I was unsure of what I was going to find, and kind of uneasy, as I rushed through the front doors into the empty lobby of the Westside Theater. Empty that is, except for a man in an official looking suit. “Joseph P.,” I told him “Party of two.”
“Right this way,” he replied after locating my tickets. “You’ll have to wait at the steps until the scene ends,” he continued, as he led me and my friend into the theater. “The play began five minutes ago.”
As we breezed passed the ticket taker and up the steps, my eyes adjusted to the dim luminescence and I reflected on how I’d gotten to this show. It must have been, to some degree, a step in a different direction for Fresh Ink to send a writer to a play.
The public relations agent for the play treated me like I was a regular reporter and after the show I would have interview time with the leading actors, which was awesome. I’m sure this was a first or at least a second or something for a teen reporter. Continue reading “Journey To ‘Jewtopia’”→
When the British Mandate officially ended on May 14, 1948, the Jews in Israel immediately gratefully and joyously accepted the U.N.’s offer and proclaimed the establishment of the State of Israel on May 14, 1948. However, the Arabs living in the land rejected the U.N.’s two-state offer and refused to take their state. Instead, five Arab states – Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, and Iraq – declared war on Israel and immediately invaded Israel on May 15 with the goal of eliminating it. The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) was established, and Israel fought for its existence in the War of Independence from May 1948 to July 1949.
Despite being greatly outnumbered, Israel won the war and in 1949 signed armistice agreements with Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon (Iraq withdrew its forces without signing an armistice). As a result of the war, the State of Israel now included more territory than it had under the original U.N. partition plan. In particular, Israel included all of present-day Israel minus the West Bank, which was part of Jordan, and the Gaza Strip, which was part of Egypt. Also, Jerusalem was divided under the Israeli and Jordanian rule.
In 1989 the Fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union by 1991 enabled hundreds of thousands of Soviet Jews to be able to leave the Soviet Union and immigrate to Israel. In addition, Israel had been working throughout the late 1970s, 1980s, and early 1990s to rescue Ethiopian Jews and bring them to safety in Israel.
1990s: Continual Efforts Towards Peace
Although in the 1991 Gulf War Israel was attacked by Iraqi missiles, the 1990s were, for the most part, a decade of significant steps towards Middle East Peace. In 1991 the Madrid Peace Conference on the Middle East outlined a framework for bilateral peace negotiations between Israel and Palestinians and Israel and Syria.
When Yasser Arafat ostensibly renounced terrorism and recognized Israel’s right to exist in 1993, Israel agreed to negotiate in order to try to live in peace. Even though the terrorism against Israeli citizens continued, in 1993 Israeli Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin met with PLO leader Yasser Arafat in Washington, D.C. On September 13, 1993, Rabin and Arafat famously shook hands on the White House Lawn as Israel and the PLO, representative of the Palestinian people, signed the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self Government Arrangements for the Palestinians.
This is a (not complete, by all means…) impression of what Israel is all about when it comes to education, technology, science, security, government, and innovation.
Israeli Education standards and security:
-Israel has the highest relative ratio of university degrees in the world.
-Israel has the largest relative number of startup companies in the world, and the second largest number in absolute terms (after the United States). Most of these are hi-tech companies that improve the lives of people around the world.
-After the U.S. and Holland, Israel has the largest percentage of workers holding university degrees.
-Israel has the world’s third highest rate of entrepreneurship and also the highest among women and individuals aged 55 and up.
In many ways the New York City of Israel, Tel Aviv is the center of modern Israeli life. From its gorgeous beaches on the Mediterranean Sea to the corporate high-rises that mark the skyline, Tel Aviv is a crucial destination for any trip to Israel.
Tel Aviv, founded by Jews in 1909, was built by the ancient port city of Jaffa (Yafo). Jaffa, one of the oldest ports in the world, is even mentioned in the Bible. Tel Aviv and Jaffa were merged into the same municipality soon after the State of Israel was founded.
A trip to Tel Aviv must include time spent relaxing on the beach or walking on the Tayelet (boardwalk) as well as some time exploring the many clubs and restaurants throughout the city. The city is also home to the Diaspora Museum, the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, which holds a large collection of Israeli and international art, and the Palmach Museum, which celebrates the historic heroic actions of the Palmach, an elite unit in the pre-state underground defense forces. Finally, Rabin Square in central Tel Aviv is an important and moving plaza that serves as a memorial to prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, assassinated in 1995, and to the values of peace and unity that he represented.
The Sea of Galilee, or the Kinneret, is Israel’s largest body of freshwater and serves as the country’s primary water source. In the surrounding area, the majestic mountains of the Golan Heights provide a beautiful view of the Galilee and northern Israel as well as a strategic outlook over Syria and Lebanon. A hike in the Golan Heights is one of the most exhilarating experiences Israel has to offer. In addition, if you are a skier, Israel prides itself on having not only beautiful beaches but also a wonderful ski resort on Mount Hermon, Israel’s highest mountain.
Israel’s residential education system differs from what currently exists in the U.S. Israel’s network of approximately fifty (50) children and youth villages could serve as a model for the U.S. Residential education is far more widely available in Israel than in any other country in the world, and is less expensive than in the U.S.
Israel does not have an elite tuition boarding school system. It does have a system made up of child-centered communities which are not necessarily for “misfits” nor for those from financially advantaged backgrounds, but for “normal” children and youth who have troubles in their home environments.
“Residential education” is the term used in Israel, whereas “residential treatment” or “residential care” are the terms most often used in the U.S. The former represents a more positive view of students, and emphasizes strengths and the future, whereas the latter indicates a more problem-to-be-solved approach.
What are you doing this summer? Do you want to participate in an archeological dig? Study in a yeshiva environment? Work on a kibbutz? Hike and climb the length of Israel?
Check out this sampling of programs in Israel (more programs will be presented during the coming months), and share with us some of your favorite experiences from your past summers in Israel. BTW, every program puts a stress on your security while in Israel.
Destination Israel is the comprehensive Israel program information portal designed to help students find the Israel program that’s right for them.
“He was getting on my nerves, you know what I mean?” she said. “He dropped out of high school and now he wants to get his GED…”
“Um, yes … of course, I totally understand what you are saying,” I answered back … as if I really had a clue.
As my friend continued to unravel every detail of her “dating life” I could not stop thinking about how miserable this girl was. All she could think about was boys!
I still don’t understand why my friend chose to speak about this to me — a girl who is completely against teenage dating — and no, it’s not because I attend an all-girls high school. By the way, did I mention that my friend just recently turned 16?
Ye… Yele… Yeled,” Oliver looked up at me with pride in his eyes. He knew he had read the word perfectly. He began to smile, satisfied with his own accomplishment. I too began to smile. Overwhelmed with gratification I realized it was this feeling that drags me out of bed before 9 a.m. on Sunday mornings.
Oliver, his sister, Daphne, and I participate in the Jewish Youth Encounter Program. “The program was designed to instill in our students a love of and pride in being Jewish,” described Debby Rapps, program director.
Founded in 1986 by Carl and Sylvia Freyer, the program is open to all children in the third through seventh grades, from public or private schools and affiliated or unaffiliated homes. The “big siblings” as the tutors are called — mostly juniors and seniors attending local yeshiva high schools — are specifically matched to best fit the needs of each child in the program. Continue reading “Pride in being Jewish”→
The wedding gown was packed, our suits were in garment bags and all other wedding-related items were jam-packed in our suitcases ready for the wedding. However, we had one stop before the hall — JFK Airport. The American bride, my sister Tzivia, was getting married in Israel.
In January 2016 my sister got engaged to an Israeli who lived with his family on the Upper East Side, eight blocks from our house. As soon as the engagement was announced, the issue of where the wedding would take place was immediately discussed. Problem was only that the guy first had to pass the TASC (former GED) exam, but he did, thanks to the support and practice tests from BestGEDClasses.org, a great online learning platform!
The couple told everyone that they wanted to get married in Israel. At first, it was a shock especially because 90 percent of my family and friends live in America. Nevertheless, everyone agreed after they explained their motivation for wanting to get married in Israel, and all of our problems were solved. Continue reading “The American bride getting married in Israel”→