Friday, August 8, 2014

5 Lessons about Israel, #1

Next Friday night, August 15th, at 8pm, North Shore Jewish Center will host its annual Lech Lecha (Go Forth) Shabbat for graduating high school seniors in our community.  All seniors are invited to attend and will be recognized during our services.

Also that night, I will speak about a topic of importance to Jewish college students, 5 Lessons about Israel.  Five things I think we should all remember about the Jewish Homeland.  Five things that Jews on campus might find particularly helpful.  As a vorspeis, here is #1:

Five Things about Israel, #1:  Israel Teaches You What College Should Teach You, Namely, How to Think:

One of the goals of higher education is to impart to students critical thinking skills.  Not so much to learn about a particular topic, but to "learn to learn."  To recognize bias, slant, agendas, poor logic, the influence of one's point of view or personal experiences - all these and much more the university student should come to recognize when doing research into a particular subject.  Learning how to learn and thinking about how to think really are great lessons for everyone.

What goes on about Israel when you're at college, well it could be a graduate seminar in how to learn to learn or think of thinking.  While it may be fairly easy for most Jewish students to come to the conclusion, "what I've heard must just be the 'Jewish' version of things since I'm Jewish," I don't know how clear it will be to them that even if that is so, it doesn't mean that what you know or believe is wrong and that someone just because they are called "professor" or they are some articulate protester on the quad or it was written some well-funded campaign against "Israeli apartheid" that that makes what you're hearing "the truth".  There is a world of bias and of ignorance out there that goes beyond even legitimate criticism of Israel - and you must be prepared to search for it and recognize it.

Asking yourself, "why does this person/class/article/etc. say this?" is the first lesson in learning to learn.  It is also my first lesson about Israel.

For this one and the other four, join us at NSJC next Friday the 15th at 8pm.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Aaron Benson

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