Cultural Windows into Israeli Society Today
In partnership with The iCenter, M2, and RootOne
How can we share the lived experiences of Israelis today with our learners? Israeli culture—music, poetry, artwork, and more—offers us windows into diverse societal responses to Israel's new reality. In this webinar series, panelists presented cultural content created by Israelis since October 7 and offered suggestions for using them in the classroom.
View the recordings below to learn more about practical, adaptable content to spark and anchor important conversations about Israel today.
Session 1 - Tuesday, February 6 - Hope and Faith
Our panelists---Danny Weininger (Makom), Osnat Fox (Makom), and Shalom Orzach (The iCenter)---explored cultural responses to the Hamas attacks on Israel and the plight of our hostages through the lenses of hope and faith.
- תחזור/Return - Idan Raichel and Roni Dalumi
- זכרון עותף/Wrapping Memory - Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design
- עכשיו אנחנו צריכים תורה חדשה/Now We Need a New Torah (and other poems) - Elchanan Nir
- My Parents' Motel - Yehudah Amichai (p. 6)
- Simchat Torah - Zoya Cherkassky-Nnadi
- The Last March - Nathan Rapoport
- עם ישראל חי/ָAm Yisrael Chai - Eyal Golan
Session 2 - Thursday, February 8th - Fear and Pride
Our panelists---Yakir Englander (Israeli American Council), Shlomit Naim Naor (M2), and Yotam Wolk (RootOne and The iCenter)---explored cultural responses to Israeli military action in Gaza through the lenses of fear and pride.
Mikhael Reuven Kesher
Mikhael Reuven Kesher is a curator of educational experiences and resources, whose professional passion is supporting Jewish educators and learners in building informed, constructive, and committed relationships with am yisrael (the Jewish people) and medinat yisrael (the Jewish state). As a British-born Israeli-by-choice and American-in-the-making, he cares deeply about strengthening each Jew’s connection to global Jewry. Before joining The Jewish Education Project as Director, Israel Education, Mikhael worked at Harvard Hillel, MIT Hillel, and Hebrew College. He holds Master’s degrees in Philosophy (University of Cambridge), Near Eastern & Judaic Studies (Brandeis University), and Jewish professional leadership (Brandeis University). At home, Mikhael is an avid reader, ḥevruta enthusiast, and devoted abba to two young children.
Osnat is the Director of Makom's Institute for Global Jewish Voices. She spearheads Makom’s work to connect young Israelis with global Jewry and peoplehood. Past roles include Senior Shlichah (Israeli emissary) at JEWISHColorado, Psychology and math teacher, regional manager at Mindlab, teaching thinking skills through games and co-initiator-leader of Ya’ala, a community engagement program at Hillel Jerusalem. Osnat holds a BA in Psychology, an MA in Education Policy and Management, and a teaching certificate in Psychology. She is married to Shalom and the proud mother of Shahar, Sagi and Yogev.
Shlomit Naim Naor
Shlomit Naim Naor, the Program Director at M²: Institute for Jewish Experiential Education, has been an educator for over twenty years with positions at Makom, the educational content unit of the Jewish Agency, and as an advisor to the Jerusalem Education Bureau. A graduate of the Mandel School of Educational Leadership and M²’s Mabat 1, Shlomit’s other work experience includes serving as a Jewish Agency emissary in London and as chair of the Israel Batei Midrash Network. As a prize-winning author of the poetry books “No End in Sight” (2016) and the “Things We Are Not Talking About” (2020), Shlomit strongly believes in creative writing as an impactful tool in experiential education. Shlomit holds a BA in Hebrew literature and philosophy from the Hebrew University, a master’s in creative writing from Ben-Gurion University, and is proud to raise her family in Jerusalem.
Shalom Orzach is a senior educator with The iCenter, and serves on faculty for the Foundation for Jewish Camp. Prior, he served as the AVI CHAI Project Director for the training of staff returning to summer camps in North America, and Director of Education in the Shlichut and Israel Fellows unit for the Jewish Agency. He is a member of the International Education Committee of Taglit-Birthright, has served as a consultant for the Jim Joseph Foundation, JUF Ta’am Yisrael and the Jewish Peoplehood Committee and teaches a course in experiential education at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Shalom was the Central Shaliach for USY from 1992 -1995. He was also a scholar on the prestigious Jerusalem Fellows Program, following which he was the Executive Director for Jewish Renewal at the UJIA in England. Shalom is an acclaimed public speaker on contemporary Israel who brings extensive knowledge, humor and passion. He recently served as a month-long scholar for United Synagogue in Chicago and at the Park Avenue Synagogue in New York. He has published articles on Israel and Jewish education in The Times of Israel and eJewishPhilanthropy, and delivered an ELI Talk.
Dr. Yakir Englander
Dr. Yakir Englander is the Senior National Director of Leadership programs at the Israeli-American Council. He also teaches at the AJR. Originally from the Ultra-Orthodox community of Israel, Englander obtained his Ph.D. from the Hebrew University in Jewish philosophy and gender studies. He is a Fulbright scholar and was a visiting professor of Religion at Northwestern Universities, the Shalom Hartman Institute and Harvard Divinity School. Englander’s books about body, gender and sexuality in the Ultra-Orthodox and Zionist-Orthodox communities have changed the discourse on sexuality and gender inside the Jewish religious societies in Israel. After leaving Orthodoxy, Yakir was drafted to the Israeli military, spending of his service in an elite unit tasked with the identification of human remains. As a result of his service, he joined as a director at Kids4Peace, an interfaith youth movement in Jerusalem and in North America.
Yotam Wolk is the Jewish Agency Shaliach (emissary) to Chicago, with RootOne & The iCenter for Israel Education. Yotam grew up in Haifa, Israel, as the youngest of three. Upon concluding 3.5 years military service in the anti-aircraft corp as a sergeant major, Yotam spent several summers working in Jewish summer camp, as well as training other Israelis to become summer camp staff through the Jewish Agency. Yotam also served as the Jewish Agency Israel Fellow to Yale University. Yotam holds a BA in International Affairs and Communications from Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and an MA in Israel Education from George Washington University. Yotam currently resides in Chicago with his wife, Nitsan.
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