The principal of Mayanot, Amir Eisenberg, and Teacher Idit Fux visited their twinned school, Friedel School in Omaha Nebraska, as part of the Hanukah 2010 educational delegation.
During their visit, the Israeli team developed new educational programs for the upcoming years in collaboration with Friedel teachers. "The personal contact with the Friedel staff is the secret of the successful relationship between both schools," said Amir and Idit upon returning to Israel.
Both schools are encouraging the continuous correspondence between their students, and Friedel School has promised to send money to plant a tree at the Mayanot School's yard on Tu Bishvat!
This meeting led to a unique connection with Saint Augustine School in Omaha. This is a Christian Catholic school, which together with Friedel and Mayanot has initiated a unique and innovative project connecting the three schools together based on humanistic and Jewish topics.
The project is called the Martha Project and is based on the main character in the book The Daughter We Had Always Wanted by Naomi Morgenstern. The book addresses the issue of children during the Holocaust and covers many topics that will be discussed at the three schools.
The topics the schools will work on:
1. Arts project - "the three most important things the world should know about me": Each student will make an artistic piece, in any way he or she wants, expressing the three most important things the world should know about him or her. The artistic pieces will be sent to the twinned schools prior to the beginning of the connection between the schools, and will be hung to decorate the corridors.
2. Joint reading: The Daughter We Had Always Wanted by Naomi Morgenstern. Different ways of examining the main character of the book will be discussed. Most of the work will deal with essential questions about the similarities and dissimilarities between the lives of children during the Holocaust and children in Israel and the United States - Jews and Christians.
3. Writing short stories describing how each student helped protect someone else - who the person the student protected was, how the student felt, and how this contributed to the student's and the other person's life.
4. My culture - what is special about my culture: each class will make an artistic creation expressing the unique aspects of their culture.
Additional lesson plans based on the book The Daughter We Had Always Wanted can be found at the Yad Vashem Website.
The visit of Amir and Idit in Omaha was a big success and was even published on the front page of the local community newspaper.