by Lori B. Sagarin, Rabbi David Cohen, and Rabbi Josh Weinberg, Chalutzim Segel (Faculty)
Although Chalutzim is all about Ivrit (Hebrew), it is not ONLY about Ivrit. Another piece of the program is leadership and Israel history. The curriculum for tochniyot erev chinuchit (educational evening programs) is set before the summer with goals and background material all designed to help moatzot (councils) of chanichim (campers) to learn and lead these lessons. The notion is to provide the chanichim context, background and information that will help them to engage in conversations about Israel, some of which are what we call, “hard conversations”.
Last evening moatzah gimel led a conversation on Pluralism in Israel and identified Shabbat and the Law of Return as key examples of how pluralism plays out in Israel today. The chanichim were highly engaged and had strong opinions about striving for balance between Jewish and Democratic. Sadly, we found no answers (if only) but we have assured them our conversations will continue.
So in short, Chalutzim is more than rak ivrit (only Hebrew), it is also an opportunity to grow and become knowledgeable Jewish adults.
Lori B. Sagarin, RJE serves as Director of Congregational Learning at Temple Beth Israel in Skokie, IL. Rabbi David Cohen serves as Rabbi at Congregation Sinai in Fox Point, WI. Rabbi Josh Weinberg serves as President of ARZA (Association of Reform Zionists of America).