Jewish and Democratic Israel

"To nurture a Jewish and democratic state, we must engage in a threefold project: educational, legal, and sociological. We must know each other better, acknowledge each other, and deepen our collaborations."

Shraga Bar-On, Call and Responsa, April 2018

 
 

BE’ERI PROGRAM FOR
PLURALISTIC JEWISH-ISRAELI IDENTITY

Be’eri trains educators, creates innovative curricula, and partners with local and national change agents to provide a pluralistic, content-filled approach to Tarbut Yehudit Yisraelit (Jewish heritage) studies that transforms the way countless Israeli students, teachers, and government and community leaders lay claim to their Jewish-Israeli identity. The Be'eri program expands the breadth and depth of pluralistic Jewish-Israeli identity education among Israeli youth by developing formal and informal educational methodologies that encourage educators, students, and parents to deepen their Jewish knowledge and identity and take Jewish values-based social action. Be'eri leverages national and municipal partnerships to influence change agents in the education system and the broader Be'eri ecosystem, introducing them to a multifaceted, values-based approach to Judaism that is meaningful and relevant to their daily lives.

Be’eri was founded ten years ago as a pilot program in 11 Israeli schools and has grown to become a holistic ecosystem encompassing the largest training program in Israel for the Tarbut Yehudit Yisraelit subject. Be’eri today includes:

Be’eri School for Teacher Education: Intensive training courses for classroom educators, experiential educators, outstanding teachers, and principals

 

Journey Through Israeli Society

In Fall 2017, Be’eri launched the Masa BaChevra HaYisraelit (Journey Through Israeli Society, JTIS) pilot program in Tel Aviv and Haifa, integrating formal and informal pedagogy in a yearlong curriculum designed to engage 10th grade students in exploring their personal, communal, and national identities and facilitating their learning, discovery, and connection to their particular identity as members of a broader, pluralistic Israeli society. The program provides a unique educational experience that cultivates students’ Jewish identity by exposing students to all sectors of Israeli society, including non-Jews, and to many different kinds of Jewish expression, with an emphasis on Jewish peoplehood and world Jewry. To accompany the formal curricula taught throughout the year, JTIS takes students through a powerful, emotional five-day educational experience while traveling throughout Israel and visiting multiple, diverse communities.

Be’eri is supported by the Russell Berrie Foundation, Edward Fein Foundation, Keren Daniel, Azrieli Foundation, UJA-Federation of New York, Avi Chai Foundation, Alan B. Slifka Foundation, The Crown Family, June Baumgardner Gelbart Foundation, Israel Ministry of Education, the municipalities of Be’er Sheva, Haifa, Modi’in, and Tel Aviv, and other generous donors.

 

MIN HABE’EROT INITIATIVE:
JEWISH-ARAB EDUCATION TOWARD
A SHARED SOCIETY

Min HaBe’erot aims to redefine the way Israeli Jews and Arabs live together in Israel by building an infrastructure to support a conversation among key educators and their students, thereby strengthening a commitment to a pluralistic Israeli society in line with Jewish and democratic values.

Min HaBe’erot is the only framework in Israel that enables key educational change agents from the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim sectors to study their traditions together in a way that gives them new insights into their own heritage as well as those of the others. The program cultivates participants who initiate new conversations among their fellow faculty and students and in their communities, supporting a shared society.Through Min HaBe’erot, participants learn to read and teach traditional religious and cultural texts that inspire them to view pluralistic, democratic values as part of their tradition and not separate from or in contradiction to it. This joint study emphasizes and strengthens personal identity, while recognizing shared social and moral values in order to build mutual respect. 

 

In Fall 2017, Min HaBe’erot launched its fourth year, which included principal and teacher training in northern and central Israel, alumni engagement activities for program graduates and facilitation for implementation in schools, and curriculum development.

Min HaBe’erot is supported by UIA-Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver,

Beracha Foundation, and other generous donors.

 
 

HARTMAN CONFERENCE
FOR A JEWISH AND DEMOCRATIC ISRAEL

The annual Hartman Conference in memory of Institute founder Rabbi Prof. David Hartman is one of the highlights of the Institute’s public-learning calendar. Exploring key issues facing contemporary Israel from a Jewish values perspective, the conference provides an opportunity for the Israeli public to join Hartman Institute scholars and an array of public leaders – political figures, academics, social activists, and the media – in conversation on contemporary events and the development of a Jewish, democratic civil society.

AL DAAT HAKAHAL
PUBLIC INTELLECTUALS GROUP

In 2017, a number of Hartman Institute public intellectuals attuned to the burning questions on the Israeli agenda formed a new group to offer responses based on the Jewish tradition of dialogue through public media appearances and speaking engagements. The members of this group share their thoughts and spark discussion on the Institute’s new Hebrew blog, Al Daat Hakahal (a play on words from Jewish liturgy, literally meaning On Public Opinion). The blog quickly developed wide reach into Israeli society, exploring questions of religion and state, Zionism and democracy, statehood, and social justice.

Recent articles on timely matters that have generated broad discussion include pieces on the Jewish approach to refugees, the relationship between Jewish Israelis and Americans today, and religious feminism.

 

LEV AHARON PROGRAM
FOR SENIOR ARMY OFFICERS

The mission of Lev Aharon, which has trained over 10,000 senior IDF officers, is to engage participants with their Jewish-Israeli identity and the expression of that identity in the Israeli public sphere. The program assists senior officers in developing a strong, positive Jewish-Israeli identity that informs and guides their military leadership and service. Lev Aharon nurtures an appreciation of how intersections of Jewish and Israeli identity, Zionism, religious pluralism, military ethics, and the complex interplay between Judaism and democracy in Israeli society can and should affect the officers in their present and future roles. Participants are encouraged to reach beyond their immediate bases of influence to touch society at large.

 

Lev Aharon is supported by The Crown Family and other generous donors.

PHILOSOPHY CONFERENCE

The International Philosophy Conference serves as an intellectual framework where Jewish and general philosophers from Israel and North America meet to study and discuss the central issues confronting Jewish life today through the prism of Jewish philosophy. Through this conference, the Institute creates a unique discourse that provides new directions for addressing contemporary challenges. 
The 2017 Philosophy Conference addressed the theme “Contemporary Jewish Identities: How 1967 Has Shaped Jewish Identity in Israel and North America” through multidisciplinary, text-centered inquiry involving havruta study, lectures, and group discussions.

 

IN THE PUBLIC SPHERE

Catch 67 by Micah Goodman (Hebrew) - a best-seller in Israel. 

• Watch interview with Micah Goodman on NBC Nightly News

Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor by Yossi Klein Halevi, now on the New York Times bestseller list.

Read about Yossi Klein Halevi’s new book in the mainstream and Jewish media, including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and listen to The Atlantic Interview podcast.

The Hartman Institute and Rabbis for Human Rights held an evening of study, thought, and action in response to the Israeli government's plan to expel Sudanese and Eritrean asylum seekers from Israel. The conference featured an address by Donniel Hartman. Hundreds were in attendance, with thousands more joining via livestream, and the event garnered attention in the Israeli press.

"The Moral Challenge of Gaza", a Times of Israel post by Donniel Hartman, garnered nearly 20,000 Facebook shares

Watch the proceedings (in Hebrew). Read more in the Jerusalem Post about Donniel Hartman's statements about the refugee situation in Israel

Tomer Persico explored The Leftist, Anti-Humanist New Right in the U.S. and Israel on Times of Israel

Watch Tehilla Friedman on London and Kirschenbaum: Can Democracy Require Haredim to Grant Equality to Women? [Hebrew]

Ariel Picard presented a New Vision for Religion and State in Israel on Hartman's new Al Daat Hakahal blog [Hebrew]