This 3-part online class offers a comprehensive but accessible overview of how Jews came into being as a nation in the ancient Land of Israel, how their many centuries of exile affected their relationship to that land, and how modern Zionism developed into a successful state building movement culminating in the establishment of the modern State of Israel in 1948. The series also unpacks the major components of the Israeli-Palestinian and Israeli-Arab conflicts, taking care to honor both Palestinian narratives and Israeli narratives of what happened and continues to happen. Side by side, the course attempts to describe and humanize the narrative of dispossession and resistance of the Palestinians alongside the narrative of survival, return, and state-building of Jewish Israelis.
Rabbi Donna Kirshbaum has never been one to shy away from a challenge. She has operated a dairy farm in the Missouri Ozarks, eked out a living as a classical cellist, enrolled in the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in her 50s and started a new life in Israel in her 60s. Now a member of Israel’s largest grassroots movement, she is pursuing a goal that’s eluded the world for a century: a negotiated political settlement between the Israelis and Palestinians.
When we began our Israel journey together in Tel Aviv on March 7th, we were 25 people representing 11 Reconstructionist communities who travelled there on the promise to go places and meet people that even veteran Israel travelers hadn’t visited or met. And on that promise, the Reconstructing Judaism Israel Mission Trip delivered.
This text study, prepared by Rabbi Nina Mandel, contains pairs of passages examining biblical and contemporary notions of what “Promised Land” means, and how it has been interpreted by Jewish thinkers over the millennia.
This 2004 report of the movement’s Israel Policies Task Force emerged from a movement-wide process that solicited thoughtful input from Reconstructionists across the country. While much has changed over the past decade-plus, most of this earlier report’s framework and recommendations are still compelling and sound.