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The Schmooze

Israelis To Learn About American Jews in School

Growing up, American Jews spend hours learning about their Israeli counterparts. They descend on the Jewish state in droves, where they kiss the ground (and sometimes the soldiers). But – until recently – Israeli schools have given little attention to their country’s biggest fans.

That’s about to change.

As part of a new effort to educate young Israelis about Jewish life outside the Jewish state, plans are now underway to incorporate lessons on the American Jewry into Israel’s official high school curriculum. The new unit – reported today by JTA – is scheduled to begin in Israeli public schools in fall 2012 and will likely include teachings about the Conservative and Reform movements and Jews in the Diaspora.

“We in Israel, by not learning how American Jews think, lose in our capacity to engage in deep dialogue with them,” Rabbi Ed Rettig, acting director of the American Jewish Committee in Israel, told JTA. “We are smacking around the people who love us most.”

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