Dr. Horowitz's research revealed seven key areas of consensus among leading educators and stakeholders in Israel education today about the essential elements of good Israel education:
1. The goal of Israel education is to forge a relationship between the individual person and Israel, so that it becomes part of how a person thinks about him/herself as a Jew.
2. Israel is an integral part of Jewish education. Because Israel education is explicitly situated as an element in Jewish education, its stance is more explicitly Judaic than that of classical Zionist education.
3. Because Israel education seeks to promote identity outcomes, good Israel education is learner-centered, developmentally appropriate, ongoing and holistic. It involves multi-dimensional engagement with Israel in its many facets and dimensions.
4. The work of Israel education extends beyond schools to a wider range of educating agents—including parents and families, as well as others —in shaping the outlooks of the learner.
5. Israel travel and directly encountering Israelis are now viewed as essential to the enterprise of Israel education. Thus, there are two basic components: the part that takes place in the diaspora and the part that involves visiting Israel.
6. Israel education is viewed as more deliberate and planful, extending beyond "one-shot" efforts to include a life-long aspect.
7. Hebrew language attainment was viewed as a significant piece of the puzzle. More attention to Hebrew would be better.These points of consensus may seem somewhat obvious to educators or others who are focused on teaching about Israel to children and teens, but they have not been previously understood to be elements of a larger whole. Until recently, and in many places even today, parts of this list were taught but not the entirety. Dr. Horowitz also concluded six areas of recommendation on improving Israel education as a field from her research:
1. While it was widely recognized that educational travel to Israel is an integral part of Israel education, no one sees that alone as sufficing. In the face of a largely piecemeal approach up to now, all agreed that what is needed is to develop a sense of what coherent, planful, American-based Israel education would look like. What are the best ways of incorporating the variety of modalities now available into a coherent progression, tailored to different ages and stages and Jewish subcultures?
2. In contrast to a scattershot approach to Israel education employed in many Jewish educational settings, there is a need for a more deliberate, systematic approach that threads both experiential and intellectual learning throughout the curriculum over the years. This would be enhanced by community-wide strategies to enhance Israel education.
3. The American Jewish educational enterprise is sprawling, diverse, and hard to keep track of. The field would benefit from opportunities to learn about Israel education as it is practiced across the various Jewish educational settings and purveyors. Sharing this knowledge and thereby expanding the awareness of resources could help communities imagine and develop approaches to Israel education that suit their particular needs.
4. Opportunities for cultivating Israel educators amongst Jewish educators are essential to this enterprise. Over the years the number of Jewish educators coming to Israel during their professional lifespan has declined. There is a need for Israel education specialists as well as a renewed focus on deepening the understanding of, knowledge about and commitment to Israel among American Jewish educators.
5. There is a need for a clear and compelling conception of the role of present-day Israel in contemporary American Judaism. There is room for a serious and engaging people educationally regarding the meaning of Israel for Jews living in a very comfortable and powerful diaspora community. That would be a timely and significant and dynamic role for Israel education within the American Jewish community today.
6. There is a growing need for educators who are able to engage teens and adults in the ongoing flow of events involving Israel. Although it may seem that that these issues concern only adult learners and are not the main focus of Israel educators working with younger children, there has to be some recognition that educators themselves are affected by the contemporary context, as are the parents of the children. In light of the fact that American Jewish educational activities often influence the families and not only for the children who participate, it would be important to foster ways of addressing Israel education in the context of family education.In a nutshell, Dr. Horowitz's research tells us that we can better teach Israel by exposing our students to vibrant, engaging and knowledgable personnel and by presenting them a spectrum of views and persepectives through both intellectual and experiential mediums to contemplate as they learn in order to come to a personal conclusion and identification with Israel. This is similar to other findings about Jewish education overall in recent years - qualified and well-trained personnel who bring passion as well as knowledge to their work can improve the offering and impact of Jewish education exponentially. I am delighted by the findings of this study and glad to say that Pittsburgh has been moving to evolve our Israel education efforts at many levels of our community in line with these findings. I encourage anyone interested in how and why Israel is taught to American Jewish children to read this report; it is worth your time and the community's effort.