Israel Educational Seminar
Led by Rachel Raz, Director, Early Childhood Institute,
Shoolman Graduate School of Jewish Education, Hebrew College

February 17-28, 2019

Shalom and welcome to the “Israel Educational Seminar” blog. On February 17, 2019, a group of educators and professionals will travel together from the USA to Israel. We will explore the old and the new, nature, educational settings, innovations, the complexity and diversity of  Israeli society and much more. We will spend time with our partners in the city of Haifa, stay in their homes, and visit their educational centers. We will travel, explore, learn, hike, swim, float, teach, sing, ask questions, make new friends, exchange ideas and grow. We will also explore ways to share our learning with our communities back home, starting with this blog!

Some thoughts behind the itinerary

The world we live in today is complex, diverse, fast paced and full of uncertainty! it is important for educators and professionals working with children and their families to understand contemporary reality, and to dive into important fundamental questions such as: What kind of society do we want to live in and build? What kind of citizens do we want to raise? and, What kind of education do we need in order to achieve this? 

Moreover, since educators are constantly giving of themselves to children and their communities, it is important that they take time to study, reflect, learn and also be inspired so they can bring this new knowledge and renewed energy back to their communities.The Israel Educational Seminar is designed to enhance each participant’s life on both the personal and professional levels, and empower them to bring this experience back to their communities. 

Israel is the best place for inspiration since it was built from dreams, visions, uncertainty and the hard work of many individuals.  Likewise, Israel is known today in the world as a “Start-Up Nation” -- that is, a leader in innovation. Israel is ranked highly in the World Happiness Report of 2018. Israel is a model of a modern society that despite its internal complexity within, regional geopolitics and scarcity of natural resources, is very successful economically and technologically. Former President and Nobel Prize winner Shimon Peres wrote in his forward to the book, Start-up Nation, that all that Israel had at its inception was human capital. Since then, Israel has invested in its citizens from a young age. Public education is free starting from the age of three; and there is a constant push and debate to lower the age even further.  In this seminar we will also explore some of the innovative thinking that has led to the creation of dynamic and ever evolving early education models in the city of Haifa.  
Haifa: Innovations in Education

In a complex, diverse and quickly changing world, Israel, and in particular the city of Haifa, is a model for other communities around the world. In the city of Haifa, we will have many opportunities to meet with the leadership, the educators and professionals who are the minds and force behind this innovative system. We will delve into deep conversations about the challenges facing us as societies and communities, what communities we would like to have, and which educational approaches and investments are needed to achieve them.

We will visit multiple educational centers and meet with their leaders and professionals to learn why they were created, and how they have evolved to adapt to needs and changes. Examples of some centers are: centers for parents; programs for educators and professionals; preschools that focus on STEM education, or on multigenerational community collaboration, or teach using a forest setting. All of these centers are united by the common goal of building responsible, resilient citizens who respect ethical values and who will grow to be healthy and productive individuals.

Jerusalem: Past, Present and Future: Communal Memories and Identities

Jerusalem is in the hearts of many people around the world and has impacted the communal memory of several religions and millions of people. In this city we will explore some of the holy sites and historical places, and discuss questions about identity, the role of religion in a secular modern western world, globalization and how all of these issues affect us and our communities.

Tel Aviv-Jaffa

Tel Aviv is a young city known as “the city that never stops!” In Tel-Aviv, we will explore the foundation of the State of Israel and its spirit of innovation.  Some highlights include the Hayim Nahman Bialik House, the home of Israel’s national poet and visionary; and the new Taglit-Birthright Israel Innovation Center with an interactive display of over 100 leading Israeli companies such as Waze, Mobileye, Pillcam, Israel Aerospace Industries, Orbotech and many others.

Follow us

Please follow us through this blog as we share our daily experiences and reflections. Note that we might not have internet access each day. Feel free to share this blog with your community.  For the full itinerary, please visit the “Itinerary" page.

Special Thanks

We are very thankful for Boston’s Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP) and in particular the Boston-Haifa Connection for their vision and support connecting educators, professionals, students and families to the land of Israel, the Jewish people and the modern state of Israel.


  1. I am very excited to take this journey with other amazing educators!

  2. I am looking forward to this amazing learning opportunity! I am also looking forward to wonderful opportunities to build relationships not only with the educators in Haifa, but with the educators we will be travelling with!