Shani Alfassi-Kakun, Educational Projects Coordinator, Partnership 2000 Yokneam-Megiddo
On December 27, 2009, we had the privilege of hosting Roz, David, and Jonathan Hirshhorn of St. Louis in our region. Roz is a first grade teacher at Epstein School in St. Louis, Jonathan a fifth grader at the school, and David an engineer for Amdocs.
The main purpose of the visit was an acquaintance with HaTikva Elementary School in Moshav Eliakim, Megiddo Regional Council. "HaTikva" School is a part of "Kesher B'Kitah" program, a school-partnership coordinated by Partnership 2000 and CAJE to connect children in St. Louis with children in Yokneam-Megiddo.
The principal of HaTikva School, Smadar Akari, and her school staff received the family with affection and warmth. They told their guests about the school, its curriculum, and its unique projects, and even shared with them some of their hesitations and uncertainties.
During the visit we entered a first grade classroom and observed children learning to read the Hebrew letter 'samech' and pronounce in its different inflections, doing so with the help of songs, games, and activities. Later on, we were greatly impressed by the school's ecological bubble and bird observations, and met with a group of students in 4th through 6th grades for a pleasant and informal conversation.
Rose handed out letters and presents from parallel classrooms at Epstein School while Jonathan joined a 5th grade HaTikva classroom and sat in on the lesson.
At the end of the visit, Smadar presented the family with a modest gift from the school - an incense holder (for 'havdalah') and a tree with embedded blessing stones and an inscription from Israel. In addition, the teachers handed Roz some CDs, lesson plans for activities, and suggested lessons that can be taught in St. Louis as well as recommendations for further sources of information.
Beyond the personal and educational contribution by each of the visit's participants, this was a moving and important occasion that will contribute greatly to the ties between the schools and the communities.