Website of Jewish culture launched

"Tarbut IL" launched this week at residence of British ambassador; goal is to "deepen pluralistic discourse" in Israel.

March 24, 2013 04:55
2 minute read.
Daniel Posen

posen370. (photo credit: Courtesy, Posen Foundation)


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A website dedicated to providing educational resources on Jewish culture to teachers and educators in Israel was launched this week at the residence of the British ambassador.

Tarbut IL, the brainchild of the Posen Foundation in conjunction with the Shalom Hartman Institute, the AVI CHAI foundation and the Center for Educational Technology, was unveiled on Tuesday night with the goal of “deepening pluralistic discourse in Israeli society in general and in the State education system in Israel in particular.”

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Speaking to The Jerusalem Post before the event, Daniel Posen explained that there was a dearth of resources for the study and teaching of Jewish culture.

Despite this, he maintained, the demand for cultural knowledge of the Jewish people is huge.

“The culture of Judaism and the Jewish people, which is thousands of years old, is fascinating, but many people are not interested in its religious trappings,” Posen said.

“Our job is that of a service provider for those who don’t find any interest in expressing their Judaism because they’re not religious.”

The purpose of the new website therefore is to strengthen knowledge of the history and development of Jewish secular culture, improve the image and relevance of such in Israel and provide a virtual home for the discussion, teaching and study of Jewish culture.

Some of the educational fields covered by the website include Jewish ethics, social justice, models of Jewish identity and secular, traditional and religious attitudes towards the relationship between morality and religion in Judaism.

Information on Zionism and Israel-Diaspora relations as well as the various affiliations in the Jewish world can be found on the site.

Speaking more broadly about the foundation, Posen explained that large parts of the secular Israeli public are “educationally impoverished” about Judaism and the culture of their people.

“The secular majority have to find ways to bring Jewish education to themselves,” he said.

“The majority of secular Jews have never been interested in rituals, so for those who combine intellectual interest with some cultural practices this is simply another avenue to explore for people who are not interested in structured Jewish organizations.”

Posen admitted that the approach of the website was very academic and would not satisfy the needs of someone looking for religious input, but insisted that there have been different approaches to Judaism throughout history and that the approach of his foundation constitutes an alternative path for those interested in it.

“For those interested in community, this will be an empty vessel for some. But religious structures have not been overly successful and many people opt out, or were never interested,” he explained.

“The attempt here is to capture the interest of those who have never been attracted to the religious aspect of Judaism.”

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