School Twinning-Gesher Chai Program
26 excited children embarked on a day's journey from their school on Kibbutz Tzora to the Diaspora Museum in Tel Aviv.
The children are part of the "Gesher Chai" program of Partnership 2000 Beit Shemesh-Mateh Yehuda-Washington-South Africa of the Jewish Agency and were fortunate to enjoy such a wonderful and enriching day. The aim of the day was to find out more about their Jewish Identity and to be exposed to life in the Diaspora.
The children will be connecting with King David School in Johannesburg, South Africa as part of this program. The children were accompanied by their English teacher, Howie Gordon and Dana Haberer, a parent of one the children on the class.
The day started with the children exploring their Jewish identity by sifting through different Jewish/Israeli symbols and attempting to define what makes them Jewish. Thereafter, the children had to deal with dilemmas facing Jewish children that live within non-Jewish communities in the Diaspora. It was nice to see the kids grappling with issues that they do not usually face on a day to day basis.These are issues that the children have not been exposed to within the realms of the school.
We hope that the connection that is establishing with the partner school in South Africa will allow the children to form a clearer picture of who they are, where do they come from and where are they going in their search for their own Jewish Identity.
Later on the kids were taken on a short tour of the museum as they were explained about the birth of Jewish communities in the Diaspora with an emphasis on the different synagogues that were in the different communities. The children were also exposed to an activity where they learnt about the origin of Jewish names throughout history.
A highlight was meeting "Donna Gratzia" (The richest woman in Portugal in the 1500's.) She told us about her life growing up as a Christian and when she was 12 years old, discovered that she was in fact Jewish. A fun day of learning about our Jewish Heritage was had by all the children.
The additional staff from the school who has been involved in the project are Sharon Shani - the school principal, Hava Migdal - vice principal and Tali Aharon - a parallel teacher. Hartuv Elementary is one of the five schools participating in the project: Hartuv High school, Japobitnsky Elementary, Uziel Elementary and Ein Karem High school
We would like to extend a big thank you to Partnership 2000, the staff of the Diaspora Museum and my school colleagues (Sharon, Chava and Tali) for all their hard work and for allowing this trip to happen.