Meitarim, Network for Inclusive Jewish Education
The Meitarim Network for Inclusive Jewish Education offers Israeli children and young adults a pluralistic educational experience. Meitarim creates and operates educational institutions from kindergartens through post-high school leadership programs, designed to forge partnerships across the different sectors of Jewish society and to produce adults who are critical thinkers, equipped to define the meaning of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state. Founded in 2001 by former Knesset Member and Minister Rabbi Michael Melchior, Meitarim educates Jewish children in religiously pluralistic, coeducational frameworks in which students from different backgrounds learn together about both their common Jewish heritage and universal values. Together, they explore the particular and the universal in Judaism, study Jewish content built upon the Jewish bookshelf, Jewish memories and Jewish values, and develop a vision of common purpose for the future of the state and people of Israel. Meitarim, which in Hebrew means the "strings" of a musical instrument, believes that only when multiple strings are played together as a chord, can harmonious music be created. Students from a wide variety of backgrounds come together, listen to each other and combine their voices in harmony. Students come from an array of religious and ethnic backgrounds and include native-born Israelis and new immigrants, as well as students from high and low socioeconomic classes. The pluralistic, inclusive Meitarim schools also integrate students with intellectual and physical disabilities into mainstream classrooms, benefitting not only students with special needs but also instilling values of tolerance, sensitivity and acceptance in their typically-developing peers.