Wednesday, January 21, 2015

YBA Rosh Yeshiva: “Political tolerance is a fundamental Jewish value.”


Israel is going to the polls on March 17th to elect its representatives to the country’s 20th Knesset. As part of the YBA network’s efforts in Training Israel’s Future™, we encourage our schools to host debates that are purposefully inclusive of multiple political perspectives.

For example, as part of their preparation for the matriculation exams in Civics, the 12th grade classes at YBA Lapid Torat Nachum and its sister school in Modiin, Ulpanat Orot Modiin, hosted a political debate last week on the subject of “Individual Rights vs Societal Rights.”

Panelists MK Elazar Stern and MK Rabbi Eli Dahan
(both graduates of YBA Netiv Meir) 
To make sure all sides of the political spectrum, from Right to Left, would be represented, the students invited Members of Knesset from 4 different political parties to present their views: MK Rabbi Eli Dahan (Bayit Yehudi), MK Moshe Gafni (Torah Judaism), MK Elazar Stern (Hatnua), and MK Dr. Laura Warton (Meretz). The head of ‘Peace Now’ in Israel, Yariv Oppenheimer, was also invited, and the panel was moderated by the students themselves.

The students were also motivated by the desire to increase the public dialogue between differing political camps in the city, so they made the debate a city-wide event by inviting their 12th grade cohorts from the two secular high schools in Modiin.

“The purpose of education is to open one’s mind, not to close it,” commented the school’s Rosh Yeshiva, Rabbi Shmuel Rosenbloom, “We believe that character development includes getting to know and dialogue with other types of citizens who don’t share your outlook or opinions. Political and civil tolerance is a fundamental Jewish value.”

YBA Lapid Torat Nachum Rosh Yeshiva,
Rabbi Shmuel Rosenbloom, introducing the panel members
Approximately one hundred YBA alumni have filled Knesset seats since the founding of the State.  Sixteen YBA graduates were elected to the 19th Knesset in the last national elections held two years ago. It is quite possible that this record number will be surpassed when the vote-counting for the 20th Knesset is completed on March 18.




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