Teaching Israel: Before and After October 7th

Posted on 12/01/2023 @ 05:00 AM

Tags: Jewish Schools & Educational Services

Photo by Timon Studler on Unsplash

The date is October 8, 2024, one year after the war.

How have our lives changed as Jews?

How are our schools teaching differently about Israel, if at all?

Israel. It’s on all of our minds.


The war, the hostages – we are glued to our media, fixated on what is happening in our homeland and to our precious Israeli family. 


As the Miami community’s central educational agency, CAJE regularly brings together principals and administrators from all of our day schools to discuss timely and important issues facing the entire day school community.


What is more timely and relevant than Israel today?


Thus, the agenda for our first Principals and Administrators Council (PAC) meeting was primarily focused on Israel and how our Miami-Dade day schools have been addressing the many issues that have arisen since October 7th.


As you can imagine, their concerns revolve around increasing security, burgeoning antisemitism, teaching facts about Israel’s history, conflicts on social media, questions from non-Jewish teachers, just to name only a few!

On Tuesday, November 28th, 13 heads of schools and administrators from 12 Miami-Dade schools gathered at our CAJE offices for the first PAC meeting of the 2023-2024 school year.


As each of them took a seat around the table, we could feel the apprehensive energy and excitement that comes from meeting colleagues in person for the first time (when you’ve only ever spoken on zoom), and seeing others you have not seen in a long while.


After a round of introductions, heads of school were paired up and shared with one another how the last 8 weeks have affected them both personally and professionally.

In contrast to many communities in North America in which Orthodox heads of school do not sit with non-Orthodox heads of school, our CAJE Miami PAC network is an example of intrareligious collaboration.


Despite their differences and viewpoints, our heads of school listen intently and with respect to each other as well as try to find common ground in their shared passion for Jewish education and mutual commitment to providing the highest quality teaching and learning for their students.

“It was such a pleasure to get some time to talk about Israel in the context of this incredible network of professionals. Thank you CAJE for making this space for us!”


- Jessie Gindea, Interim Head of School, The Gordon School

When we asked them if there were any gaps in resources that our Miami community and CAJE, in particular, could help fill, our heads of school unanimously agreed that they needed help providing Israel education for non-Jewish and/or Jewish faculty with less background.


Heads of School were also interested in educating parents and teens on how to deal with antisemitism on college campuses as well as how to choose colleges that are more supportive of Zionistic perspectives and Jewish students.


As the Jewish people continue to navigate our new “normal” during the war in Israel, CAJE remains committed to supporting our schools and providing them with the necessary educational resources to help their students, faculty, and parent community deal with and respond to this crisis.


If you would like more information or to support CAJE’s efforts towards Israel education in our day schools, please contact Audrey Maman Bensoussan, CAJE’s Associate Director for Day School Education, audreymaman@caje-miami.org

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