In Part One of the program the students examined their own community, assessed it and appraised their feelings and reactions towards it. In effect, they drew a series of three circles, with the circle of their own identity in the middle, surrounded by circles of family and identity. Not only did they place themselves in the framework of their family, but also their family and its story was placed and anchored firmly within a community context.
In Part Two, the students will add another circle to the three already mentioned: that of the ‘national’ community, i.e. the circle of all the Jews living in the particular country or nation in which where the individual Jewish community is situated. Having done this, they will have a picture of their own community within the wider national context, defined by the political borders of the country in which they live.
Let us make ourselves clear. The use of the words ‘nation’ or ‘national’ to describe the Jews who live in a particular locality is not ideological. We do not intend here to raise the question as to whether the Jews are a nation or a religion. We will deal with this in a later part of the program. In this instance, then, we simply mean the Jews who live within a particular national, political, geographical entity, such as France or Argentina, though it may or may not be our nation.
The next step of the project will be to establish contact with someone from a Jewish community in a different national context, and to compare notes, before learning the national community story of the country in which the other person is situated. For the first time, the personal circle will be stretched to examine whether Jews from other countries should be accommodated in the set of circles mentioned earlier, and what this may mean. This will serve as a prelude for Part Three of the program whose subject will be the entire modern Jewish world.