I have often said, only half-kiddingly, that I tend to return from Israel a bit more confused about the country’s major issues than before I left. Reading the news about Israel from my perch in New York, things tend to seem black and white. But when I’m there, it’s the gray that is most evident. That’s certainly true of my just completed month-long experiment in a “working vacation.” (My wife said I was working; I maintained we were on vacation.)
Jerusalem — In the hour she spent with 150 young Jewish entrepreneurs and social activists from around the world last Wednesday morning at the annual ROI (Return on Investment) Summit here, new Knesset member Ruth Calderon chose to teach a Talmudic text, coax thoughtful comments about it from her audience, apply the discussion to modern-day situations, and then welcome questions about current affairs.
Ein Prat (in the Judean desert between Jerusalem and the Dead Sea) — How do you encourage young Israeli Jews, both secular and observant, to deepen their “Israeli-ness,” exploring their Jewish and national identities in a way that is serious, thoughtful and open?