Jewish foundations meet to discuss Israel education


NEW YORK — Leading Jewish organizations came together to discuss the future of Israel education for North American pre-college students.

Some 80 groups gathered last week in New York for a meeting called iThink convened by the iCenter, a Chicago-based organization founded in 2009. The meeting featured the presentation of a report titled “Mapping the Landscape: The Emerging Field of Israel Education,” which offered several recommendations for enhancing Israel education.

Among the report’s recommendations are adopting professional standards of practice, investing in Israel educator staff positions and creating more opportunities for encounters between Israelis and North Americans.

The report also set several goals to be achieved by 2020, among them doubling the number of Jewish 18-year-olds who demonstrate basic proficiency in Hebrew.

“Looking and giving attention at how we can build a strong foundation starting at the earliest of ages, in a way that is systemic and organic, is going to lead to a really strong foundation for the future,” said Ann Lanski, the iCenter director.

The iThink event was co-sponsored by The AVI CHAI Foundation, the Jim Joseph Foundation, the Marcus Foundation and the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation.