Most trips to Israel include the sights, sounds, and tastes of the Jewish state. This past December, three local educators experienced so much more on their journey. The 2019 Partnership2Gether Educators Delegation sent 23 people (including Margaret Borrego, Jason Cathcart, and Edna Rubenstein) from all over the southeast to experience Israel through the eyes of educators. The group of early childhood educators, administrators, Jewish day school teachers, synagogue educators, and college professors traveled throughout the Hadera-Eiron region.
The first few days of the trip were during Chanukah, each American educator was matched up for home hospitality with a local Israeli educator. Shabbat was experienced through the eyes of local families. Since it was vacation time for Israeli schools, American and Israeli educators spent time together discovering Jerusalem. They had an inside look at museum education at the Bible Lands Museum, the complexities of the Holocaust were presented through the lens of Yad Vashem (World Holocaust Remembrance Center), and nature took center stage at the Rothschild memorial gardens of Ramat Hanadiv.
As Chanukah ended, the focus of the trip turned to local schools in the Hadera-Eiron region. Teachers from Haklai High School in Pardes Hanna presented methods of project-based learning that they implement every day in class. The students of Katzir Elementary school showed off their organic projects, including an amazing caterpillar farm. At Hadera High School, students from robotics, design lab, and entrepreneur classes explained how their education is impacted by the amazing resources the school provides them.
It was a unique trip that provided our Greensboro teachers plenty to think about as they returned. Continuing the people-to-people connections will ensure a better understanding of Jewish identity for both the American and Israeli educators. Note: Edna has already made connections with an Israeli educator who teaches English and will be doing some “pen pal” type communications with her elementary Hebrew classes. Margaret is facilitating a connection between some Israeli teachers and our school about gardening and permaculture.
Partnership 2Gether was established in 1994 by the Jewish Agency for Israel as a program focused on people-to-people interaction, community, and leadership. P2G, for short, currently connects approximately 550 Jewish communities in the Diaspora with 46 Israel Partnership areas. B’nai Shalom is a part of the Hadera-Eiran-SE consortium which consists of 11 cities in the Southeast U.S. and Prague. This allows us not only to connect with Israeli’s but with other small to intermediate-sized southern Jewish communities.