A recent study commissioned by the Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies found that young American Jews are feeling increasingly alienated from Israel. Responding to this trend, a new worldwide course aims to create a spiritual bond between participants and the State of Israel.
The Rohr Jewish Learning Institute's "The Land and the Spirit: Why We All Care About Israel" will allow participants the chance to discover a personal connection to Israel, explained Rabbi Aryeh Weinstein, the adult-education director for Lubavitch of Bucks County.
Young people don't feel attached to Israel, not having lived through the post-Holocaust era or the events of 1948, when the state was established, he said. To help attract this age group, he said that the course's fee will be waived for people under 35.
"Young American Jews don't have the connection their parents have with the Holy Land," said Rabbi Yossi Kaplan of Chabad Lubavitch of Chester County. But "all Jews are connected to Israel."
The six-week course will be offered at several locations in the area, including Chabad Lubavitch of Bucks County, Chabad Lubavitch of Chester County, Chabad Lubavitch of Montgomery County, Chabad of the Main Line, Congregation B'nai Abraham, and the law firm of Spivak and Spivak in Philadelphia.
The classes are open to men and women of all ages, including teenagers, said Weinstein.
Lubavitch of Bucks County will also hold a women's-only course.
The course will also be offered at the Chabad Center in Cherry Hill, N.J.
Classes are to be held one evening a week. The course begins in Greater Philadelphia the week of Oct. 28 and runs through December.
Topics for debate and discussion will include the philosophy behind a Jewish state and why the land of Israel is integral to the Jewish mission, explained Weinstein.
He added that the course will delve into the long history of the Jewish people, as well as "the soul of Israel."
To learn more, call 1-800-YOUR-JLI or 610-971-9977, or log on to: www.myjli. com.