A Picture Tells 75,000 Words

Last Updated on Tuesday, 27 July 2010 09:48 Written by bryfy Tuesday, 27 July 2010 07:07

I like to think that an apparent recent interest in the Jewish adolescent population signifies a trend in the North American Jewish community to begin focusing on this most critical demographic. It is in these years that identity is developed more intensely than in any other age span. It is in these years that teenagers move gradually (or alarmingly) from the strong bonds and attachments that they have with their parents to the new relationships that will also endure with their  friends, role models and the like. And it is this demographic that the Jewish community has paid least attention to in recent years. But that is about to change, I can feel it, I know it, all it takes is a few good educators, with a few good communities (read Federations and Central Agencies), a lot of good congregations, youth groups & youth movements, summer camps, Jewish travel programs, and a few good foundations to join forces and….

Recently my dissertation has attracted some renewed attention. Entitled “Giving Voice to a Generation: The Role of the Peer Group in the identity development of Jewish Teenagers in America” this dissertation focuses on many issues covered in this blog – Jewish adolescents, identity development, formal and informal (nonformal) settings of Jewish education, experiential Jewish education, Israel, popular culture, relationships – to name but a few.

For those of you who want to read my dissertation, I recommend waiting for the book or movie to come out. But in the mean time – a picture really does tell 75,000+ words (click to enlarge)

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Olay Olay Olay Olay: Jewish Peoplehood and the Mondial (World Cup)

Last Updated on Monday, 14 June 2010 08:51 Written by bryfy Monday, 14 June 2010 08:51

Recently I was asked about one of my favorite sites in Israel and why it meant so much to me. It took a few moments but then I recalled a place in Israel that always makes me smile – the soccer pitch at Kiriat Moriah in Jerusalem.

This pitch (if you can call it that) is a broken up piece of asphalt with barely visible markings and nets with gaps in them the size of soccer balls. And for those of you who know Kiriat Moriah, and have lived there and eaten in her cafeteria, you may be even more surprised with my choice of favorite Israeli site.

But I hearken back once again to 1990 and World Cup fever had descended on all of us. As an Australian growing up on Aussie Rules and cricket I was rather surprised to learn that there was in fact a world sport and that involved a round ball. But after the initial shock I began to learn a thing or two. Argentineans and Brazilians, who had been best of friends for many months, could come to blows during a soccer match. Grown men could cry inconsolably as never heard of before Cameroon defeated their heroes. And everyone who wasn’t British seemed to despise England.

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Magash HaKesef – The Silver Platter

Last Updated on Sunday, 18 April 2010 03:53 Written by bryfy Sunday, 18 April 2010 10:09

On this Yom Hazikaron (Israeli Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terrorism Remembrance Day) I want to recall an episode from my first trip to Israel, 20 years ago. It was on Kibbutz Yizre’el, where I lived for 6 months, that I met the members of Garin Shakuf (Transparent) – a group of 18 year old Israelis who had volunteered to extend their army service by working both on a kibbutz and serving in the IDF.

Our group of Aussies and Kiwis made friends very quickly with the members of the Israeli garin. What was not to enjoy? Here we were a large group of motivated, passionate, largely ideologically driven, virile, long-haired people living and working together for an extended period of time. We toiled in the fields and factories together, ate in the dining room together and danced and drunk in the pub together. For all intensive purposes we were fast becoming friends. And despite some language barriers there was enough in common – as Jews coming together from different parts of the world that united us all.

Until one Friday night where the garin told us that we weren’t allowed to come to the pub before midnight.

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