Gesher's Beit Midrash for the Media reaches beyond our targeted constituencies to senior Israeli journalists and writerswho are creating today's Israeli culture and agenda.
This program aims to produce a cadre of journalists and writers who are well-versed in traditional and modern texts, comfortable with diverse opinions, and able to convey the relevance of Jewish values to the modern world. Facilitated by a cross-denominational faculty, the Beit Midrash enables journalists and writers, many who have had little or no exposure to Jewish knowledge in the past, to tap into to their incredible cultural heritage as a resource to enrich their worldview.
In the Beit Midrash, participants study Jewish texts relating to security, economic, social and religious issues, so that they can be as knowledgeable about concepts in Judaism as they are in the spheres of economics, politics or literature. These individuals make countless decisions every day on which facts to ignore, which ones to emphasize and which way to shape a story. They are currently missing the “Jewish lexicon” to do so adequately. The stories these media figures present reach millions of people daily and the way in which they present these stories has a huge influence on Israeli society, and on the world at large.
The program consists of twenty participants from a broad range of backgrounds who work in both print and broadcast journalism. The religious and secular facilitators emphasize development of reading and analytical skills in an open and intellectual atmosphere of seeking to understand the role of Judaism in Israeli society in our times.
Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and we are already seeing the effects of the program. For example, Beit Midrash member, Assia Istoshina emigrated from Russia in 1989. She hosts a popular TV talk show on the Russian language RTV TV Station that broadcasts from Russia and airs to a global audience of seven million viewers. Assia, has begun to include a segment on the weekly Torah portion in her show.