The TALMA Reality: Working Hand in Hand

  • Team Schusterman

August 13, 2015

In partnership with Schusterman and the Steinhardt Foundation, Israel’s Ministry of Education started TALMA in order to offer students a rigorous and fun summer learning opportunity to improve their skills in English. Schusterman's REALITY Community members joined forces with Israeli educators to teach in schools throughout northern Israel. 

Saadya Oseary, a TALMA teacher, shared the remarks below at the close of the TALMA program. 

My name is Saadya Oseary. I'm 30 years old, and I live in the north with my wife and three kids. I work as an English and geography teacher at HOTAM - Teach for All in Israel, at the town of Hatzor Haglilit. 

For many years, the 11th month of public education in Israel was a dream out of reach; now, for the second year, it is a reality for so many people who had hoped it would come true.

It's my second year at TALMA, and I've witnessed how is has become the perfect solution for so many:

For parents, struggling to juggle between work and parenting; for kids, having way too much time during their summer vacation; and for the Jewish "bond" between all Jews around the world, working together to keep the next generation of Israel's children educated and successful.

During the past few weeks, I've seen so many great moments "made in TALMA":

I've seen Omer, a third grader who was terrified of English studies, being given a safe space and the fair chance to try, despite his mistakes, to count, to write and to feel proud of and confident in his skills. We were there for him!

I've seen Adi's mother approach me on the last day of school, totally thrilled by what she has seen. She said she expected TALMA to be a "good babysitter," not imagining that her daughter would achieve such progress. It allowed her to send her to school every morning, without having to worry about how or where or with whom she spends her day.

I saw this through my own eyes and my own feelings as an Israeli co-teacher.

We Israelis know how every summer, we expect something to happen...Last year, we had to deal with "Operation Protective Edge." It was quite insane, to teach normally while a war was taking place outside, and many teachers and parents, including Alon (the Director fo TALMA) himself, were being called for duty. Looking back, I remember thinking to myself how lucky our students were to have us around, to come to school each day and be able to go through it together, rather than stay stressed at home.

This summer, some voices were heard in the Israeli media talking about the Israeli-American relationship. Some of them were worried about its future, due to the Iranian agreements.

Every day I had to walk this distance between the newspaper headlines, all the way to reality here at TALMA, which represented the exact opposite.

Reality was us working hand in hand with American teachers who had come to volunteer. They traveled from a great distance, gave up their own summer vacations, and became deeply involved in the most sensitive and precious issue in Israel - not its economy, not national security or the army, but education!! And that is not something to take for granted.

This is what I would like to tell you, on behalf of all those parents, all those children, and all of us: how grateful we are. Thank you!! It would never have been anything this amazing without each one of you!

Thanks to all who were involved in making this happen, and for giving me the privilege to be part of this.

The Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation is proud to empower emerging leaders to explore their values, identity and new ways to strengthen their communities. We believe that as we work together to repair the world, it is important to share our diverse experiences and perspectives along the way. We encourage the expression of personal thoughts and reflections here on the Schusterman blog. Each post reflects solely the opinion of its author and does not necessarily represent the views of the Foundation, its partner organizations or all program participants.