For 10 days, 57 Teach For America corps members will explore Israel’s education and social justice systems, gain exposure to top Israeli leaders and thinkers, and uncover and recommit to the values that drive their passion for public service. Follow along on their REALITY Israel Experience!
The last leg of our journey was truly amazing. We spent Thursday morning at a school in Jerusalem with students and teachers from a variety of alternative Israeli schools: The Rogozin-Bialik school in Tel Aviv, recently featured in the Academy Award-winning documentary, “Strangers No More,” whose students come from 48 countries around the world; the Du Leshoni School in Jerusalem, made up of Jewish, Arab and Christian students; and the Keshet School in Jerusalem, made up of both secular and religious Jewish students.
We also heard from a panel of esteemed educators and administrators, including a school superintendent, the principal of the Du Leshoni and Keshet Schools, and an educator at the Rogozin School. The chance to interact with students and teachers from such a wide spectrum of backgrounds and perspectives was inspiring and invigorating.
We then had the opportunity to meet with our counterparts participating in Teach First Israel (one of 19 parallel programs to Teach For America around the world under the Teach For All banner) and educators from the Youth Renewal Fund. We discussed shared challenges, learned from each other and felt the power of being part of an international movement. (Read Teach First Israel Members Team Up with US Colleagues)
It was at this encounter we met one of the philanthropists who made REALITY possible: Lynn Schusterman, chair of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation. Lynn is as personable and warm as she is passionate about empowering young Jews to make the world a better place. We ended the day with dinner outside in a lovely garden.
On Friday we confronted one of the most important and challenging elements of the story of Israel and the Jewish people. We began with an enthralling talk by 82-year-old Holocaust survivor Eliezer Ayalon who shared his story and conveyed his commitment to ensuring that our world will be full of sweetness and not of cruelty and destruction. We then visited Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust memorial museum, which served as an educational and emotional reminder of the worst and the best of humanity.
We spent our afternoon on Friday reflecting and preparing for our last Shabbat in Israel. We toured parts of the Old City of Jerusalem, creating our own moving service to welcome Shabbat, and then visited the Western Wall, the holiest Jewish place in the world. The evening ended with a festive Shabbat dinner with Lynn.
Saturday was a relaxing but bittersweet day, knowing how much we still wanted to do but that we soon would be saying goodbye. With some more touring, thinking about our future professional and personal lives, group celebrations and a closing dinner, we ended this piece of a journey we all expect to last long into the future.
- REALITY in the News
- Teach For America and Teach First Israel Join Forces to Build a Global Movement to End Educational Inequity
- A Story in the Tapestry: Crossing Boundaries
- 58 Teach For America Corps Members to Visit Israel!
- Celebrating Shabbat with Teach For America!
- 2011 MLK Day of Service: Our Project in Pictures!