Are American Jews and Israelis drifting apart? Recognizing the importance of the connection between the world's two largest Jewish communities, American Jewish University established the Institute on American Jewish-Israeli Relations. Under the direction of Dr. Gil Ribak, the newly created Institute will both study and enhance the alliance between the American Jewish and Israeli communities. The Institute’s first event, Brothers and Strangers: The Ambivalent Relations Between American Jews and Israelis, was a lively panel discussion with U.S. and Israeli experts from the press and academia. The program was well attended, extremely informative, and hailed as a success.
Born and raised in Israel, Dr. Ribak served as an analyst in the Israeli Prime Minister's Office before earning a Fulbright Fellowship that sent him to pursue his doctoral studies in the U.S. Prior to joining American Jewish University, Dr. Ribak served as the Lewin Postdoctoral Fellow in American Jewish History at Washington University in St. Louis and the Schusterman Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Arizona. In 2011 Dr. Ribak was elected as a member of the Academic Council of the American Jewish Historical Society.
Dr. Ribak has many published articles about the Jewish perspective of other ethnic groups. His first book, published last year, Gentile New York, examines the images of non-Jews held by the early 20th Century Jewish immigrants. This year Dr. Ribak will be participating in several panels including the Association for Israel Studies' annual conference at UCLA. The focus of that discussion will be about how non-Orthodox Jewish American youth view Israel. One question to be addressed is why, when visiting Israel, some young people feel an attachment while others do not.
Are American Jews and Israelis drifting apart? At AJU we are trying to prevent that from happening.