JERUSALEM (JTA) – Seventy Teach for America participants are visiting Israel to learn about Israel’s approach to education and community service.
As part of the 12-day program, the American teachers are meeting with their Israeli counterparts from Teach First Israel, a similar program that launched in 2010 and now has 143 teachers working in 33 schools across Israel.
The educators are participating in the REALITY Israel program supported by the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation and the Samberg Family Foundation, in partnership with Teach For America.
On Tuesday, the group met Arab teachers and high school students in Deir Al-Asad to talk about their educational challenges. A day earlier they met Dana Azrieli, chair of the Azrieli Foundation in Canada and vice chairman of the Azrieli Group, one of Israel’s most successful real estate groups; and lawmaker Einat Wilf, who chairs the Knesset Education, Sports and Culture Committee.
REALITY Israel has brought more than 200 Teach For America educators to Israel in the past four years. As part of the program, corps members explore service and education in Israel and engage in self-reflection and learning that connects their secular service work as teachers to Jewish values and ideas.
“Israel is a classroom for people who want to learn about leadership in the face of extreme challenges,” said Andrew Mandel, Teach For America’s vice president of special projects. “Many of the social justice challenges Israel faces mirror those in the US, and our participants get the opportunity to grapple with how best to address those complex issues.”
REALITY is launching two new Israel-based programs — one for participants in the global Teach for All network in 30 countries and one for Teach For America professionals with affiliations and interests in Jewish life.
The Teach For America and Teach First Israel programs recruit novice teachers to teach students from low-income backgrounds for two years. Last year, Teach For America had 5,200 positions.