Our Favorite Content From 2020 (So Far)

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During Elul, we are taking a look back at some of the major recent stories that affected Israel and the Jewish world. From the UAE Deal and the pandemic to Seth Rogen and DeSean Jackson to fights for racial justice, 2020 so far has been nothing short of remarkable. Here are 10 highlights from our content over the past few months.

  1. “Deal of the Century” 
    Back in January, U.S. President Donald Trump presented his plan for Israeli-Palestinian peace alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House. We uncovered key points from the plan and reactions from multiple sides of the debate.

  2. Minorities and Music in Israel
    The singer Eden Alene became the first Israeli of Ethiopian descent chosen to represent Israel at the Eurovision Song Contest. We told Alene’s story because in order to understand Israeli society, you need to get to know the music

  3. How to Build Resilience in the Age of COVID-19
    In a cover story for the Jewish Journal, Dr. Noam Weissman looked at the DNA of resilience, and what the haggadah can teach us about the resilience and grit we all need during the coronavirus pandemic.

  4. The Mossad
    Israel’s intelligence agency, the Mossad, has played a disproportionate role in helping Israel fight the coronavirus. We unpacked this iconic/legendary/controversial (depending on your perspective) institution, including its most famous operations.

  5. Confronting Racism: The Role of Jewish Education 
    With the killing of George Floyd and the subsequent protests around the world, we focused on the role of Jewish education in the fight for racial justice. How do we facilitate this important conversation with our students?

  6. Israel and Iran
    With the release of the popular Israeli TV series “Tehran” and rising tension between the two countries, we told the fascinating story of how Israel and Iran went from friends to archenemies. We also unpacked the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, what Israelis thought about the deal then, and what they think now.

  7. DeSean Jackson and #JewishPrivilege
    After antisemitic remarks made by professional athletes DeSean Jackson and Stephen Jackson and actor-entertainer Nick Cannon, we surveyed responses to these comments and how Jewish users successfully flipped the hashtag “#JewishPrivilege” on Twitter.

  8. Seth Rogen
    In response to Rogen’s comments that he was “fed a ton of lies about Israel” and the Jewish state “makes no sense,” we argued this can serve as an awakening to improve Jewish and Israel education.

  9. Israel-UAE Deal
    Was the historic normalization agreement between Israel and the UAE the real “deal of the century”? We unpacked how the deal happened, reactions from around the world, and what this means for the future of Israel and the Middle East.

  10. Eilat Gang Rape
    After the gang rape of a 16-year-old girl in Eilat, thousands of Israelis gathered across the country to protest against sexual violence and call for change. What will it take to end sexual violence against women and girls?

(Virtual) Classroom Tips:

  1. Divide your students into groups and give them the opportunity to choose any topic from 2020 (so far) that interests them and to present on that topic.
  2. Choose one of the Weeklys to engage your students with and utilize the classroom tips included at the end of the piece.
  3. Ask your students to rank these 10 events in order of importance and explain their ranking rationale.
  4. Ask your students to do some of their own research (or you can send them some of the Weeklys as PDFs) to reflect on what this year has meant so far to Israel and the Jewish people. They can produce a written response or a video recording using flipgrid. They should reference at least three major events in their reflections.

Noam Weissman

Dr. Noam Weissman is Senior Vice President at OpenDor Media. He leads the education vision and implementation at OpenDor Media with a special focus on the development of meaningful content and resources for students and educators. He holds a doctorate in educational psychology from USC with a focus on curriculum design.

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