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Interview with Pinchas Avruch of Jewish Spirit-Ruach Yehudit

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Josh Broide

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Pinchas Avruch is the Director of Development for Ruach Yehudit (Jewish Spirit), an Israeli organization contracted by the Education Ministry to provide Jewish education in the secular Israeli public schools and forge the Jewish identity of the next generation of Israeli teenagers.

Jewish Spirit (Ruach Yehudit) provides pupils with a unique learning experience of Jewish culture and values. The program is currently working in over 60 schools across the country

A Problem of National Proportions

For the first few decades of the State of Israel, the Ministry of Education passionately backed the teaching of Jewish subjects in the nation’s schools. The goal was to instill a strong sense of Jewish identity and develop a generation of Israelis who would grow up as knowledgeable Jews.

Even the most secular schools maintained rigorous coursework in Bible (Tanach), Talmud and Jewish law (Halacha).

In recent decades this standard has crumbled. Today, the majority of secular schools in Israel no longer include any traditional Jewish content whatsoever.

As a result, most young secular Israelis lack even a basic understanding of Jewish culture, let alone the deeper, more inspiring ideas and tenets of Judaism. In such an environment, there is little reason to connect to the land of Israel or fight for its defense. Indeed, studies show that draft deferment has become a “fashionable trend” among secular Israelis.

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