Jewish Spirit – an Experiential Jewish Identity Program in Israeli Schools

Published: 
2012

Source: Jewish Spirit

 

Since its establishment in 2006, Jewish Spirit (Ruach Yehudit) has become Israel's largest and leading educational program in the field of Jewish identity. The central goal of the program is experiential learning of basic Jewish values through emphasis on the Zionist dimension and the relevance of Jewish values to modern society. The Jewish Spirit staff is comprised of young academics, trained in Jewish philosophy and culture, who work in full collaboration with the schools’ professional staff. The program is currently working in over 60 schools across the country.

 

Each participating class is given one hour a week of Jewish Spirit. During this hour, each class is subdivided into three parts with a separate teacher for each group. These small groups insure a close and meaningful relationship between the Ruach Yehudit teacher and each student within the group.

 

The program content was written specifically for Ruach Yehudit and includes experiential learning units which provide enjoyment as the student learns. The program employs diverse enrichment activities – art, drama, discussion and debate – based on lessons drawn from the wisdom of Jewish texts as well as day trips to sites of Jewish history and culture. The feedback from bi-annual evaluations indicates that the students are very satisfied with the program and many of them write that they very much look forward to the Ruach Yehudit weekly hour.

 

The program enjoys full coordination with, and the cooperation of, the Israel Ministry of Education. For each school in which the program is taught, there is a process of coordinating expectations with the school's administration and educational staff, thus taking into account the specific needs of each school according to the educational level of its students or its special character.

 

For areas in which there is a high percentage of Olim, the Ruach Yehudit program is operated with the cooperation of the Ministry of Absorption as well.

 

Last year, Ruach Yehudit worked with the World Zionist Organization to develop educational programs on the subject of Zionist values. As a part of this cooperation, a textbook on the Ethics of the Fathers was published, titled “From the Ethics of the Fathers to the Fathers of Zionism". This book is being used this year as part of the eighth grade curriculum in Israel.

Updated: Feb. 08, 2012
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