2009-10 Legacy Heritage Innovation Project:
Israel Engagement Grantees

Congregation B'nai Israel, Bridgeport CT -- Reform, 800 households

B'nai Israel's congregation-wide approach to Israel engagement will be led by an Israel Engagement Task Force comprised of adults and teens who have visited and are strongly connected to Israel. The congregation will partner closely with Melitz and the Lokey International Center for Jewish Education in Haifa to train faculty in cutting-edge methodologies in Israel Education; experts from Melitz will develop adult learning models, which will be integrated with new educational and advocacy programming for teens, collaboration with the sister congregation, Kehillat Yozma in Modi'in, and an increased Israel dimension to family education. Two sh'lichim will lead programs for the youth groups, teach adults, and help lead Shabbatonim for sixth and eighth grades.

Congregation Shaare Emeth, St. Louis MO -- Reform, 1,700 households

Shaare Emeth will deepen its members' connection to the culture and people of Israel by developing its partnership with Kehillat Tzur Hadassah (SW of Jerusalem) to include educational programs for all facets of the congregation and shared initiatives in education and cultural exchanges. Staff from Shaare Emeth and Tzur Hadassah will develop a shared curriculum, exploring ways to integrate Israel engagement into Shaare Emeth's programs, and enabling Tzur Hadassah to learn from Shaare Emeth. The rabbis from Tzur Hadassah will serve as scholars in residence, training staff and faculty over the course of a full week. The initiative will undergird and complement "Project 613," an initiative designed to bring 613 congregants to Israel on congregational trips, individual journeys, and other Israel programs over the next eight years. These projects will be spearheaded by several dozen congregants who have engaged in Israel Engagement training over the past few years.

Kehillath Shalom, Cold Spring Harbor NY -- Reconstructionist, 125 households

Kehillath Shalom Synagogue will launch "Operation Sheba," a project to build bonds between congregants and Israelis of Ethiopian descent through an approach featuring one-on-one matching, structured ongoing communication, and a systematic curriculum connecting the congregation with a school in Neveh Ya'akov. As a result, the Ethiopian Israelis will strengthen their English skills while the American congregants will enhance their Hebrew. The project will be referenced throughout the year in religious school activities, Shabbat and holiday services, and year-long adult programming.

Reform Congregation Kenesseth Israel, Elkins Park PA -- Reform, 900 households

The centerpiece of KI's approach will be a year-long, congregation-wide educational program focusing on science in ancient and modern Israel, culminating in a science fair in which high school students, with the guidance of Ben Gurion University experts, develop projects relating Ancient Israel to modern scientific accomplishments. The year will open with an interactive family education program highlighting the scientific accomplishments of modern Israel and biblical references led by the rabbi and a visiting BGU scholar; the rabbi will integrate this theme throughout the year into Torah study sessions and Shabbat sermons and services. KI will deepen this approach by infusing Israel programming into all committee activities; training teachers to enrich curricula with an Israeli dimension; creating opportunities for professional development in Israel education for faculty and staff; and creating an "Israel Gallery" in the lobby with exhibits selected by volunteers, "curated" by religious school students, and linked to new Israeli musical programming.

Temple Dor Dorim, Weston FL -- Reform, 600 households

Dor Dorim will recruit congregants who have visited Israel as "Israel Ambassadors" to deepen the congregation's connection to Israel. The "Ambassadors" will act as mentors and project coordinators, developing multiple opportunities to promote interaction between congregants and Israelis, either in person with visiting Israelis, or through technology linking congregants with peers in Israel. The congregation will train preschool and religious school teachers to enable them to integrate Hebrew vocabulary and contemporary Israeli culture into regular classroom activities; increase Israel-related adult classes; integrate Israeli music into services, choir and band performances; host the Tsofim Friendship Caravan. The year will open with a congregation-wide Hebrew Naming ceremony and "Israel Celebration" and conclude with an "Israeli Service/Yom Ha'atzma'ut Celebration."

Temple Micah, Washington DC -- Reform, 460 households

Temple Micah will integrate Israel education into Machon Micah, a model intergenerational program meeting 26 times (including eight Shabbatot connected with holidays) which synthesizes arts, ritual, observance, and education. A Jewish Agency trained shaliach will create cultural, educational and social activities geared towards congregants of all ages for Machon Micah, train the faculty in integrating Israel into all Machon Micah programming, support the development of Ambassadors for Israel Education, and create new opportunities for informal Israel. The congregation will enhance its connection with its sister congregation, Or Hadash in Haifa, through structured conversations utilizing Internet technology. In addition, staff and faculty will receive training in the JNF's Ambassadors for Israel Education program, and the congregation will participate in "Conversation Israel," a home-based program of Israel-centered discussions, to broaden the reach and impact of Israel-focused programming.

Temple Shaaray Tefila, Bedford Corners NY -- Reform, 900 households

Temple Shaaray Tefila will create a prominent indoor/outdoor "Virtual Israel" adjacent to the sanctuary designed to enhance the knowledge, education, and appreciation of Israel across all ages in the congregation. A new curriculum for congregation-wide Israel programming, including early childhood education, religious school, teen and adult educational programming, will utilize this resource. The Israeli Action Committee will serve as docents for the space, which will feature computers with the capacity for connecting with Israel, Israel educational resources, a replica of the kotel, an exhibit on Israeli history, culture and achievements, and materials on aspects of Israeli life impacted by congregants.


©2009 Legacy Heritage Fund