JSU’s Israel Scholars program to start new semester for teens and adults

The 2015 class of the Jewish Student Union’s Galia & Milton Movitz Senator John Danforth Israel Scholars Program. JSU Director Rabbi Mike Rovinsky is at left and Galia Movitz is sixth from the right in the first row. A new year of the Israel Scholars Program begins Nov. 2.

In early November, Jewish Student Union will begin a new semester of its Galia and Milton Movitz-Senator John Danforth Israel Scholars course, with separate programs for teens and adults. The course is designed to help participants  develop a deeper appreciation of the history of Israel and an understanding of both the Israeli and Palestinian narratives.

The adult program will start a new semester on Nov. 5, and the teen program begins Nov. 8. 

This semester, several partners came together for the college-accredited teen program. Partners include BBYO, Pardes of B’nai Amoona, BAUSY, Center for Jewish Learning of the Jewish Federation of St. Louis, Jerusalem U, Keshet, Kol Rina, Missouri Torah Institute, NCSY, NFTY, Temple Emanuel, USY and United Hebrew Congregation.

Participants will be introduced to the history of Israel beginning with the ancient and medieval eras and then focus on the development of modern political Zionism in 19th-century Europe leading to the establishment of the State of Israel. They will study the impact of immigration in determining the characteristics of the society and the emergence of ethnicity and religiosity and its influence on the socio-cultural, economic and political center-periphery structure of the society. The second part of the course will cover the relationship of the State of Israel to the Arab world including the many attempts for peace, both successful and unsuccessful and an understanding of both the Israeli and Palestinian narratives of Israel’s history.  

The last part of the course will cover the historical relationship between Israel and the United States, the contributions of Israel to the world in the arena of medical and technological advancements, the BDS movement (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) and the rise in anti-Semitism and anti-Israel sentiment on the university campus and around the world. 

Rabbi Mike Rovinsky, JSU Director and course instructor, said the course gives participants new insights into Israel. 

“It is a great opportunity to get a well-rounded understanding of the historical facts, an understanding of both the Israeli and Palestinian narratives and an appreciation of how tiny Israel is impacting the world at large,” he said.

The courses include 15 classes, which meet weekly at the Jewish Federation of St. Louis Kaplan Feldman Complex from 7:15 to 8:45 p.m. For teens, the course is free, dinner and snacks are served and all who successfully complete the course will earn $350 off a JSU affiliated Israel summer program or participate on The Jerusalem Journey (a monthlong summer Israel experience) for $975. For adults, there is a $250 tuition for the course. Scholarships are available. 

For more information contact Rabbi “Mike” at the JSU office 314-696-0578 or email danforthisr[email protected] register, visit www.tinyurl.com/Israelscholars.