The iCenter Defines and Leads the Field of Israel Education
November 4th, 2021
Thirteen years ago, The iCenter was established to create a professional field of Israel education. The organization has led and innovated the field from its earliest stages to what it is today: one rich with opportunities for learners and educators alike. Guiding its efforts is the vision that every Jewish child develop a rich and lasting relationship with Israel and Israelis.
Initially, The iCenter convened leading thinkers and practitioners to discuss and frame the ideas that would animate its work moving forward. The result was the Aleph Bet of Israel Education, which has become the conceptual foundation of The iCenter’s approach and, as a result, has shaped the field.
We’re at an inflection point as to how American Jews are looking at Israel, and we need to find new ways to engage them because the old ways don’t work. The iCenter has articulated different modalities in Israel engagement that I want to try and adopt in my community.
– Peter Eckstein, VP at the Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County and a member of Cohort 2 of the Graduate Degree in Israel Education in partnership with the George Washington University
Today, the landscape has shifted considerably. Israel education has moved from the margins to the center, with local and national organizations prioritizing it. To support this growth, The iCenter provides a dynamic pipeline of professional certificate and academic degree programs that reach educators and leadership representing day schools, synagogues, camps, youth movements, college campuses, JCCs, federations, Birthright Israel, RootOne, and more. These programs include the Graduate Degree in Israel Education in partnership with the George Washington University, the iFellows: Master’s Concentration in Israel Education, and the Professional Certificate in Experiential Israel Education.
A Relational Approach
Key to The iCenter’s relational approach to Israel education is mutual experiences between North American Jews and Israelis. By including Israeli participants in each of its programs, The iCenter provides opportunities not only to learn about and experience Israel, but for participants to learn together and from one another.
On The iCenter program, I met North American participants. It was amazing meeting great people and finding out that we have something in our soul that connects us together. My Jewish life here in Israel is very different from a Jewish life anywhere in North America. I know that for my children, North American Jewry won’t be so far away.
– Gal Hahmon, iFellow
The iCenter continually develops new frameworks such as its current work in the area of conflict education. Learning from practices in other disciplines dedicated to navigating complexities, and from voices in the field, The iCenter helps learners navigate the ever-more polarized political environment while maintaining and growing their commitment to Israel. In the coming weeks, The iCenter will convene leading experts in the field to further evaluate the most recent challenges and continue to develop its new initiatives in the area of conflict education.
Where Israel and Education Meet
The iCenter continues to grow, develop, and advance the field of Israel education through its commitment to dynamic educational practices, by developing a field of credentialed educators, and by the constant of innovative ideas ready to meet the newest emerging challenges and opportunities. The iCenter is where great minds in Israel studies, experiential education, and conflict education meet to develop the tools for nurturing a meaningful relationship between the next generation of North American Jews and the people, land, and State of Israel.
The Jim Joseph Foundation is a supporter of The iCenter. Visit theicenter.org to learn more.