The Jewish Lens

Through the universal medium of photography, the Jewish Lens engages Jewish youth in an exploration of identity, values, and peoplehood. This resources allows learners to explore their own lenses, their Jewish identity, and their personal connections to Israel. Below is a sample unit on peoplehood, a piece of the curriculum designed to actively engage students in learning about the values that are important in their Jewish communities.


The Israel Lens, a curriculum designed for use at camp, in a classroom, or as a pre- and post-Israel program for Israel experience participants.

Traveling to Israel for our participants is a once in a lifetime experience and can be difficult to explain to friends and family upon returning from Israel. How can you put into words your first experience at the Kotel or the magic of the Shuk on Friday afternoon? In order to give our participants a better way to tell their Israel story we incorporated a new curriculum called the “Israel Lens,” a project from renowned photographer Zion Ozeri, founder of The Jewish Lens.  This project helps teens understand the power of photography and gives them tools to tell their stories through pictures.

The following picture and story describes one of many from Shorashim 2010.

Photo by Kayla Kroot, a Shorashim participant

"When I took this photo, I did not realize that my reflection in the mirror was visible in the frame; I solely intended to capture the light of the candles, reflected thousands of times, to represent the Children of Israel. When I saw the photo, myself a part of it, I recognized the idea that we are the children of Israel; we are here to discover the land that is our home and that the people that surround us, not the sights, are what make Israel what it is. This photograph portrays me (and indirectly, the group) both as a tourist and not, simultaneously. The camera in hand shows that I am here to take a picture and move on, but by including myself, the picture demonstrates that I am a part of what surrounds me. Part of the goal of Shorashim is to connect to Israel in a way that makes us feel like we belong, that this is our home and that we are not tourists. To me, this photograph captures that message."

- Kayla Kroot​