Jewish Peoplehood and Israel
At Addlestone, we understand that Jewish peoplehood and Israelare part of the foundation for a Jewish identity. With the texts and values of Jewish tradition and history as fundamental in developing our students’ Jewish identity, we help build ethics and behaviors to shape and inspire students.
Jews have been blessed by the realization of a dream: the return of the Jewish people to Israel. We believe Jews should have a strong connection to each other and to the Jewish homeland. Studying about, advocating and feeling responsible for Israel is an important part of our philosophy. We agree that the creation of Israel is a determining event in modern Jewish history and significant in our lives.
Our Judaic Studies curriculum and our programs connect our students to the Jewish People and the Land of Israel through history and belief. The centrality of Israel to the Jewish People is reflected in Jewish culture, religion, and identity. This connection forms an essential foundation and cornerstone of our very identity as Jews.
At the center of Addlestone Hebrew Academy’s vision for our graduates is that they become active participants in our local and global communities, advocates for Jewish peoplehood and the land of Israel. Step by step, we build a learning community based on Jewish values and a “kesher,” connection with Israel.
The 8th grade Israel trip experience can serve as both a culminating focus for the years of an Addlestone education, and as a resource that enriches the Israel-related aspects of school culture, with returnees bringing back to school knowledge of and enthusiasm for Israel.
The future of American Jewish continuity rests in the hands of our children. What they learn and experience influences the choices they make. Being Jewish is a blessing and a responsibility, and Israel is the homeland of our souls.
By educating about Jewish heritage, history, and the Israeli contemporary culture, we develop a sense of pride in our students. Through educational activities and our 8th grade trip to Israel, Addlestone creates an opportunity to form a lifelong relationship with Israel and the Jewish people, and build our students’ Jewish identities.
We believe that as a day school, we have the capacity to transform our students’ relationship to Israel and thus influence the next generation of American Jews. In shaping the Jewish identities of our students, we appreciate the power of Israel and personal experiences in this land. In our daily school lives, we connect Israel to the teaching of Hebrew, the Jewish people and Israel, and to the cycles of the Jewish calendar.
Our goals include strenthening:
- An appreciation of Israel’s central place in Judaism and Jewish life;
- An understanding of the origins of the State of Israel and its contemporary experience
- A meaningful life-long relationship with the State and People of Israel.
Specific Areas developed in our program:
- Israel experience – We have made the Israel trip the culmination of our 8th grade and Addlestone experience.
- Programs and activities – We celebrate holidays that commemorate important moments in the history of the State of Israel, such as Yom HaZikaron, Yom HaAtzmaut and Yom Yerushalayim, as well as the agricultural cycles, such as Tu B’Shvat.
- Curriculum – We include the teaching of Israel, Jewish history, Biblical and Talmudic texts, and Jewish identity in Judaic Studies and include Jewish literature in our English classes.
Judaic Studies Staff – We employ teachers in our Judaic Studies who have a strong attachment to Israel. This provides students with role models and resources that can connect them and the school community to Israel.
- Our students have supported organizations that help Israel, such a JNF and ORT.
- We have invited guest speakers about Israel and peoplehood, such as the Israeli pilot who flew in the Entebbe raid, from the Israeli consulate, Israeli soldiers and so on, to further connect our students to Israel and its history.
- Students were selected to travel to Israel with SC government officials and Chamber of Commerce people several years ago.
- We have participated in rallies and programs in support of Israel.
- Students have participated in long distance learning with Israeli teachers.
Goals to be developed:
1. Twinning with school(s) in Israel, helps facilitate peer relationships for students, faculty and families, including visits, social networking, co-curricular programming and in order to bring Addlestone students, faculty and families together with Israeli students, faculty, and families. When we wrote this at the beginning of last year, we had yet to establish a connection with an Israeli school. Now our relationship with the Rigler School in Netanya is strong. We spent time together on our 2011-12 Israel Trip and we now have established monthly video conferences.
2. Partnerships and person-to-person relationships that build a relationship with an Israeli school connected by video, email and letter exchange, by shared internet sites, by visits to one another’s schools by teachers, and by students. Our 8th graders will be visiting the Rigler School on their visit to Israel this Spring. They have begun emailing and video conferencing. We can’t wait to complete our other goals!