Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Waving Flags Doesn't Work Anymore

There's been a move from flag-waving tactics to emphasizing-Israeli-culture tactics in terms of Israel advocacy on campus.

People are looking to connect people to Israel with videos like this:

But: Is that all there is? Does that define what is supposed to make Israel so special and integral to our students' identities?

More and more, campus professionals are sensing a disconnect. Students are asking - what does this have to do with me? In the best cases, Israel ends up being an add-on.

What do we expect when our Israel celebrations are, honestly, kind of lame? We can't possibly wave any more flags, eat any more falafel, or listen to any more music with unintelligible lyrics.

The suggestion: When Jews in America celebrate Israel Independence Day, they're not identifying with it as "HOME."

Our challenge - to make Israel part of the Jewish narrative.
So, Buckeye Jews - do you think this sounds like something that would make celebrating Israel more compelling for you? What would be the best way to do it?

1 comment:

  1. Frankly, I think the questions you're asking are the exact motivation HUC has for having first year rabbinical, cantorial, and education students in Israel for the year. I think their thought process is: how can our future rabbis (etc) help others connect to this, THE Jewish State, if the rabbis aren't themselves connected? It's a tricky situation, since so many American Jewish adults have complicated views on Israel (love cottage cheese, hate boycotts, for example).

    I don't feel like the posters of Jerusalem on the walls of religious schools, or falafel, or a random Hadag Nachash song are really cutting it anymore. Students aren't feeling nearly as connected as they could be. Is it because, especially in high school and college, they don't feel like it's okay to support Israel? Do they feel that Israel supports them?

    If it had an easy answer, it would be fixed. To me, just being in Israel is a great start.