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PDI Cohort 2

Posted on 07/21/2011 @ 11:15 AM

Israel Seminar 2011 Blog

Tuesday, July 20, 2011

As a member of the second cohort for PDI, I have been looking forward to this seminar pretty much since I started this program. For the first official day of the seminar, this was terrific. It was so meaningful to start the entire seminar in Jerusalem; the city almost every visitor to Israel looks forward to seeing. The day started off with a great pedagogical experience. Roberta Bell -Kligler (one of our faculty )facilitated a program in which we looked at about 20 different pictures taken by a famous Israeli photographer ( Alex Levac) and all his photos portrayed different aspects of Israeli society. We all had to choose a picture that stood out for us. This was a great beginning program because the conversations were interesting and we all learned a bit more about Israeli society.

The day went on with us having a great discussion about what the land of Israel meant for us based on several articles we read. The discussion took place at Hebrew University on Mt. Scopus overlooking the Old City. The most meaningful discussion for me took place after lunch. We discussed the concept of the “holy” and why we consider places to be “holy”. This was quite a controversial question to ask; especially on the first day. The group seemed hesitant to answer. I believe it was because we didn’t know how to answer or some people didn’t feel comfortable answering the question. But I can for certain say it got me thinking a lot about the concept of holiness and how I view things as holy. For example, I wear a kippa when I am in Jerusalem as a sign of respect because I believe Jerusalem is a holy city. After the discussion today though, I started thinking if Jerusalem is not inherently holy, but was designated holy by man many, many years ago, then why should I wear the kippa. Although this thought scared me a bit, it also made me look forward to other great discussions later in the trip.

This truly was a great start to the seminar and I cannot wait for the next 13 days. I sincerely hope it doesn’t go by too fast.

- Ben Kozberg

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