US/World News

Jewish educators offered free trip to Israel

NEW YORK – For the first time, Jewish educators who work in complementary (part-time) Jewish education will have the opportunity to spend 10 all-expenses-paid days in Israel, thanks to Taglit-Birthright Israel: Shorashim-Teacher Trek, a program created with the help of the Partnership for Effective Learning and Innovative Education (PELIE). Included are educators who instruct children out of their homes, assist on weekend retreat programs and lead local JCC groups.
For the first time ever, exceptions to the Taglit-Birthright Israel age limit of 26 will be made for teachers up to age 29. North American Jewish educators who work in complementary (part-time) settings, ages 18 to 29, who have not yet been to Israel on a peer trip, are invited to register for the trip, which is tentatively scheduled for mid-June 2011. Forty teachers will be selected to travel with a small group of Israeli counterparts.
Educators will meet leaders who are shaping the country today. From a meeting with residents of the Golan, to Bedouin hospitality in the desert, from the liveliness of Tel Aviv, to the diversity and spirituality of Jerusalem, the group will experience the history, the vibrancy and the challenges of modern Israel. They will engage in a “green” community service projects and hike in historic areas. The goal is to infuse educators with a love for Israel, which they can share with their students, bringing them a more balanced and whole perspective of the country that is often seen primarily from a political perspective.
“We will work with the educators so they can transfer all they experienced and felt in Israel back into their classrooms,” said Adena Raub, a former Jewish educator who is now PELIE’s information manager. “Teachers will feel a connection and a sense of belonging with Israel as a country, its people and its traditions, which will shape and enrich their work as teachers. Teacher Trek will create a ripple effect. Going to Israel transformed the way I taught about the country, the Hebrew language, and even the Jewish holidays. For example, many holidays revolve around the seasons and the planting cycle of the land in Israel. Once a teacher understands this cycle by seeing the land, he or she can’t help but teach the lessons of the Jewish holidays with a new mindset.”
Once back in the States, PELIE will work with the educators to form an online community among the teachers who traveled together and may hold events that will enable the teachers to share ways they have brought Israel to their students and their students’ reaction to the lessons.
For more information or to register, visit or call (312) 267-0677.

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