Cite: Pomson and Held, Re-Viewing Israel Education

Pomson, Alex and Daniel Held. “‘Why Israel?’ Re-Viewing Israel Education Through the Lenses of Civic and Political Engagement.” Journal of Jewish Education 78.2 (2012): 97-113.





This article takes up categories from literature on political and civic engagement to help make sense of data collected from interviews with 40 American Jewish day high school students about what they think and feel about Israel. Viewed through a set of lenses that distinguish between the manifestations and motivations of political and civic engagement, the article helps clarify why young Jews, even when actively and positively engaged with Israel, are uncomfortable labeling themselves as Zionists. The analysis points to an important distinction between the concepts of Israel as “home” and “homeland.” The article also raises important questions about what is presumed to be an increasing distance or alienation from Israel among young American Jews.

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