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The Power of Belonging: Ideas in Jewish Education and Engagement

Posted on Thursday, June 22, 2017 by Wendy Verba

“In our generation, the struggle of whether we connect more, whether we achieve our biggest opportunities, comes down to this — your ability to build communities and create a world where every single person has a sense of purpose."   – Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder and CEO    As it happens, our story begins with a Facebook post. Four years ago, “Natalya” arrived in San Francisco with her husband and two small children from Moscow via…

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Heard Round WexWorld: Teens Serving The Steel City

Posted on Wednesday, June 21, 2017 by Haley Bernstein, Leah Fogel, Lily Goldberg, Daniel Griffaton, Sammie Kass, Emily Munster, Avigayil Rosenberg, Mara Sanderow, Leo Schottenstein, Romi Winston

I thoroughly enjoyed my time working with the Wexner Service Corps (WSC) in Pittsburgh. I have never participated in service work like this before. It made me more appreciative for all the opportunities I have. Partnering with Open Hand Ministries to work on the house renovation project was my favorite experience of the trip. Seeing the work and the difference we made in just two short days was very humbling. I knew the effort we put in would result in a beautiful home for a family who worked so…

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Ramadan Kareem - Sharing a Day with Neighbors

Posted on Monday, June 19, 2017 by Danny Grossman

On June 6th a busload of some 40 “Wexners”, representing not only alumni of the Israel programs but Wexner Heritage and graduate Fellowship alumni, boarded a bus at the entrance to the upscale Tel Aviv suburb of Kochav Yair bound for Tayibe, an Israeli Arab village down the road.  The ride spanned less than 5 kilometers (even though it took 40 minutes at peak traffic time) — but allowed many to embark on a cultural journey, with interactions they had never before experienc…

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Grappling with the Universal and the Particular (in Nepal with Yossi Klein Halevi)

Posted on Wednesday, June 14, 2017 by Francine Gordon

Sometimes I feel that I am forced to choose between my love for the Jewish people and Israel and my desire to embrace and heal the whole world.  I know this is a question many Jewish leaders grapple with — the universal versus the particular; where to put our time, talent and treasure.  There is an Israeli organization doing fantastic work in developing countries, while at the same time raising up Jewish values and even text study and learning — for both Israelis and North …

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Why I’m Sitting When We’re Supposed to Stand at Synagogue

Posted on Wednesday, June 14, 2017 by Jenifer Newmark

As I grow in the knowledge of my faith, my level of religious observation evolves and deepens. I love discovering the meaning and beauty inherent in the ancient practices of my beloved Judaism, the practices that nourish my soul. Recently at Shabbat service, however, I found myself altering the way I worship once again. I remained seated throughout the entire service, and did not rise during the parts where the congregation is exhorted to stand: Amidah, the Barchu or the Mourner’s Kaddish…

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Aggressively Addressing the Relationship Crisis Between the Jewish Communities in Israel and North America

Posted on Monday, June 12, 2017 by Dan Segal

For decades, the relationship between the Jewish communities in Israel and North America has been of critical importance.  In the past few years, however, that relationship has seriously deteriorated; there may no longer exist consensus about even fundamental principles.  Symptoms of the depth of the divide range from rabbis in America being so fearful of conflict that they refrain from speaking about Israel from the pulpit to the propensity of many college-aged students, viewing the s…

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Bringing Research to our Teaching of Sacred Texts

Posted on Thursday, June 08, 2017 by Rafi Cashman

We in the Jewish education community are really beginning to dive into general education research when it comes to teaching (and learning) sacred texts.  The Mandel Center’s recent two-day conference on developing independent readers of Tanach, organized by Dr. Ziva Hassenfeld, WGF Alum (Class 25) and overseen by the Mandel Center’s Director, Professor Jon Levisohn, WGF Alum (Class 10), was a wonderful testament to how productive such a gathering can be — especially when c…

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An In Depth Look at Leadership in the Israeli Prison System

Posted on Wednesday, June 07, 2017 by Tal Winbrom

On May 10th, Wexner Israel Fellowship Alumni (WIF) and Wexner Senior Leaders (WSL) network/communities visited the Israel Prison Service which was made possible thanks to Talma Tohar-Cohen (WSL16), the Head of Planning and Budget Division of the Israel Prison Service.  We toured the Ayalon Prison and the Neve Tirtza prison, which is the only prison for woman in Israel.  While seeing these prisons, many of the academic ideas we learned during the WSL month-long program at Harvard's…

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WexPOOL and Stepping Up to Lead in the Russian Speaking Jewish Community

Posted on Wednesday, June 07, 2017 by Leonid Vayner, Lenny Gusel, Boris Khodorkovsky, Yelena Kutikova

As the first year of our Wexner Heritage program comes to a close, we (New York RSJ 16) wanted to reflect on our experience to-date.  The personal bonds our cohort formed resulted in stimulating and passionate discussions, several collaborations aimed to strengthen our Jewish identity and pro-Israel sentiments, and, of course, new friendships.   Yet, the one thing that stands out in our minds is the now-traditional carpool shared by four authors of this article.  Our 17 rides fr…

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Why Israelis Don’t Care Whether the U.S. Moves Its Embassy to Jerusalem

Posted on Thursday, May 25, 2017 by Shalom Lipner

Presidents are used to receiving unsolicited advice. Here’s something for President Donald Trump to ponder as he packs his bags for Israel: Many Israelis really don’t care whether the United States moves its embassy to Jerusalem. Latest reports now suggest that Trump has decided to forestall such a move for the foreseeable future. His path to this destination, after indications that he would eschew the example of all his predecessors, has been tortuous.   Click here to read m…

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