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April 20, 2016 3:42 pm

Israel’s Secular Schools Set to Launch New Curriculum on Jewish-Israeli Culture

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A locker full of books. A new curriculum in secular schools in Israel seeks to strengthen students’ Jewish-Israeli culture starting from a young age. Photo: Eliana Rudee.

A locker full of books. A new curriculum in secular schools in Israel seeks to strengthen students’ Jewish-Israeli culture starting from a young age. Photo: Eliana Rudee.

JNS.org – Israel’s Education Ministry on Wednesday announced that it will launch a new curriculum in secular schools that seeks to strengthen students’ Jewish-Israeli culture from a young age.

“The Jewish story that has been passed down from generation to generation should continue to be told. We should not cut the link. This is what was done,” Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett said Wednesday.

The program, called “Israeli Jewish Culture,” will replace the Jewish Heritage and Culture curriculum that is currently being taught in grades 1 to 9. The aim of the program is to introduce students to Judaism through Jewish literature, traditions, and more.

“To know who we are, to know or forefathers, Maimonides, Yehuda HaLevi’s songs, and also the life of Nahman Bialik and the writings of Ehad Ha’am, to understand the issues of the [Passover] seder, and what the fast of the 17th of Tamuz is. All are important no less than mathematics. This we will do,” said Bennett.

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  • Stein

    This curriculum of Israeli Jewish Culture is an awesome development.

    The field of Jewish Studies, including Israeli archeology, textual studies, and so on, is a rich and valuable heritage.

    Rabbinic studies often refer to the four hermeneutical levels of ‘Pardes’ (Pshat, Remez, Drash, and Sod).

    Pshat is the evidence. Remez is the process of analyzing the evidence, detecting patterns via logic and emotion. Drash is the synthesis of the process to form paradigms. Sod is the ineffable mystical encounter with the transcendent, often experienced when paradigms shift.

    Fields such as Israeli archeology do the important work of clarifying the Pshat – the literal meanings in their original historical context. The evidence. Remez sifts thru this evidence, to clarify, extrapolate, define, and connote – in order to establish accurate Pshat.

    Safeguarding the accuracy of the understanding of the historical context of Tora, is like safeguarding the accuracy of the letters of a Tora scroll.

    The deeper meanings and implications depend on the accuracy this Pshat foundation.

  • Jay Lavine

    Judaism should not be reduced to a culture. It is a way of life.

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