In Part One of the program the students got to understand the basic elements of Jewish community; to examine their own community critically, and to learn about their place and that of their family in it. While so doing they assessed their reactions towards their community and their place in it as Jews.
In Part Two, they examined and compared their community with two larger communities. Firstly they examined themselves with relation to another community in their own country and then learned their own national story as Jews living in a particular country. Secondly, they examined themselves in relation to a Jewish community in a different country and then examined the national story of that community. In the final exercise at the end of that process, they briefly examined their reactions and their feelings of connection towards the Jews in that other community. To what extent did they feel a sense of connection as they corresponded with or learned about those other Jews?
In Part Three, we take the process forwards, starting in the same place that we ended up last time, the question of connection to the larger Jewish world. In this part of the program, we will generally be examining some of the main issues throughout the modern Jewish world. In other words, we are adding our last and greatest circle to the picture that we are examining. In Part Four we will go on to examine the State of Israel and the students’ connection to it. Of course, Israel is part of the larger circle, but we are placing it last because of its special importance as a (or, possibly, the) key center in the Jewish world that requires special, separate treatment.
However, in Part Three we will deal with issues of the Jewish circle at its broadest: the Jewish world as a whole. As we deal with them, we must remember that a primary function of this program is not only to examine specific subjects, but also to assess the students’ connection with and attitudes towards what they are examining. For this reason we will start with the question of connection.