Infusing Israel at School
10 WAYS TO INFUSE ISRAEL IN YOUR SCHOOL
Jewish day schools and supplemental schools offer a natural environment for learners of all ages to explore their relationship with Israel. Check out these ideas—many of them simple—to infuse Israel into the classrooms, halls, and shared spaces of school. Choose a few and you’ll see how much they impact your community’s engagement with Israel, Israelis, and more!
Students Share Their Israel Stories
When members of your community return from a visit in Israel, invite them to share stories during assemblies or in other group settings. Ideally, a teacher can work one-on-one with presenters to help them prepare a compelling, inviting story that brings a meaningful moment to everyone’s attention. Our Israel Resource Cards can be helpful for jogging memories and identifying impactful stories to share.
ProTip: Synagogue educators might want to invite one outstanding student storyteller to share their story with the congregation during High Holiday services.
Create a School Beit Cafe
When you’re planning a back-to-school night, an open house, or a parent education program, invite people to come early and schmooze in an impromptu Israeli-style beit cafe (בית קפה), a coffee shop. Set up small tables and offer a simple array of beverages and light snacks. Decorate the walls with Hebrew signs (check out our Hebrew Slang Posters) and enhance the atmosphere and play one of the iCenter playlists. Students also may enjoy relaxing in the beit cafe during lunch or free periods.
Hebrew for the Cool Kids
Your students will want to use Hebrew when they learn slang words and phrases that can brighten every aspect of the day. From yalla (יאללה) to walla (וואלה), from baduk (בדוק) to kif (כיף)… there’s a Hebrew slang term or phrase for every situation! And these colorful downloadable posters are a great teaching aid and will spruce up any place they’re displayed.
ProTip: Highlight a word or phrase as a word of the day/week and encourage students to incorporate the into their conversations, in and out of class.
Prayer for the State of Israel
If your school routine includes tefilah (תפילה), prayer services, do you recite Tefilah L’shlom Hamedinah (תפילה לשלום המדינה), the Prayer for the State of Israel? This prayer was introduced in 1948 by the Chief Rabbis of Israel and different adaptations have been made since. Talk with your students about why we think about Israel every day in our prayers. If you don’t already include this in tefilah, there are many different versions and a variety of melodies available online. Consider what works best for your setting.
Learn more about the history and discussions around the prayer.
Deepen Relationships With Israelis
Think about the Israelis who are part of your school community: teachers, shinshinim, students, and others. Provide opportunities for everyone to get to know them and to hear the stories they share about life in Israel. And why stop there? Invite others to dress up as iconic Israelis—anyone from David Ben-Gurion to musician Neta Barzilai—and share their stories with children in classrooms or during lunch or recess. You can use The iCenter’s Israel Resource Cards to generate ideas.
Enrich Your School’s Israel Environment
Enlist a few teachers to walk through your school space and try to imagine where students see, feel, or experience elements of Israel. Create an inventory—it might include Hebrew signs, the classrooms where Hebrew is taught, posters of sites in Israel, and more—and identify a number of places where Israel could be more prominent. You can start with The iCenter’s downloadable printable Hebrew Slang posters, Mood Posters, Israel Resource Cards, Hebrew Labels and more. This can be a gradual process; update your inventory every few months by doing additional walk-throughs, and by the end of the year you’ll be amazed at your school’s progress.
The Stories That Maps Tell
What maps of Israel can be found in your school? Think about sharing more than one map for students to examine their differences. What “stories” can they tell?
Explore a wealth of map-related resources that can turn your walls into an interactive exhibit space that fosters inquiry and exploration.
Create a Classroom Megillah
You may already have created a set of class norms. Why not call it a Megillah? Just like the Megillah (מגילה), or scroll, we read on Purim, and Megillat Ha’atzmaut (מגילת העצמאות), Israel’s Declaration of Independence and statement of values, your Megillah can include key guiding principles for creating the classroom culture that will allow you and your students to thrive.
Yom Huledet Sameach!
How do you celebrate birthdays at school? Infuse a bit of Israeli ruach (רוח), sprit, by singing one of the many Hebrew birthday songs or introducing any number of fun Israeli birthday party games. You can also find the Hebrew birthdays of students and staff and create a special bulletin board to celebrate.
Add Israeli music to the “soundtrack” of your school. Play these in the lunchroom, during recess, or any time you’re looking to create a fun atmosphere. Check out The iCenter’s Israeli music playlists, or make your own!