The Informal Education Unit of the International School for Jewish Peoplehood Studies offers a broad range of innovative programs aimed at youth and young adults from Israel and around the world. The goal of these programs is to equip young Jews in their formative decade (18-28 years old) with knowledge about the Jewish people, instill in them a feeling of Jewish peoplehood and commitment to their own communities and the entire Jewish people, and motivate them to take upon themselves leadership role on various levels.
“The visit was very interesting, and helped us understand the Jewish world that was destroyed in the Holocaust, and how it contributes to Israeli identity. The professionalism, cooperation and tremendous preparedness of the staff are worthy of note.”
R.O., IDF officer
“I cherish this opportunity. It’s what I came to Israel to do. Participating in this program, is where you have the chance to really make a difference.”
Josh Weinberg, immigrant soldier
The Sabby and Zermain Koen Young Adults Initiative of the Unit conducts seminars and workshops for participants of Taglit-birthright israel project, short term Israel Experience and Masa long term programs, for overseas Jewish young adults. It offers programs specifically geared for Israel Defense Forces commanders, and prepares IDF soldiers for joining Taglit participants on their Israel visit. A wide range of seminars is geared for informal educational frameworks, such as youth movements, service year (post-high school and pre-army in Israel), university Hillel groups, and young Jewish adults in other informal frameworks from around the world.
Masa Long Term Programs in Israel
The School provides programming for participants in the year-long Masa program on Jewish peoplehood. Masa, which brings young adults from around the world for a combination of volunteering, study and travel, enables a long-term encounter with Jewish peoplehood. The School offers conferences, workshops and a year-long peoplehood series specially designed for Masa.
Thousands of participants in the Taglit-birthright Israel program from the United States, Former Soviet Union (FSU) and Israel take part in workshops and seminars at Beit Hatfutsot. These workshops use dynamic and progressive techniques in order to challenge participants to confront their Jewish culture, belonging and collective identity, and form powerful cultural encounters with their counterparts from around the world.
From My Space to Our Jewish Space
The My Space program module builds on the personal journeys of young Jews, and uses tangible, experiential programming to get participants to connect with their group, their family, their history, and their people. The My Space module connects Jewish young adults to their people by engaging participants in a journey of searching for connection through a hands-on, experiential, encounter with Jewish heritage. This program module provides a space for personal exploration within the context of Jewish history.
In these workshops, participants discover relationships between Jews and the world through film. Participants reflect on the place of the Jews in the world, and the significance of the Jewish culture by linking past and present through an exploration of film.
Jews of Struggle: “Let my People Go!”
This workshop is linked to the forty year anniversary of the birth of the Jewish nationalist movement in the former Soviet Union. This topic enables a vibrant and engaging encounter with an event that captured the attention of the world Jewish community for an entire generation. The movement is a living example of Jewish mutual responsibility, connectivity, and peoplehood in action. The movement changed the character of the Jewish people around the world, as communities mobilized, and as Jews from the FSU spread around the world –today constituting 20% of the Israeli population. In effect, this topic, which carries powerful messages about Jews in history and society, potentially resonates with all groups, as everyone can find an aspect of the story with which to personally connect.
Jewish Inter-Cultural Encounter
This workshop is specially designed for groups combining members of different cultural and geographic backgrounds. The workshop creates a space for participants to describe and encounter a panoply of personally Jewish experiences, enables a mutual understanding of different identities, and forges a profound awareness of the intercultural context of their Jewish lives. The workshop also cultivates skills for dealing with the challenges inherent in inter-cultural situations.
The Informal Education Unit provides programming for informal youth movements such as gap-year students, university and Hillel groups, JESNA, and youth movements. Many of these programs provide a venue for stimulating inter-cultural encounters.
For more information, please contact Ron Merkel: