Israel and American Jews: Cultural Ties and Tensions, Part 2

In the second half of a conversation recorded June 16, 2021, during the 20th annual Enrichment Workshop on Modern Israel held by CIE and the Emory Institute for the Study of Modern Israel, people involved in education at various levels respond to former American Jewish Committee official Steven Bayme’s thoughts about the differences between the world’s two largest Jewish populations.

Amy Robertson, the education director at a Conservative synagogue outside Atlanta, addresses the importance of supporting students’ encounters with the many facets of Israel and of ensuring that young Jews find connections and have a voice in Israel.

Jay Schaefer, a recent Harvard Law grad and Emory alumnus, addresses the problems for Jews trying to maintain support for Israel while claiming a place in progressive spaces. He also sees a positive side to American Jews breaking out of elite bubbles in the Northeast.

Jackie Weiss, a recent Emory grad entering Emory Law School, speaks about changes in campus activism around Israeli-Palestinian issues and the response in the larger Jewish community and about how misunderstandings and misperceptions about Israel can divide American Jews.

Bayme’s response to the responses includes concerns about assimilation in the United States and the importance of Israel doing its part by not making Israel a partisan issue in U.S. politics and not dismissing non-Orthodox Diaspora Jews as part of the Jewish people.

CIE’s founding president, Ken Stein, synthesizes and summarizes the important points while moderating the 39-minute-plus discussion.