The Senior Educators Program offers Jewish educators from all over the world a unique opportunity for professional development and personal enrichment. Participants from assorted countries and cultures, representing every stream of contemporary Jewish life, bring their varied professional backgrounds and diverse areas of expertise to the Program. Senior Educators explore innovative approaches to Jewish education, probe critical issues in Jewish thought and develop new skills to bring home to their communities. Over 300 Jewish educators have graduated from the program.
So why is Ittay swapping Caulfield for Katamon? Well, in the past five years I have been working as a professional Jewish educator, I have come to a number of conclusions.
1. Love – I love what I do. I love the students, the staff, the ability to positively influence the Jewish identity of those around me and the opportunity to entertain and make people happy.
2. Israel – This is the place to be to learn about what I do. Because Israel, is the best textbook I have found yet to learn about being Jewish. It is one giant laboratory, filled with 5,393,600 Jews and 1,413,500 Arabs. Herzl outlined his vision for this experiment in Altneuland. To put it mildly, it hasn’t turned out as he expected. (The book repeatedly makes the point that Arabs in Herzl's utopian state have equal rights, and one of them, Rashid Bey, is deputy prime minister. The villain of Altneuland is not an Arab but a Jew - a rabbi who runs for office on a platform of depriving non-Jews of citizenship.) I want to find out why modern Israel hasn’t turned like any of the Zionist thinkers envisioned. I think this guy has good idea about what went wrong and how to fix it. Expect more on this topic went I begin blogging from Jerusalem.
3. Judaism – It's an extraordinary belief system that dictates a way of living and describes a God that never ceases to fascinate me. Educating about Judaism can become an incredibly rewarding and life-changing profession after a while. It has for me. The nature of the content I teach constantly forces me to reflect upon my own Jewish identity and practice, as much as I ask my students to do the same.
So there you have it, that’s my preamble. I’m looking forward to writing the story of one Australians take on Jewishness in a Jewish state over the period of a year. I invite you to visit this blog once a month and join me for the ride.