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Hanukkah at Hamidrasha

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This Hanukkah, Hamidrasha (together with the Holocaust Museum at Kibbutz Lohamei Hageta’ot), created a two day seminar for high school immigrants addressing issues of “Belonging and Identity.” One of BJ’s closest partners in Israel, Hamidrasha, was formed by a group of young Israeli educators to provide secular Israelis “opportunities for meaningful, modern Jewish education.”

For many, the teenage years are turbulent at best, and torturous more often especially for thousands of Israeli teens whose families have made aliyah. Dilemmas typical of teens struggling to “discover themselves” and “fit in” are intensified in the absorption process and the years after aliyah when many immigrant families often remain on the economic and social fringes of society.

Eighty-two 11th and 12th grade teens from Haifa and Netanya participated in the “Belonging and Identity” seminar. For many, the program was their first opportunity to explore in depth, and in a peer group, their personal experience and feelings. They were able to examine what it means to be Israeli and what it means to be Jewish. The teens personally encountered Jewish history through the Holocaust and the birth of the State of Israel and discovered that all Israelis are part of immigrant families. We, at Hamidrasha, were equally impacted by the students’stories, dilemmas and struggles and reminded of the responsibility and privilege to listen, to open ourselves, and to embrace.

Warm wishes for a bright and warm Hanukkah,

Moti, Saraleh, Chen and all your friends at Hamidrasha.