Thursday, January 1, 2009

Lookjed's Tenth anniversary

This past year I have posted a number of Lookjed "classic" conversations as part of a celebration of ten years of Lookjed discussions. Lookjed is now officially celebrating its tenth anniversary - the first invitation to join Lookjed was sent out at the end of 1998, and the inaugural mailing appeared at the beginning of January 1999 (for a variety of reasons, the volume numbers now change at the beginning of the academic year). For those of you who wax nostalgic about this kind of thing, you can access the first month of mailings in the listserv archives at

Over the years I have received quite a bit of feedback and constructive comments (you are always welcome to share your thoughts by writing to me or by posting at ). One response that sticks in my mind was the individual who responded angrily to my postings about Israel, in response to the intifada that began on Rosh haShanah 2000. My correspondent wrote that he had signed up to the list to receive information and participate in conversations about Jewish education, not politics. In response I told him that I believed that Israel should be part of the curriculum in every Jewish school today, and that during a time of war it was the responsibility of every Jewish educator to be knowledgeable about what was taking place there. Every classroom, every school and every community are different from one another, but when Jewish soldiers are taking up arms to defend the Jewish state, it is something that should be discussed in Jewish schools around the world.

I am sure that you are all aware of the ongoing rockets and missiles that have been directed at Israeli cities and villages, and the Israeli army's response to those attacks. Aside from reading the online Israeli newspapers, here are some other resources that may be of interest/assistance to the Jewish educator -
The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs puts out a daily newsletter that links to Israel related news stories in online publications around the world. You can subscribe to it at
The Jewish Agency has a "current issues" page that has updated information and materials on Israel related topics
The Jerusalem Post and Haaretz have both reported that the Israeli army has opened a front in the online battle for public opinion by launching a YouTube channel with reports about the current military operation in Gaza

According to this Jerusalem Post article, the battle for public opinion is going on in the United States
James Taranto, writing in the online Wall Street Journal, contrasts between what goes on in hospitals in Gaza and in Israel during these tense times, and argues that the press makes more of the opposition to Israel's Gaza operation than is really there (the first two pieces in the column).

Whether or not a teacher feels it appropriate to introduce a classroom discussion of Israel's political aims in this battle, showing concern for the soldiers who are putting their lives on the line in defense of the Jewish State is certainly appropriate.
If you do not have ready access to the tefillah le-shlom hayyelei tzahal, it appears at or


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