there was a gaping hole in my education

"Growing up in the Conservative Movement, it felt like all of our discussions about Israel were completely absent of complexity or nuance. After 9 years of formal Jewish education, I barely understood that Palestine was a real place with real people. In 2005, I attended my 8th grade Israel trip, just months before Israel's disengagement from Gaza. And while I don't remember the details of the trip's curriculum, I know that it took years before I had a real understanding of the settlements, and it took many more years for me to begin to use the word occupation. While I have a lot of fondness for my Conservative community and the values it instilled in me, it feels like there was a gaping hole in my education about Israel/Palestine. I struggle with the emphasis that my synagogue and USY placed on social action/tikkun olam and their silence when it came to the injustices in Israel. We could wear shirts to Save Darfur but could not have an honest or nuanced conversation about what was happening in Israel. Only through my experiences of spending time in Israel with family and participating in programs outside of the Conservative Movement, such as Nesiya and an Israeli Mechina, did I begin to unravel to simplistic narrative I had learned. -Hannah Barg, Solomon Schechter Day School in St. Louis, Camp Ramah in Wisconsin, USY