This year, in response to the tremendous display of interest, two seminars in Spanish for Jewish educators and community leaders were held for the first time – the first during the Israeli winter months (January 2011), and the second during the summer vacation (June 2011). The first seminar, which was tailor-made for the educators from South America, who are on vacation from school at that time of the year, boasted 43 leaders and educators from Chile, Argentina, and Spain. The second seminar was held, as it usually is, in June, which suited the educators from Central America, who are on vacation from school at that time of the year.
The teaching and educational leadership seminars are intended for teacher educators, teachers, leaders, and educators from Jewish communities in the Diaspora, and enable their participants to engage in the in-depth study of topics such as:
- The place of teachers and teacher educators in study planning;
- Tools and didactics for improving teaching;
- Jewish leadership from the Mishnaic period until the present;
- Jewish and Zionist identity.
The studies take place in trips to places in which salient events occurred, in experiential workshops (for instance, David Ben-Gurion’s leadership in Midreshet Sde Boker), in studies at The MOFET Institute with the best lecturers in the field, and in encounters with policy makers and contemporary leaders (a visit to the Knesset, a conversation with a government minister or a Knesset member, and so on). The reputation of the teaching and educational leadership seminar for Spanish-speaking communities precedes it, and alongside the intensive marketing, the fan effect works well; dozens of seminar graduates from Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador, and Chile serve as first-rate ambassadors for advertising the quality of the program and recruiting additional participants.
Certain parts of the seminars are plenary sessions, while other parts feature an activity that focuses on fields of the participants’ professional roles. The teacher educators and the teachers focus more on study planning, on their professional identity as teachers in the Diaspora, and on the acquisition of tools for improving their work, while the community leaders focus on topics of leadership and Jewish identity.
A loose translation of some of the participants' responses:
“Not only did the seminar meet our expectations, but it exceeded them! From the places in Israel that we got to know and in which we studied, to the outstanding lectures we heard at The MOFET Institute and all the activities that were cultural-educational in character – everything was at the highest level that can be expected.”
“I think that the seed you planted in every one of us will bear fruit. This is the responsibility and obligation of everyone who received such a concentrated and high level of training in such a short time: to disseminate and publicize all the knowledge and inner experience we received at The MOFET Institute to our schools and communities in order to improve our teaching work and to ensure that the connection to Judaism and Israel never ends.”
“In my opinion, it’s not enough to be born a Jew. For me it’s a choice – to be a Jew. And what I am bringing to my country now is the strength you gave us at The MOFET Institute in a renewed translation of our Jewish identity. Thank you!”