its vulnerability. Thus it is a community of surprises and many contradictions.
Hungary is one of the most interesting and dynamic centres in the Jewish Diaspora. It is a centre in the process of returning to life after more than a generation of cultural and religious silence. Only after the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe in the late 1980’s did democracy return to Hungary. The Jews were now free to resume their life as Jews openly. But things were not so simple. A generation of Jews had forgotten what it meant to be Jewish. Jewish life slowly and warily resumed. It had to be learned and many Jewish organizations from the west and Israel came in to try and help the community fight its way back to life and health. Hungarian Jewry is still in the process of finding itself, defining itself and fighting its way back to life.
Germany boasts the fastest growing Jewish community in the world. If someone had suggested that as a possibility even twenty years ago, it would have been dismissed as too ridiculous for words. But times have changed, and in the one European country where it seemed certain that no Jew would willingly live a generation after the Holocaust, there are now anything between 100,000 and 180,000 Jews (depending on the criteria for counting the numbers). It is a phenomenon that raises many questions. Let us address them now.
The specific fascination of the South African Jewish community is that it is a community that up to a couple of decades ago appeared to be healthy, strong and vibrant. However, the last years of the twentieth century has seen a great outflow of Jews from South Africa owing to fears – real and imagined – that accompanied the fall of the apartheid regime and brought grave uncertainty and insecurity to the community as a whole. As a result, over a quarter of the community has left South Africa, striking out for other pastures, especially Australia, where a large emigrant community of South African Jews is in the process of putting down roots. Welcome to South Africa!
The Australian Jewish community is both sizeable and prosperous. It is rightly considered a strong community and there are those who suggest that it can serve as a model for a modern western diaspora community, balancing successful integration with a vibrant identity. Is this the Garden of Eden? Let’s examine it. Welcome to Australia!
The Jewish community of Great Britain is one of the world’s largest and in the nineteenth century was perhaps the most influential Jewish community in the world, interfering successfully on behalf of many other communities around the world. That was in the halcyon age of Queen Victoria when Britain felt that it ruled the world. Since then many changes have occurred and the community struggles with many of the same problems that we see in other communities around the world.