New Article: Agmon et al, Mentoring on Healthy Behaviors and Well-Being among Israeli Youth in Boarding Schools

Agmon, Maayan, Cheryl Zlotnick, and Anat Finkelstein. “The Relationship between Mentoring on Healthy Behaviors and Well-Being among Israeli Youth in Boarding Schools: A Mixed-Methods Study.” BMC Pediatrics (early view; online first).

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12887-015-0327-6

 

Abstract

Background

Although 10% of Israeli youth live in boarding schools, few studies, except for those focusing on mental health, have examined the well-being of this population subgroup. Thus, the aims of this study were to explore: (1) the prevalence rates of five aspects of well-being (i.e., healthy habits, avoidance of risky behaviors, peer relationships, adult relationships, and school environment) in youth residing at Israeli boarding schools; (2) the relationships between youth well-being and youth perception of their mentor; and (3) the different subgroups of youth with higher rates of risky and healthy behaviors.

Methods

This study used a mixed-methods approach including a quantitative survey of youth (n = 158) to examine the association between youth behaviors and perception of their mentor; and a qualitative study consisting of interviews (n = 15) with boarding school staff to better understand the context of these findings.

Results

Greater proportions of boarding school youth, who had positive perceptions of their mentor (the significant adult or parent surrogate), believed both that their teachers thought they were good students (p < 0.01), and that they themselves were good students (p < 0.01). This finding is supported by the qualitative interviews with mentors. Youth living in a boarding school had very similar healthy habits compared to other youth living in Israel; however, youth in the general population, compared to those in the boarding schools, were eating more sweets (OR = 1.39, 95% CI = 1.02-1.90) and engaging in higher levels of television use (OR = 2.64, 95% CI = 1.97-3.54).

Conclusions

Mentors, the significant adult for youth living in residential education environments, have a major influence on school performance, the major focus of their work; mentors had no impact on healthy behaviors. Overall, there were many similarities in healthy behaviors between youth at boarding schools and youth in the general population; however, the differences in healthy habits seemed related to policies governing the boarding schools as well as its structural elements.

New Book: Lev-On, ed. Online Communities

לב-און, אזי, עורך. קהילות מקוונות. תל אביב: רסלינג, 2015.

LevOnOnlineCommunities

The rapid penetration and intensive use of the Internet in general and online social media in particular allowed for the flourishing of a new type of communities – online communities that share some common traits with traditional geographic communities, but differ from them in other respects.

An online community is a dynamic association of individuals based on a common characteristic or a shared interest as the basis of a social relationship, and whose members engage in sustained interaction through the Internet. The voluntary affiliation of community members, the size of the community, the professionalization of its members and the self-regulation mechanisms that it engenders, helps the development of large-scale networks in which members choose to share information and engage in common interest over a substantial time period. In this way, online communities can be a magnet for large numbers of savvy individuals, and at the same time open a new world of opportunities for them.

Online Communities is a collection of articles written by Israeli scholars who are engaged in online communities of various kinds: parents with special needs children, adolescent girls, social workers, online forums dealing with health issues on the one hand and pro-anorexia communities on the other, and more. The chapters of the book address issues such as the structure and function of these communities, uses and gratifications derived from community membership, as well as methodological issues raised by the study of online communities.

The editor, Dr. Azi Lev-On, studies the social and political uses and influences of the Internet, especially social media arenas such as forums of Ultra- Orthodox women and of political activists, Facebook pages of municipalities and Knesset members, knowledge communities and online venues for public involvement.

 

ToC: Israel Affairs 21.1 (2015)

Israel Affairs, Volume 21, Issue 1, January 2015

 

This new issue contains the following articles:

Articles
Ethnic Income Disparities in Israel
Pnina O. Plaut & Steven E. Plaut
Pages: 1-26
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2014.984418

‘Mayhew’s outcasts’: anti-Zionism and the Arab lobby in Harold Wilson’s Labour Party
James R. Vaughan
Pages: 27-47
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2014.984420

Israel Negev Bedouin during the 1948 War: Departure and Return
Havatzelet Yahel & Ruth Kark
Pages: 48-97
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2014.984421

Good news: the Carmel Newsreels and their place in the emerging Israeli language media
Oren Soffer & Tamar Liebes
Pages: 98-111
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2014.984422

From ‘Rambo’ to ‘sitting ducks’ and back again: the Israeli soldier in the media
Elisheva Rosman & Zipi Israeli
Pages: 112-130
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2014.984423

Israel and the Arab Gulf states: from tacit cooperation to reconciliation?
Yoel Guzansky
Pages: 131-147
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2014.984424

Building partnerships between Israeli and Palestinian youth: an integrative approach
Debbie Nathan, David Trimble & Shai Fuxman
Pages: 148-164
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2014.984436

Book Reviews
Flexigidity: the secret of Jewish adaptability
David Rodman
Pages: 165-166
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2014.937913

Russia and Israel in the changing Middle East
David Rodman
Pages: 166-167
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2014.937914

Social mobilization in the Arab–Israeli war of 1948: on the Israeli home front
David Rodman
Pages: 167-169
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2014.937915

These are my brothers: a dramatic story of heroism during the Yom Kippur War
David Rodman
Pages: 169-171
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2014.937916

Jews and the military: a history
David Rodman
Pages: 171-173
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2014.937917

The Jewish revolt: ad 66–74
David Rodman
Pages: 173-173
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2014.937918

The city besieged: siege and its manifestations in the ancient Near East
David Rodman
Pages: 173-175
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2014.937919

The forgotten kingdom: the archaeology and history of northern Israel
David Rodman
Pages: 175-176
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2014.937920

New Article: Weinstock et al, Societal Change and Values in Arab Communities in Israel

Weinstock, Michael, Maysam Ganayiem, Rana Igbaryia, Adriana M. Manago, Patricia M. Greenfield. “Societal Change and Values in Arab Communities in Israel. Intergenerational and Rural–Urban Comparisons.” Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology 46.1 (2015): 19-38.

 

URL: http://jcc.sagepub.com/content/46/1/19

 

Abstract

This study tested and extended Greenfield’s theory of social change and human development to adolescent development in Arab communities in Israel undergoing rapid social change. The theory views sociodemographic changes—such as contact with an ethnically diverse urban setting and spread of technology—as driving changes in cultural values. In one research design, we compared three generations, high school girls, their mothers, and their grandmothers, in their responses to value-assessment scenarios. In a second research design, we compared girls going to high school in an ethnically diverse city with girls going to school in a village. As predicted by the theory, a t test and ANOVA revealed that both urban life and membership in the youngest generation were significantly related to more individualistic and gender-egalitarian values. Regression analysis and a bootstrapping mediation analysis showed that the mechanism of change in both cases was possession of mobile technologies.

 

New Article: Taragin-Zeller, Modesty among Female Ultra-Orthodox Teenagers in Israel

Taragin-Zeller, Lea. “Modesty for Heaven’s Sake: Authority and Creativity among Female Ultra-Orthodox Teenagers in Israel.” Nashim 26 (2014): 75-96.

 

URL: http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/nashim/v026/26.taragin-zeller.html

 

Abstract

The ethnographic research that I conducted at a Bais Yaakov seminary in Jerusalem demonstrates how ultra-Orthodox female teachers and their teenage pupils structure an ideology of modesty through the reinterpretation of canonical texts on modesty. In this study, I show that modesty is a creative sphere informed by two trends: the adoption of modern patterns of behavior, and religious innovation. The exegesis these women give to the texts upon which they base their practice redefines the field of modesty in two primary ways: (1) It transforms modesty from a rigid halachic dictate into a dynamic feminine “mission” that is connected to the sphere of virtues; and (2) it replaces the socio-masculine discourse upon which this observance is based with a divine imperative. This phenomenon bears witness to a shift in the types of authority that these ultra-Orthodox teenage girls are willing to accept, since the only justification they accept for their modesty practices is that of personal devotion to God.

Cite: Brandes and Levin, Israeli Teenage Girls Constructing Their Social Connections on Facebook

Brandes, Sigal Barak and David Levin. “‘Like My Status’: Israeli Teenage Girls Constructing Their Social Connections on the Facebook Social Network.” Feminist Media Studies (online preview)

URL:  http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/14680777.2013.833533

Abstract

This paper engages with the relatively new area of research into teenage girls and online social networks, focusing on the experiences and views of Israelis. In particular, we examine how Israeli girls construct social relationships on Facebook. Adopting a feminist interpretive approach, this qualitative study is based on focus group interviews with Israeli girls aged between twelve and eighteen from diverse cultural, economic, and social backgrounds. The girls clearly distinguish between different circles of social closeness on Facebook, with each circle marked by different relationships, dynamics, and expectations. The study’s findings beg the question of whether social networks allow Israeli girls to exercise control, power, choice, and agency in their social world, or whether they remain informed by existing social structures that shape and restrict their choices and actions. The significance of these findings is discussed in the contexts of feminism, girl power, and Neoliberal discourse.

Cite: Gesser-Edelsburg, Collective Memory of Civil War and its Impact on Israeli Youth

Gesser-Edelsburg, Anat. “The Collective Memory of a Civil War as Reflected in Edutainment and its Impact on Israeli Youth: A Critical Reading of Consensual Myths.” Memory 78.3 (2012): 254-280.

URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/15244113.2012.700637

Abstract

Following the political assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, in 1998 Israel’s national theater Habimah produced the play “Civil War.” The play addressed the religious/hawkish-secular/dovish rift in Israel through a critical reading of events from Jewish history and raises the potential of civil war and political violence in Israel over Israeli-Palestinian peace. An empirical study of 107 Israeli students from the 11th grade who viewed the play presents the potential of “Civil War” to influence students and lead them to a critical reading of consensual myths of the Jewish historical/cultural texts and current events.