top of page

Strategies for Teaching Israel

There are many ways of teaching about Israel, and each institution and educator, implicitly or explicitly, chooses the way in which he or she presents the various narratives related to Israel, its history and contemporary reality.

Sometimes Israel is taught as a stand-alone topic, separate from broader Jewish history or civilization, or as a purely Zionist story that is seen as divorced from the broader story of the Jewish People. It is often framed as part of an individual’s Jewish identity but not significant from a collective perspective.

The educational goal of our proposed approach is to re-anchor Israel in the Peoplehood paradigm, which is based on the assumption that the State of Israel is the birthplace of the Jewish People, and the central project of the Jewish People in modern times.

Engaging and feeling part of the Jewish People requires an engagement with the Land and State of Israel. In this context, Israel is a unifying force rather than a divisive one; it is a broad topic that welcomes diversity (of people, narratives, cultures), and it is part of a broader story of the Jewish People, rather than a stand-alone topic.

In order to teach Israel from a Peoplehood perspective, we propose beginning the educational journey by highlighting the role the Jewish People played in envisioning and building the State. Introducing the challenges, issues, aspirations and goals of the visionaries of the State provides crucial context for this conversation.

So does the story of the pioneers as Jews who left their old countries in pursuance of a new Jewish future. In addition, the story of millions of Jews throughout the world who focus(ed) their lives and passions on the young State needs to be told. It is the story of Israel as the venture of the Jewish collective.

After establishing that context, there is room for discussion – through text study, Israel visits and mifgashim – of the status of the relationship to Israel today and into the future. Core issues, such as the vision for Israel as the State of the Jewish People and the nature of the partnership between world Jews and Israel, needs to be discussed and addressed.

The critical issue is to ensure that there is mutuality and partnership between Israelis and non-Israeli Jews, as both are equally valuable members of the Jewish People.

Once there is dialogue, there is room to discuss commitment. Here again, there is a wide range of options from being an local activist, to spending time in Israel involved in an area close to the individual’s heart.

The important point is the global sense of ownership to this important Jewish enterprise. Once established, there is no option for indifference or turning one’s back on Israel. Rather, it behooves the active member of the Jewish People to work to improve the realities that are not welcome.


The Pedagogic Introduction provides an overview to the principles of a pedagogy for exposing students, in all settings and ages, to Jewish Peoplehood. As is described in more detail in the introduction the pedagogy consists of three components:

  1. Engagement with the Jewish People – Connecting with the Heart

  2. Developing Peoplehood Commitment through knowledge – Connecting with the mind

  3. Motivating Action-oriented expressions of belonging to the Jewish collective enterprise – Connecting with the Hands

bottom of page