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Thank you for continuing to support Melitz. This week the Government announced the 14 citizens chosen to light the torches in the annual Yom Haatzmaut Ceremony. In honor of the 150 years since Herzl's birth, the torch-lighters were chosen due to their contribution to the fulfillment of the Zionist vision, through building and developing the Jewish state. At Melitz, much of our work is also dedicated to fulfilling Herzl's vision of a Jewish State worthy of the description 'A Light unto the Nations'. In this newsletter, we will acquaint you with some of this exciting work. In recent months, Melitz educators have worked with groups ranging from Members of Knesset to American Teachers, and from IDF soldiers to visiting students from the FSU. Below you can read about these initiatives. As always, we welcome your thoughts and feedback. 

Chag Sameach, 

Michael Wegier

Melitz Leads Seminars on Identity and Zionism for Israeli Soldiers at Mt. Herzl
In partnership with the Mount Herzl Education Center of the WZO, between February, 2009 and January, 2010, Melitz developed and facilitated six two-day seminars in which over 200 officers and soldiers in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) delved deeply into the central questions of Zionism.  They discussed Herzl’s philosophies, the different faces of Zionism today, and their personal Zionism as it impacts their activities as soldiers.  These seminars have enhanced the educational leadership skills of IDF officers and empowered them to serve as “commander educators” impacting thousands of soldiers under their charge and infusing them with Jewish and Zionist identity and values.
According to Yaron Nir, Head of the IDF's Har Gilo Education Center, the cooperation with Melitz was key to the success of this program.
Melitz Deputy Director Facilitates Beit Midrash for Knesset MK’s
Eight Israeli Members of the Knesset recently participated in a “Beit Midrash” style learning session organized by the Israeli Network of Batei Midrash and facilitated by its current chairperson, Melitz Deputy Director Shlomit Naor.  Designed to reinforce the Jewish and Zionist underpinnings of the work of the Knesset, this Beit Midrash was one of four coordinated by Shlomit and the Network for Knesset members during the course of the year.   Together with supporters of the Beit Midrash Network from UJA Federation of New York, participants discussed the Torah portion, Terumah, focusing on issues of contribution and donation, and relating these themes from the Torah to their work in Israel and the Jewish community today.

MASA Participants from the FSU Explore Their Jewish Heritage 
Eighty young adults from the Former Soviet Union studying at Michlala Technological Institute in Beer Sheva recently participated in a full day seminar in Jerusalem and the surrounding hills in which they visited some of the most significant Jewish and Israeli historical sites.  In its role as the educational provider for this program, Melitz coordinates two seminars per month for  participating students—providing the context for them to explore and connect to Israeli and Jewish history and their own Jewish identities.  In Jerusalem, these young adults visited Nachlaot, and the Kotel and toured the Old City.

Israeli Educators Mentor Baltimore Teachers
Thanks to a new mentoring program launched by Melitz in cooperation with the Baltimore Center for Jewish Education, six teachers in Baltimore’s Jewish schools will receive intensive support in their Israel curriculum development from experienced educators in Israel.  The Baltimore teachers who requested to participate, teach a range of age groups and work in both supplementary and Jewish Day schools.  The program kicked-off on January 31 with a video-conference meeting between both groups of educators.  During the conversation, they discussed the goals and plan for the program, in which mentees will receive customized support in the development, implementation, and evaluation of their curricula from experts in related fields. They also learned together using the Torah example of Yitro as a mentor for Moshe.  For the duration of the school year, mentors will provide guidance through “video conversations” with their mentees at least once a month, and participate in another joint videoconference with the other pairs of educators, culminating in an intensive day together in Jerusalem in June, 2010.

Students from Around the World Connect Through Israel Connect

With support from Israel Connect, Israeli students are being linked with their peers in varied locations such as the United States, the Former Soviet Union, Germany, Australia, and New Zealand.  After participating in a series of videoconference meetings, students from Atlanta and Australia will meet face to face next month with peers from their partner schools in Israel.  To see a recent video about this program posted on the Jerusalem Post website, go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aOH g3 - doc 8

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