The “Everything” School
or The Un-University
or The Kahal school
or The Community School
or The Multiversity (ML)
Applying the Jewish model of learning and wisdom transmission to secular subjects.
- The Study of Human life: what works and what doesn’t work? Community, technology, polity, history. What are goals for human societies large and small? What produces happiness? What choices – of belief, communal forms, technologies, ideologies – lead to what outcomes?
- After studying here, the goal is for each student to have developed knowledge and skills to be a community builder and a revolutionary.
- The school is itself a community. For one-month periods we live together, learn together, work together on communal projects, and have consensus meetings about most matters of how the community works. We study and visit communities in Israel, especially the whole history and experience of Kibbutzim and Moshavim. What worked and what didn’t work, and for how long? Sharing food, money, housing, work, and to what extent? Agricultural or Industrial work? Raising children. Self-sufficiency. Trade with the outer world. Ideology/religion in the community? What was/is each kibbutz’ or moshav’s Mission? Solidarity, self-defense – is it fenced off literally or otherwise?
- We explore issues of religion and meaning (the schedule accomodates time for regular prayer, meditation, sunset watching, yoga, etc.; Israel is wealthy in every kind of spirituality, and teachers of all kinds are available) personal growth (support & workshops, retreat), gender (with certain gender-separate times for learning and support), politics (we welcome radical views from right and left, secular and religious, pro-settler or pro-Palestinian or anti-all-state-structures, etc.), power, interrelationship, authority, etc. … Students are encouraged to take advantage of the feasting and resting of the Jewish Sabbath, for some weekends as a communal meal in the school, and for some with host families, if they so choose.
- If you stay longer than the basic one-month unit you are encouraged to travel and be exposed to every color and flavor of life in Israel. Can be on your own or we have organized options (Derech ha Teva, MADA, Isralight, etc.)
How you learn can be as important as what you learn. Instead of the atomized, alienating forms of most western academic study, we take several models to create a learning environment more appropriate to bringing minds together to ask and answer questions in comprehensive, “true-cost”, holistic wasy. Models include:
- the Jewish talmudic and yeshiva system
- “hevruta” partnered intensive discussion of texts,
- the library is the loudest place
- multiple truths as opposed to the greek dialectic model
- a sense of purpose: we are all here to figure out how to fix the world.
- The Santa Fe Institute,
- California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS)
- Burlington College,
- Midreshet Ein Prat (a study program for Israelis w/secular AND religious learning and models)
- Deep Springs College,
- Tevel B’Tzedek (a program for young Israelis to learn and volunteer and teach in Nepal)
- wiki and other cooperative online forums,
- hands-on work with sustainability with an actual farm (cf. Havot Adam, Farm & Wilderness),
- “Gesher” (bridges) model of encounters between religious and secular,
- and the best of many other learning and educational worlds…
Each student (and teacher) is expected to create:
- A bookshelf of the books they each think should be required reading for all humans (can and should include everything from Chassidut to Calvin & Hobbes, from sci fi to how to, and anything else we don’t think of.)
- The school’s library will have ever-growing space for each student to leave his/her mark.
- A page or “daf” about a subject future students can learn from, laid out like gemara: all sides of a discussion literally going off on all sides of the page, hyperlinked and sourced, ready to be published as part of the “new jerusalem talmud”…
- A contribution—can be murals, sculpture, craft, building, websites, etc.—to the school.
- Israel is the best place in the world to study community.
- It’s the only place where communal living was experiemented with in a state-supported, non-coercive way over several generations.
- It’s the best place to study the history of settled community — going back to the very first ones 10,000 years ago. Even nomads — almost all humans outside of Africa migrated through here, Bedouins.
- Ingathering of the exiles has brought incredibly diverse and highly educated academics from every corner of the world.
Majors/Concentrations: [all lists are incomplete…]
- Daniel Quinn, Chellis Glendinning, Rav Kook, Derrick Jensen, John Zerzan,
- Malcolm Gladwell, Robert Godwin, Michael Talbot, Fritjof Capra, Susan Griffin,
- Bruce Chatwin, Marlo Morgan, Sun Tzu, Buckminster Fuller, etc.
- First-hand sources on Kibbutz, Moshav, yeshuv, shtetl, archaeology; site visits
- Israel is the best laboratory of Intentional community
- Pierre Clastres “Society Against the State”, Iroquois constitution, other American Indians
- Talmud, Rav Ashlag, Rav Kook, Herzl, other Jewish sources
- Hakim Bey “TAZ”, Pirate Utopias, etc.
- Fictional utopias: Ecotopia, PKD, Starhawk, Stephenson, etc.
- Bhutan’s “Gross National Happiness”
- Comparative definitions of purpose of life in different cultures and religions
- Jerry Mander, “In The Absence of the Sacred”
- Greil Marcus “Lipstick Traces”
- Jewish texts: Akiva Tatz, Rav Dessler, etc.
- Other religious texts: Seven Arrows, Upanishads, Confucius, Sufism, etc.
- Yigal’s farm, Mario Levy – Sde Eliyahu, Teva b’Tzedek, Eco-Activist-Beit-Midrash
- “Changes in the Land”, William Cronon.
- Marshall Sahlins “Stone Age Economics”
- Wendell Berry
- Evan Eisenberg.
- David Western, “In the Dust of Kilimanjaro”
- Subcategory: Food, nutrition, native/nonnative, wild/domesticated, different diets, etc.
- “True-cost” economics: Paul Hawken, Marylin Waring, etc.
- Faith-based economics: my essentials on how value is determined/decided/built
- Weber, Marx, etc.
- Frederick Soddy, Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen Ecological Economics
- Grace Llewellen, “The Teenage Liberation Handbook”
- Neil Postman, “Amusing Ourselves to Death”
- Medicine, Naturopathy, local herb knowledge, Jewish traditions
- Shofar-style group work
- Shiatsu, Reflexology, Osteopathy, Chinese medicine, etc.
- Seeking ways to integrate what is whole, healthy human life into the bigger picture
- “Dwelling” and other texts
- hands-on experimentation and experience
- cooperation/collaboration with teachers and students from Betzalel Architecture school and other architectural institutions.
- Archaeology: prehistoric, Hebrew, Roman, Crusader
- Today: “Old” cities, Arab and Jewish styles, stone, adobe, Earthships, cob, yurt, etc.
- Identity, tribalism, nationalism
- “Rites of Spring” Modris Ekstiens,
- “History of Modern China”, Jonathan Spence
- Thomas Sowell.
- Gibbon “Decline and Fall”,
- Harris “Cannibals and Kings”
- Identity, tribalism, nationalism
- “Homage to Catalonia,” Orwell.
- Firsthand meetings with radicals from Israel, America, Russia, France, etc.