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NESIYA — AN ISRAEL

editor Walter Ackerman
NESIYA — AN ISRAEL EXPERIENCE Charles Herman In the beginning, we wanted to create a journey to Israel in which young people would discover extraordinary creative vitality in Jewish culture and in themselves. We believed that the arts and cultural expe-riences could enable individual young people to develop their rela-tionship with Judaism and Israel, becoming unique interpreters of and participants in Jewish life. The first proposal for Nesiya called for the development of a summer Israel program for North American teenagers which would combine study and special touring with workshops led by leading Israeli artists. The first program would seek to attract  talented young people from diverse Jewish backgrounds who would grapple first- hand with learning to work, study, and create with one another. In addition, the program would be extensively videotaped in order to learn from this first experiment and to later promote its continuation and growth. We hoped that a finished television program would attract large numbers of unaffiliated and disaffected Jewish youth. The needs in Jewish life that Nesiya tried to address at its inception are the same as those that justify its expansion today. In the past, the transmission of Jewish culture was accomplished through Jewish ritual and the study and writing of books. Today, for most Jewish parents and their children, Jewish ritual has become foreign and the textual tradition is inaccessible. Yet there is a lack of programs which encourage individuals to see themselves as the progenitors of a creative legacy that is still evolving. Increasing numbers of bright and creative individuals are alienated from Jewish life. Young people in particular often find Jewish culture to be irrelevant to their personal lives. It is especially difficult to motivate teenagers and college students to explore, participate in, and contribute to Jewish culture. To address these needs, Nesiya based its work on several assump-tions and goals. In order to develop a living and creative legacy, bright and questioning individuals must be given formative and challenging opportunities to draw inspiration from Judaism and Israel in their own creative work. New kinds of educational and media pro- 158 Chapter Home  | TOC

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NESIYA — AN ISRAEL EXPERIENCE Charles Herman In the beginning, we wanted to create a journey to Israel in which young people would discover extraordinary creative vitality in Jewish culture and in themselves. We believed that the arts and cultural expe-riences could enable individual young people to develop their rela-tionship with Judaism and Israel, becoming unique interpreters of and participants in Jewish life. The first proposal for Nesiya called for the development of a summer Israel program for North American teenagers which would combine study and special touring with workshops led by leading Israeli artists. The first program would seek to attract \\" talented\\" young people from diverse Jewish backgrounds who would grapple first- hand with learning to work, study, and create with one another. In addition, the program would be extensively videotaped in order to learn from this first experiment and to later promote its continuation and growth. We hoped that a finished television program would attract large numbers of unaffiliated and disaffected Jewish youth. The needs in Jewish life that Nesiya tried to address at its inception are the same as those that justify its expansion today. In the past, the transmission of Jewish culture was accomplished through Jewish ritual and the study and writing of books. Today, for most Jewish parents and their children, Jewish ritual has become foreign and the textual tradition is inaccessible. Yet there is a lack of programs which encourage individuals to see themselves as the progenitors of a creative legacy that is still evolving. Increasing numbers of bright and creative individuals are alienated from Jewish life. Young people in particular often find Jewish culture to be irrelevant to their personal lives. It is especially difficult to motivate teenagers and college students to explore, participate in, and contribute to Jewish culture. To address these needs, Nesiya based its work on several assump-tions and goals. In order to develop a living and creative legacy, bright and questioning individuals must be given formative and challenging opportunities to draw inspiration from Judaism and Israel in their own creative work. New kinds of educational and media pro- 158 << Chapter >> Home | TOC
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Varda Books - 1-59045-968-7


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