“I HOPE I can instil the resilience and perseverance as was showcased at Sha’ar HaNegev School in my own students,” English literacy teacher at Sydney’s Bellevue Hill Primary School, Jacqueline Galler, said after visiting the regional Israeli school to learn about its dynamic teaching and student welfare programs.
Galler was one of 75 educators from a mix of 27 public, independent and Jewish schools and educational organisations – from Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and New Zealand – who were left inspired by attending JNF Australia’s Educators Tour of Israel from December 31 to January 9.
The immersive program saw the delegation travel to all parts of the country to soak up Israel’s fascinating history and culture.
While many ‘must see’ Israeli sites like Jerusalem’s Old City and the Dead Sea were on the itinerary, the real value of the tour for most participants was the opportunity to spend time in Israeli schools to network with teachers and principals, to visit communities and projects directly supported by JNF Australia, and to learn from Israeli experts in their fields.
The study tour was designed to enrich the resources and skills of the educators and to spark their students’ interest in Israel’s history, environmental stewardship and Zionism.
Participants have committed to utilising and incorporating their experiences when designing new programs for their students.
JNF education shaliach Yigal Nisell said, “The tour is not only about the teachers who attend the trip, but more importantly it is about the 20,000 students they represent – those they will teach now and in the future.”
Delegation member Jeffrey Zerbst, academic manager at Southern Cross University, was amazed by the depth and variety of daily experiences, adventures and connections the program offered.
Summing it up, he said, “If you don’t love this tour, you do not have a heart, a soul, a brain or a stomach.”