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Education, Technology, Science, and Innovation in Israel

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.

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Meditation – Do I Need To Say Anymore?

The Rabbis might call Cheshvan “Mar” Cheshvan, but I think it should be called “Thank goodness it’s Cheshvan!” or TGIC. I have HHF (High Holiday Fatigue) and am using Cheshvan to get myself back on track both physically and spiritually.

On the physical side I’m back on my exercise routine. It was hard to exercise AND be in shul three mornings a week AND host people in our Sukkah AND work…you get the idea. Not that all of those things weren’t joyful, they were, but there are ONLY 24 hours in a day so something had to give.

Rabbis talk about the importance of routine for both children and adults.  I must say that the one thing that didn’t give during the holiday season was my meditation practice, and for that I am grateful. Meditation might feel Eastern to you and not Jewish, but that happily is not true.

I am also using the principles of meditation with a Jewish twist to regain my sense of Jewish spirituality, which also took a hit during the High Holidays. Counter-intuitive I know, but sometimes too much of a good thing can have the opposite effect.

According to Arye Kaplan who has written several books on Meditation and Judaism, meditation was, in his words “central to the prophetic experience.” Those who have studied the Torah philologically (the study of language of historical sources) believe there are meditative methods referred to in the text. Arye Kaplan also asserts that over a million Israelites were involved in meditation prior to 400 BCE.

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Some More Good Reasons To Visit Israel

Tel Aviv-Yafo

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.

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A few Good Reasons to Visit Israel

So many places to visit, so many things to do! 


The Galilee & Golan Heights

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.

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Residential Education in Israel

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.

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Summer in Israel? Plan that Visit Now

Summer in Israel? Plan that Visit Now

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.

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Jewish Teenage Temptation

“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?

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Pride in being Jewish

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.
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Jewish Education

The Jewish Class Room of the Future

The world around us is changing so much faster than we ever thought possible. IBM states that every day, there are more than two quintillion (a million raised to the fifth power) data bytes created, and more than 90 percent of that data was created during the last two years! Just imagine…

And whether you like it or not, technology has become a part of all the things we do, be it in our communication or how we engage in business or politics. Youth nowadays grow up and go to school in a digital world, and teachers and school administrators have no other choice but to adapt to evolving tools and teaching methods. Digital engagement is required, and today’s children are expecting creativity and customization in their classrooms.

The classroom of the future may very well be filled with interactive tablets, 3-D animation models, colorful graphics, and interfaces that will be turning learning into something like a game, something students are already used to, so they love to learn and will get home raving about it. When they explore and study the Beit HaMikdash construction, the students can virtually explore and wander through a 3-D model of the construction and learn also how it must have been living in the days of their ancestors. Unrealistic? Well, many experts say this is likely not far off. If today, most MBA diplomas are earned through online MBA courses that use state-of-the-art technology and have become pretty affordable, you can bet other educational resources will follow suit.

And it’s not only about technology. So let’s see: what will the Jewish classroom of the future be like?

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Journey To ‘Jewtopia’

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’”