Israelis Societal challenges
Start writing a post

Wow, part 60 already?!

We are still at the Shalem College, but we have moved to another room. Dr. Daniel Gordis will be speaking to us; he is a lecturer on Israeli society, the challenges facing "the Jewish state," and American-Israeli relations. In addition to that, he is also a two-time winner of the National Jewish Book Award. He has a very Zionist view of the land; in fact, his talk to us was about what Zionism looks like today.

Dr. Gordis wanted to explore what it meant to create a new Jewish identity. He also talked to us about how Zionism has changed from what it was 70 years ago. He began with a story about himself growing up in the United States. In elementary school, he learned about the Mayflower, the Declaration of Independence, and Manifest Destiny--just like any other American student. He said, however, that he never really related to any of the American stories he learned about in history class (to be fair, who has ever related to the old white men of the 1700s?). Rather, he always felt a greater connection to a homeland that was halfway across the world.

He originally did not want to make Aliyah and move to Israel, but his wife did. So they compromised--meaning they moved to Jerusalem. He said that he's felt at home ever since. He never imagined he would be here, but here he is. He imagines a new Zionist and Jewish identity different from a time that Jews were struggling to find an established country.

To him, there is no question that this land is Jewish Israeli land. To him, the shift of Zionism has changed because of the fact that they no longer are trying to create a country. To him, the goal now is to build a country that is generous and well respected in the international community.

He went on a tangent about his students who were reading the Iliad and the Odyssey. They were Shalem students who had already served time in the IDF. This was right after the second intifada.

When they read about wars in the Iliad, one student raised his hand and said, "This is nothing like war. This is not war. What we saw was war." Dr. Gordis said his whole room fell silent. An expression of sadness and pain passed across every student's face. Dr. Gordis said that this was all the more reason that a new Jewish identity needed to be formed--because all of these young Jews had defended the creation of the older wave of Zionism.

After talking to Daniel Gordis, we went on a geopolitical tour of Jerusalem with Iftah Burman, the founder of the Middle East Learning Academy (MELA). Here is a quote from Burman himself about why he started MELA:

"Working with Jewish educational tours in Israel, I found that people visiting here sometimes have a lack of understanding to what is the true history of the different conflicts that mark the Middle East in general, and Israel in particular. It seemed a lot of misconceptions, media fed mostly, were causing a misunderstanding of what each side has done and said in the past, and what weight the different elements have.

As a result, many people found their initial viewpoint to be misperceived, after learning more about the subject from me. Over time, I found that one of the leading questions at the end of one of my lectures or presentations was 'why wasn't I aware of this information?' In 2011, I took it upon myself to supply a remedy for this problem. After all, Middle Eastern topics are on the evening news almost every night, all over the world.

The word 'conflict' seems at times to be a part of the name of this region. It has always been my conviction that through knowledge people can advance themselves and others, and solutions can be promoted to long standing issues. I wanted to create a nonpartisan, educational, innovative hub for Middle Eastern current affairs."

He took us to a lookout point over Jerusalem and gave us a detailed history of the region. After that, we went to the new American Embassy building and discussed the politics of the moving of the building to Jerusalem.

The building was built right on the line dividing East and West Jerusalem--literally, half of the building is in West Jerusalem and the other half is over a line that is drawn on maps of this region--so shouldn't we be able to argue that it's half in Palestinian East Jerusalem? No. Apparently, there is a small demilitarized zone right over the West Jerusalem line, and that is why the building is not, in fact, half in East Jerusalem and half in West Jerusalem. Rather, it's half in West Jerusalem and half in the demilitarized zone. Well played, Trump, well played.

We then watched the sunset over another lookout point--this time, the lookout point was over the "green line" that separated the West Bank and Israel. We saw the rooftops of both Israeli and Arab neighborhoods; ten years ago, a building was almost always distinguished by the water containers on the roof.

Arab buildings used to exclusively have black barrels as water containers, while Israeli buildings always had white barrels. Today, though, there is some inter-coloring of the water barrels--the black ones are usually cheaper, so many Israelis choose to buy black barrels for their homes.

After our geopolitical tour, we went to meet with Tal Becker, an Israeli negotiator who was present at the peace talks with the Palestinian Authority. Stay tuned for the next section!

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

How Much Of A Coffee Snob You Are, Based On Where You Live

Your state may determine how picky you are about your coffee.


When it comes to coffee, everyone has different criteria for what goes into their "perfect cup." Some caffeine lovers, though, are extra particular when it comes to their beloved beverage. One survey found that the state you're from (or the one you live in now) may play a part in determining how much of a coffee snob you actually are.

LiveShopper Sassie, the company behind this Coffee Project survey, received input from 1,000 coffee drinkers via their mobile app, PrestoShopper, to ask various questions about their coffee drinking habits and preferences. In return, these survey respondents got money back for their coffee — something any user who downloads the app can do as well (yes, even you).

Keep Reading... Show less
Fox Atomic

Halloween is days away and that means that November is basically here, aka the holiday season. I love Halloween movies, preferably the ones that are more cute or funny than innately scary.

If October has been a crazy busy month for you, you may have forgotten to watch some of your favorite Halloween movies, but you still have time! This week I know I have been bingeing my favorites, and you need to add some of these to your list if you need to get in the last minute Halloween spooky spirit.

Keep Reading... Show less

Where To Find The Best Coffee Drinks In America, According To A Survey

Here's the coffee shop where you should get your morning brew.


Coffee, for billions of people, is one of the only things that can get us out of bed (after hitting snooze a time or two), especially in 2020. Because, if we're being honest, is there anything that beats a quality cup of coffee on those mornings when all we wanted to do is roll over and go back to sleep? The answer is no. And if you're headed to a coffee shop to pick up your caffeinated beverage, you don't want to sleep on the best coffee drinks in America.

According to LiveShopper Sassie's Coffee Project survey, when it comes to chain coffee shops, there are definitely preferred spots you'll want to hit up for your go-to order — whether you order the classic, frozen, or flavored coffee, an espresso, tea, or other. To figure out the hot spots, 1,000 coffee drinkers across the United States took to LiveShopper's mobile app, PrestoShopper, to answer various questions about their coffee drinking habits and preferences. In return, these survey respondents got money back for their coffee — something any user who downloads the app can do as well (yes, even you).

Keep Reading... Show less

Don't get me wrong, we definitely saw some red flags from Clare in episodes one and two of this season of "The Bachelorette," but after (spoiler alert) Yosef got sent home last night, she's quickly become the villain of her own season, waving some pretty bright red flags we can no longer ignore.

To get more specific, last night Chris Harrison told the guys they'd all be getting dates after Clare canceled the cocktail party following the fight with Yosef (please let this be the last time I have to think about this a**hole). Unfortunately for the men, Clare also ended up completely ditching the first group date she promised them. Yes, that's right, she stood up the men who were supposed to have a fun day with her and showed up hours later without an apology (or a reason).

Keep Reading... Show less
Content Inspiration

Survey: Which Issues Are The Most Important To You In The 2020 Election

If you're a first-time voter or voting by mail for the first time, we want to hear your story.


The general election on Tuesday, November 3, 2020, will decide not only the next president of the United States but also which political party controls the House of Representatives and the Senate. Young and first-time voters will play a crucial part in determining the result.

Keep Reading... Show less

Articles To Write If You're All About Saving More Money, And Waking Up A Little Bit Earlier

Get your day started right — and keep that budget tight.


For all the young professionals, parents, and students out there who've been working, learning, or even teaching remote — 2020 has likely been the longest year of your life. If you didn't know (sorry), we've been locked down for over 200 days now, and chances are, you are ready for it to be OVER.

Keep Reading... Show less
@bacheloretteabc on Instagram / @viallnicholas28 on Twitter

"The Bachelorette" is FINALLY back, and season 16 is already off to a — dare I say it? — DRAMATIC start.

There is no fandom more involved and invested than Bachelor Nation, so naturally, viewers had A LOT of thoughts during last night's episode. And honestly, the only thing more entertaining than watching a new episode of "The Bachelor" is following the live tweets fans post while it airs.

Keep Reading... Show less

5 Disney Movies To Watch If You're In Need Of Some Childhood Nostalgia

Disney + is a huge part of my young adult life- since I am a sucker for re-watching shows and movies I was obsessed with throughout my childhood. Check out to see what Disney movies have taught me throughout my life.

Walt Disney Pictures

Disney movies will always hold a special place in my heart. They made my childhood important and taught me so many lifelong lessons at an early age while making it fun and enjoyable for me.

During quarantine, I have decided to re-watch some of my favorite childhood movies, and let me tell you, I do not regret a single minute of it. It reminded me how these movies instilled values and morals into not only my childhood but still in my life to this day.

Keep Reading... Show less

To celebrate the five year anniversary of his debut album "TRAPSOUL" Tiller has released two new albums and these are my favorites from the release. The deluxe album includes songs that didn't make the cut from the debut album and the "Anniversary" album has brand new songs.

Keep Reading... Show less

Halloween is every costume-lover's favorite holiday. Growing up in Canada, I remember wearing turtlenecks and sweats under my princess costumes. The opportunity for it to be socially acceptable to dress up as anybody but yourself for just one night a year is one most of us love taking advantage of.

I was doing "couples" costumes with my girlfriends before I ever had a boyfriend. There was a year in high school in which my best friend and I dressed up as two of the Golden Girls and one year in which we went to Halloween parties dressed up as Iago and Jafar.

Keep Reading... Show less

Gary Chapman wrote a book called, "The Five Love Languages: The Secrets to Love That Lasts" and in it, he discusses what he coined as the five languages of love, which are the most common ways that people express and experience love. These five love languages include words of affirmation, receiving gifts, physical touch, quality time, and acts of service. If you aren't sure what your or your partner's love language is, you can take this quiz to find out.

Now, finding out what your partner's love language is step one to better understanding how to love them, but step two is figuring out how to best implement their love language into your relationship. That can be hard, so to help couples out, I put together a list of 10 different things you can do for your partner that is specific to their love language.

Keep Reading... Show less

I Asked Over 50 Students What The Best Part Of Their Morning Routine Is, And The Answers Are In

I asked over 50 high school and college students what their favorite part of their morning routine is, here's the verdict.


Although there was a wide variety of answers, I was able to place everyone into eight different categories. All but about six answers were said more than once!

Keep Reading... Show less

Our world is so full of such sadness, and sometimes we just need something to bond us to one another. What better way than science puns? They're not just for the intellectuals among us (though they might get a bit more of a laugh out of some of these than us more ignorant folks) they're also for those of us who want a good laugh or maybe to impress a particularly science-y crush. Some of these puns might even teach us.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments