Volume 17, 2012-2013 : Formal and Informal Jewish Education:
Lessons and Challenges in Israel and in the Diaspora

Leaving Home Together:
The Impact of Travel in Jewish Peoplehood Education for Israeli and American Teens

David Mittelberg,
Oranim Academic College of Education, Israel

Fern Chertok,
Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies, Brandeis University, USA

Dina Laron,
Oranim Academic College of Education, Israel

The connection between Jews in Israel and the United States is being reshaped by unprecedented global population movement concomitant with almost universal access to transnational communications. An emerging educational paradigm focuses on transnational Jewish peoplehood and the development of mutual understanding and appreciation of the unique contours of Jewish identity and life in Israel and the Diaspora. This paper utilizes data from a multi-year study of a secondary-level school twinning initiative to explore the impact of the program component of travel on student outcomes such as connections to peers, attachment to Israel or American Jewry, and feelings of Jewish peoplehood. The paper discusses dynamic tensions put in motion through travel within a peoplehood intervention. These include the balance between comfort and discomfort as teens navigate the disruption inherent in international travel, the juxtaposition of common heritage and significant cultural differences, and the exploration of multiple attachments to homeland, diapsora and peoplehood.

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