Three local Jewish educators have very specific goals for their upcoming trip to Modi’in, our Partnership 2000 community in Israel, this fall. All are participants in the Partnership’s Education Bridge, pairing educators in Jewish Rochester with educators in Modi’in.
Nicole Ureles,who teaches religious school at Temple Sinai, feels that in order for Israel to become real to her students, they need tactile representations -- such as photos and videotape. "I can describe what it’s like," she says, "but they don’t get it." Nicole also feels that making a connection herself will help her to interpret Israel to the children.
The Education Bridge, which includes 25 pairings between the two communities, has been in effect for one year. Some classrooms have exchanged holiday goodies or letters; in other pairings, it’s the teachers who have shared ideas. One thing’s for sure; giving educators the opportunity to actually visit each other’s communities and meet the people involved is likely to have a powerful impact.
A group of educators from Modi’in will visit us during Sukkot in October and our group, which includes Nicole,Amy Ressel and Lou Spiro (Gene Spiro, also an educator, will accompany Lou), in addition to Jewish Education Services Director Jan Katz, will travel to Israel later in the fall.
Amy Ressel describes the anticipation of going to Israel, in her case for the first time. "For a Jew, it’s the ultimate experience." As to her stance as an educator, "My personal feeling is that the best way to grow as a teacher is to exchange ideas with other teachers. What do Israeli teachers think we should be teaching?"
Lou Spiro, who teaches at Temple B’rith Kodesh, wants his 6th graders to have a clearer picture of their peers in Israel and for the Israeli teens to understand what it means to be a Jew in the US. His class’s partnership with 6th graders at Modi’in’s Dorot School is well underway and he wants to help his students further these important relationships.
How will these in-person visits help span the Bridge? We’ll let you know.