Contrary to what was reported in an Atlanta Jewish Times editorial (“Our View: We Blew It,” March 10), I was very proud as the rabbi of Congregation Etz Chaim not to have “blown it” by bringing close to a minyan of students to attend to the Center for Israel Education’s first session at the Weber School.
As a synagogue, we have been very blessed over the years to have benefited from excellent educational curricula and professional training provided by CIE. That is why, despite its poor scheduling adjacent to the High Holidays, as a new rabbi in Atlanta I agreed with your sentiment that a workshop regarding Israel and anti-Semitism on campus was just what our teens needed to hear.
I gladly attended the first workshop alongside many teens enrolled in my senior seminar class.
Unfortunately, I did not insist that my teens return for the second and third sessions because the first session did not meet my expectations. Contrary to the highly informative final session that you describe in your editorial, which is what I hoped my teens would experience, much of the first session essentially boiled down to useful information for students interested in applying to Emory.
Professor Stein and the Emory admissions director who spoke no doubt provided helpful insights on general college admissions. However, I found that none of it was tailored to considerations specific to a Jewish student’s college application process.
I agree with your sentiment that the Center for Israel Education continues to be an indispensable gem in the city of Atlanta, and the community must do more to support it. I personally remain deeply impressed by the scope of CIE’s impact nationally and by its educators.
From your editorial, it sounds like subsequent sessions in this series were more worthwhile. Unfortunately, I also hope you can appreciate that after this first session disappointed, I was not going to insist that my students return for subsequent sessions.
— Rabbi Dan Dorsch, Congregation Etz Chaim, East Cobb