(photo credit: Courtesy, Posen Foundation)
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
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.”
Speaking to The
before the event, Daniel Posen explained that there was a dearth
of resources for the study and teaching of Jewish culture.
he maintained, the demand for cultural knowledge of the Jewish people is
“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
Information on Zionism and Israel-Diaspora relations as well as
the various affiliations in the Jewish world can be found on the
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.
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
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
“The attempt here is to capture the interest of those who have
never been attracted to the religious aspect of Judaism.”