A new subject, "Jewish Culture and Heritage," will be become part of the compulsory curriculum in the upcoming school year in Israel. Some 900 teachers will be trained to teach the subject in the fifth to eighth grades following a successful trial.
The new subject was initiated by Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar with the aim of strengthening the Jewish, Zionist and democratic values among students, as part of the objectives he declared upon taking office. The Education Ministry has begun to train special teachers for the program who will receive a diploma expanding their teaching license upon the completion of their training.
The training process will begin in the upcoming school year and will include 300 teachers. It will be completed within three years, with 300 new teachers undergoing training every year. The teachers' tuition fees will be funded by the Education Ministry.
Each class will dedicate two weekly hours to Jewish heritage. The program will include the study of the Jewish calendar and holidays, love of the land, Jerusalem, Diaspora Jews, Jewish motifs in State symbols, the Declaration of Independence and the weekly Torah portion. The studies will be held in the classrooms, but students will also visit museums and national parks and go on excursions across the country.
Studies and surveys conducted over the past few years have pointed to ignorance and lack of knowledge in basic concepts of Jewish culture and heritage among students. Education Ministry officials hope the new subject will help change this situation.