So, I thought that people might wonder why I was going to Israel this summer. I was fortunate to be selected as one of five “exceptional” “novice” Jewish day school teachers to participate as Fellows in the Summer Curriculum Workshop at the Pardes Institute in Jerusalem. This is for teachers who are in their fourth or lower year of classroom teaching at a day school. The idea of being both exceptional and novice kinda cracked me up and also made writing my application essay a bit difficult. How to make myself sound exceptional but still like I needed their help and would be a worthwhile investment of their time and money? Do I mention that I won a teaching prize (the answer was no)? Do I mention I have had an article published about a curriculum for teaching the Shoah (Holocaust) in fifth grade? Again the answer was no, but it turns out that the editor of the journal that published said article is on the panel of mentors – so they might know that fact without me telling them.
The fellowship comes with fully covered tuition for the workshop, a $1400.00 stipend for travel and living expenses and some really great support in developing new curriculum and dealing with the challenges of teaching Jewish Studies. I have wanted to study at Pardes for a number of years and am excited to get to do so in this setting – though I will miss the learning for the sake of learning (lishmah) that I could have done during their regular summer program – which was plan B if I didn’t get the fellowship.
In addition to this program, I will be doing some relaxing and sightseeing on my own for five days and then will be joined by my husband. This will be Steve’s first trip to Israel and we have a jam packed itinerary already. We will be visiting his second cousin, Max, who lives in the Northern Galil (Galilee) on a kibbutz as well as trips to the Dead Sea, Tel Aviv, Haifa and Tz’fat and a few days in Jerusalem. At the end of the trip, we will be heading south of Be’er Sheva to Kibbutz Mashabei Sade where I will be officiating at the bat mitzvah of a student of mine. This will be the exciting culmination of our studying together for two years and I am really excited to be part of her celebration. She chose to have her ceremony in the desert as that is where b’nei Israel (the Children of Israel) came into the land after their 40 years in the wilderness.
Well, back to last minute items. Much less panicked than yesterday as I am mostly packed and have all my “chores” done that were hanging out there making me crazy!
Next post in Jerusalem!
B’vrachot – with blessings,