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Educators face new challenges created by the Israel-Hamas war

“We need to approach the conflict and not avoid it,” said Kara Rosenwald, director of global experiences and events at the Minneapolis Jewish Federation.

The iCenter convened more than 100 educators in Chicago for an intensive educational experience on Jan. 28-30, 2024. Credit: Courtesy.
The iCenter convened more than 100 educators in Chicago for an intensive educational experience on Jan. 28-30, 2024. Credit: Courtesy.

Amid new challenges and realities facing Israel and Jewish communities around the world, educators are seeking new skills and approaches to engage with the complexities around conflicts.

To meet this demand, The iCenter’s Conflict of Interest (COI) Certificate Program gathers educators from around North America to provide them with the necessary competencies to educate about conflicts in their unique educational setting.

“We need to approach the conflict and not avoid it. In our community, people are looking for insights and resources on how to address the conflict,” said Kara Rosenwald, director of global experiences and events at the Minneapolis Jewish Federation, and a participant in the COI program. “In conversations with neighbors, family and school districts, people are feeling helpless. The tools we are being given at COI are practical approaches, equipping us to go home and create conversational space and understanding for our community.”

She is also an alumnus of The iCenter’s graduate degree program in Israel at George Washington University.

The iCenter Educator Training
The iCenter convened more than 100 educators in Chicago for an intensive educational experience from Jan. 28-30, 2024. Credit: Courtesy.

From Jan. 28-30, The iCenter convened more than 100 educators in Chicago for an intensive educational experience.

More than ever, they are seeking to deepen their knowledge and gain tools to create an environment where students feel challenged yet comfortable sharing their own experiences and questions.

“Engaging with conflicts is one of life’s defining challenges, particularly for educators who are tasked with transforming these moments of uncertainty into moments of growth and learning,” said Anne Lanski, founding CEO of The iCenter. “The initial cohorts of COI reflect our dedication to developing educators with the knowledge and skills to facilitate learning with greater confidence and competence.”

Brad Mittelman, dean of students senior division at the Community Hebrew Academy of Toronto shared, “It’s all about perspectives and narratives. They are such an integral part of understanding our history and what brought us to this current junction, and we don’t always take the time to understand this. Attending COI has encouraged me to look at all of the different perspectives and actively seek out diverse narratives.”

Since its founding in 2008, The iCenter continues to support meaningful and enduring connections to Israel and Israelis by supporting the field of Israel education across North America. The COI Certificate program has been generously supported by the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies, Jim Joseph Foundation and Crown Family Philanthropies.

The iCenter Educator Training
The iCenter convened more than 100 educators in Chicago for an intensive educational experience from Jan. 28-30, 2024. Credit: Courtesy.
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The iCenter for Israel Education envisions a world in which every Jewish child develops a lifelong relationship with Israel. We are passionate people with dreams, interests, and beliefs. We care about Israel and Israelis. We are educators: rabbis, lay leaders, teachers, students, parents, teens and youth. Our work is across North America: in day schools, public high schools, summer camps, synagogues, youth groups, universities and beyond. Founded on these passions in 2008, The iCenter strives to transform the professional field of Israel education. We focus on the learners, helping them develop their identities and build relationships with Israel and Israelis. We also focus on the entire system, creating a dynamic ecosystem of passionate and knowledgeable educators, rich and nuanced content, and institutions centered around their learners. With these two approaches, The iCenter continually moves Israel education to the heart of Jewish life.
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