Israel Guide for Parents

Stay Informed.

  • Read and listen to different perspectives. Seek multiple sources of information. Attend lectures and special events. Be wary of unsubstantiated information and propaganda. The more you know, the better you will be able to help your child.
  • Key news sources from Israel:

  • Rabbi Bronstein’s suggested sources for news about Israel:

  • The BAS Israel Committee recommends you check out ISRAEL21C - a one-of-a-kind organization showing people across the globe a completely different side of Israel than that traditionally portrayed in the world's press: the reality of daily life… beyond the conflict. The web address is www.israel21c.com
  • For short news articles, videos, and personal accounts go to: http://www.jewishfederations.org
  •  For relatively easy-to-understand information about the Middle East read Mitchell Bard’s The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Middle East Conflict, 4th Ed. (Alpha, 2008).
  • Anti-Defamation League has a variety of articles about Israel from history to current events.
  • If you hear or read news that seems inaccurate (or if your child brings home a faulty statement made by another adult), check the facts or the conclusions drawn and then correct the misinformation. Older children can do this research with you (check especially http://HonestReporting.com).

Help your child respond.

  • Pay attention to what your child knows and asks, then build your conversation from there. If you are stumped, consider using reflective questions (“what do you think?” “why do you ask that?” etc.); these will help you better understand your child’s thinking so you can offer a targeted response. The following starters may help you open the conversation:

    • Have you heard about Israel in the news recently? I’d like to talk about what has been happening there this week.
    • Sometimes scary things happen in our world. These events are not happening in America, but I want you to hear about this because it is something I am thinking about right now…
    •  I know you are hearing us worry about Israel, and I want to talk about some of what the children in Israel are experiencing…
    • You know Israel is so important to our family and right now there are some special things we can do to help Israel. Let’s talk about what is going on and how we can help.
      Source: Lookstein Center for Jewish Education
  • Help your child learn to

    • Listen carefully
    • Bring to you, to a rabbi, cantor or Jewish educator, any information that is confusing or possibly incorrect.
    • Learn to respectfully correct any misinformation.
  • Your child does not have to feel like “THE” spokesperson for the Jewish People, and may actually choose to not respond during the situation. But s/he should learn to bring any issues to someone for further clarification and understanding.
  • Just as we support the U.S. and advocate for justice issues in the U.S., we can support Israel and advocate for justice issues in Israel.

Advocate.

  • Learn how to help your family become an effective advocate for Israel.

    • Practice short, simple responses. Think in terms of “sound bytes” or metaphorical “elevator conversations” (to-the-point-statements that could be delivered between the time of stepping on and then off an elevator).
    • Write letters, faxes, e-mails and make phone calls to elected officials.
    • Check out T'ruah which advocates for human rights in the U.S. and in Israel.

Connect your family to Israel.

  • Speak about Israel regularly at the dinner table or in the car.
  • Bring books, music, photos/pictures, apps and videos about Israel into your home or car. Have family night & enjoy!
  • If you have relatives or friends in Israel, include your children when you call or write to say “hello.”
  • Support Israeli businesses: www.shopinisrael.com  
  • Plan a family (or even adults-only) trip to Israel.
  • Go to http://betamshalom.org/teentrips to see a variety of teen trips to Israel.

Give.

  • Aleh is Israel’s largest and most advanced network of residential facilities for children with severe disabilities.
  • Birthday-angels.org provides birthday parties for children in need in Israel.
  • CHAI and Hakol Chai prevent and relieve animal suffering in Israel and elevate consciousness about animals through education.
  • Friends of Israel Defense Forces initiates and helps support social, educational, cultural and recreational programs & facilities for the young men and women soldiers of Israel who defend the Jewish homeland. The FIDF also supports the families of fallen soldiers.
  • The Good People fund supports the work of good people who are doing tikkun olam.  To find out more, including videos, about charitable organizations in Israel click here
  • Etgarim is an Israeli organization that works for the empowerment and social integration of people with special needs through the challenge of outdoor sports.
  • Hadassah
  • Israel Guide Dog Center for the Blind improves the quality of life of blind people by providing them with safe mobility, independence and self-confidence through the faithful assistance of guide dogs.
  • Israel National Therapeutic Riding Association (intra.org)in Tel Aviv teaches equine skills and horseback riding to people with a variety of disabilities as a successful method of therapy.

Source for most of this guide: Jewish Education Center of Cleveland

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