Yom Ha'atzmaut

How Have Jewish Ideas of “Home” Evolved?

Tal Becker, Angela Buchdahl and Dotan Arieli discuss how Jewish people imagine themselves being at home.
Dr. Tal Becker is a senior research fellow of the Kogod Research Center at Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem, where he leads educational initiatives on Israel and the Jewish world. In this capacity, he is a leading member of the Institute’s iEngage research seminar which produces the premier educational program on Israel engagement in North America, working to strengthen and re-imagine the relationship between Israel and World Jewry. Dr. Becker also serves as the Legal

Dotan Arieli

Angela Buchdahl

The Jewish people have moved in less than a century from a people with a consciousness of having no home, to a people that have two fully developed and robust homes – in Israel and in North America. This reality has profound implications for Jewish Peoplehood. These implications are only accentuated as the whole world is scrutinizing the concept of home under current social distancing or stay-at-home orders.

Watch these two lectures from Tal Becker and the iEngage research team. To deepen your engagement, we’ve gathered some questions below that can also be found here.

In this lecture, Tal Becker of the Shalom Hartman Institute’s iEngage research team examines the stories we have told about ourselves throughout history, and asks whether we need a new grand narrative, a new meta-story, of Jewish Peoplehood today. 


In this interview conducted by Tal Becker, two leading rabbis Angela Buchdahl (North America) and Dotan Arieli (Israel) unpack their own narratives of home. Both rabbis discuss their expectations of fellow Jews in the “other home.”

Questions To Consider:

For Tal Becker’s Lecture

  1. Are Jews in the current moment identifying more deeply with other Jews, who may be more distant, or with the people in their local communities and regions?
  2. What are some of the stories of Jewish identity and belonging that Jews can coalesce around, despite their differences in interests, cultures, political beliefs or customs?
  3. How does the global pandemic exacerbate the difference or close the distance between Jews in Israel and North America?

For Angela Buchdahl and Dotan Arieli’s conversation with Tal Becker

  1. Angela Buchdahl says that “home is the place where you can be fully realized” — and America is the place where she can be a female, Reform, Korean rabbi — serves that for her. What place serves that for you? What is your personal narrative of home?
  2. Dotan Arieli, a fifth generation Israeli, reflects on home as a feeling of being part of the land — almost as though she grew out of it. Her encounter with American Judaism laid bare a completely new and rich reality to which she had never previously been exposed. What surprises and challenges have you encountered in the “other home”?
  3. Are there particular moments where you have felt more at home or not at home in Israel? In America?
  4. How has your personal narrative of home changed as a result of COVID-19?
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