A few weeks ago I made a presentation for the department of Zionist education of the Jewish Agency, which focuses on presenting Israel in the United States. My suggestions for programming were based on our Public Space Judaism model and included partnering with secular organizations and adding an Israeli element to already-existing programs in the public sphere. For example, Israeli food at an outdoor food fair; Israeli music at a music festival; Krav-Maga for kids doing martial arts; and tie-ins to current events, such as the film Munich or concerns over Iran. (If you would like to see a full listing of these ideas, they are available on our JOPLIN site. Simply click on the worksheet entitled “Israel in Public Space Judaism.”)
Then I read an announcement that the former American ambassador to Israel, Daniel Kurtzer, was appointed as first commissioner of the newly formed Israel Baseball League, whose mission is to bring the joys of baseball to the people of Israel (and they’ve even found biblical support!) If there is one thing even more quintessentially American than fireworks on the 4th of July, it is surely baseball. So my added suggestion to the Jewish Agency would be, if you want to reach those who are unaffiliated and unengaged in the Jewish community, spend less time in day schools and synagogue classrooms and more time on the ball field.
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